Crostata is a kind of free form tart that originated in Italy. It looks best when completely rustic; the more uneven folds of the flaky pastry and bubbling filling the better. Translation: it doesn’t have to look perfect to still be delicious!
Savory or Sweet
Crostatas differ from tortes as their filling is typically chunky and somewhat inconsistent, where as a torte will have well blended and consistent ingredients. Crostatas can be savory or sweet so they can be served during as a main, side, or dessert making it extremely versatile.
Savory crostatas can contain meat, seafood or vegetable which are typically precooked before baking with the crust. I found several recipes for this free form tart with vegetable fillings including zucchini, spinach, or butternut squash. Just one more way to use up that overabundance of summer squash from the garden wrapped in a flaky crust.
Sweet crostatas are just begging to be filled with seasonal fruit. Crostatas can be baked with the filling or blind baked (baked with some form of weight that will be removed after baking). The baked empty crust can be filled with pastry cream or some other filling and topped with fresh fruit.
Personally, I lean toward the sweet crostatas. You can use just about any fruit or filling, but I prefer seasonal fruits. Peaches are just coming in season and I can’t think of a better way to eat them than on a crostata with a bit of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or gelato!
Take your time
Crostatas look rustic but you still need to take your time in preparing the dough for the crust. It must be mixed properly and chilled for best results. There are short cuts like pre-made pie crusts or puff pastry sheets but they may not have that rustic look or consistency you desire.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is for a Peach Crostata. It takes about 2 ½ hours including time to chill the dough and baking. You will need a bit of extra flour for your working surface and some parchment paper for baking. I recommend using fresh ripe peaches for the best results. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.
Courtesy of Food and Wine
- 1 ½ cups plus 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 2 TBSP granulated sugar
- 6 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
- ¼ cup ice water
- 5 peaches (about 2 LBS) – halved, pitted, and sliced ½ inch thick
- ¼ cup plus 2 TBSP dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 2 TBSP heavy cream
- 2 TBSP raw sugar (turbinado or demerara)
In a food processor, pulse 1 ½ cup flour with the granulated sugar and ½ tsp of salt until well blended. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Add the water and pulse until dough is evenly moistened. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 TBSP of flour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the down into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a parchment- lined rimmed baking sheet. Mound the peaches with their juices in the center of the dough, leaving about a 2-inch border all around. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the peaches. Refrigerate the tart until chilled, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425F while the tart is chilling.
Remove the tart from the refrigerator and brush the dough with the cream and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the peaches are bubbling. Let cool about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
The crostata can be baked up to 6 hours in advance. Serve warm or at room temperature.