Now, I’ve made pies and tarts, crisps, crumbles and cobblers….but this is the first time that I have made a crostata. No particular reason, just never got around to it. Well, I’m here to tell you that I may never make another proper fruit pie. This crostata, or free form tart, couldn’t be easier and I just loved the way that the kids would slice off a wedge and carry on their way, no plate, fork or napkin. Such a casual, fun little pie. Of course, you could always dress it up for company with a lovely scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprig of fresh mint. This recipe is adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table.
(makes 2 small crostatas that will serve 4-6 each)
For the dough:
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cup into 1/2 inch cubes and chilled
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds ripe peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced into 3/4 inch thick wedges
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon heavy cream, for an egg wash
1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar for topping
To prepare the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas, about 15 times. With the processor running, add the ice water and process for about 10 seconds. Stop the processor before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of waxed paper, divide the dough in half, and shape it into two disks. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, for the filling, combine the flour and sugar in a small bowl. Add the butter and cut the mixture together with a pastry knife or two table knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll each disk of dough into an 11 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the peaches in the center of the dough circles on the baking sheet and top with the butter sugar mixture. Begin draping the edges up and over, forming about three pleats. crimp the pleats and press down to seal. Brush the pastries with egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
Bake the tarts for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. let cool on a rack and serve warm or room temperature.