Tuesday, August 2, 2011

So Easy A Cavegirl Could Do It: Plum Peach Crostata

Me Cavegirl. Me bake crostata. Me no like fussy desserts like this one. Me sounding like Cookie Monster.

Alright, that was pretty stupid.

This crostata, however, is not. It's brilliant! Simple, flaky, buttery, sweet, juicy, tart, fresh and seasonal. All Cookie Monster eats is cardboard, fake cookies.

The cavegirl part of this recipe is the flagrant ignoring of rough pie crust edges, lumpy fruit chunks and a complete disregard for a top crust. A cavegirl would never know to trim edges or daintily cut precision wedges of fruit. Heck, she would most likely use her hairy forearms to roll out the crust and use a shard of wild boar's jaw to hack away at her prehistoric fruit.

But in the age of Martha and Ina, we try just a bit harder to make rustic look chic. (And keep our much shorter and lighter arm hairs out of the crust.)

The fruit is what inspired this rustic pie. If you don't have good fruit, it won't fly. It's fifty percent of the dessert. That's the thing with simple recipes- if your ingredients aren't quality it really shows. So get some good fruit.

It doesn't really matter the type of fruit you choose. I've made this recipe with all berries, just pears, or just peaches. Come to think of it, I've never made it with apples. My guess is that you would have to slice the apples thinly or else they won't get soft in the baking time allotted. But I've have luck with just about every fruit I've tried. You've got a pretty high success rate goin' on here folks. Give it a shot.

This bakes at a very high temperature (450 degrees) and bakes quickly. So much faster than the traditional pie...another reason I love it so. The quicker to bake, the quicker I get to eat it.

So don your best Pebbles (or Bam Bam) attire and get to work on this pie.

Plum Peach Crostata

the recipe for the crust makes enough for two crostatas (I throw one in the freezer so I have it available when a craving hits!)

Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe (best one I've come across)

2 cups A.P. flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks cold, cubed butter
6 tbsp. ice water

For the filling: (my recipe)

3 very ripe and juicy plums, quartered
2 ripe and juicy peaches, cut into sixths
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. flour
couple extra, generous sprinklings of sugar for the top

To prepare the crust, Ina suggests putting in a food processor. I don't really roll like that, but if you do she says to pulse the dry ingredients together, add butter, pulse 12-15 times until it's the size of peas. With the motor running add all the water at once, then pulse until it almost comes into a ball. Take it out, cut into 2 halves and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill one for at least an hour and the other goes into the freezer.

I personally like to do the above by hand. I mix the dry ingredients together and dump in the cold butter (for my method, it's still a bit frozen...works great against warm hands melting it too fast.). I simply break the butter apart between my fingertips (only) and work it quickly into the dry mixture. Once it's the size of peas, I add the ice water, but in parts. Half and then slowly add the rest. Sometimes I use all of it sometimes I don't. When it comes together easily I gently and quickly knead it together and cut it in half. Wrap and store.


Couldn't be easier. Mix the sliced fruit with the sugar and flour. 

Preheat oven 450 degrees. Line pan with parchment paper.
Roll out your chilled dough into an 11" circle on a lightly floured surface. Place fruit in the center of dough with a 1 1/2 " border. Gently fold the border up over the fruit creating an edge. Generously sprinkle sugar over the top of the fruit and edge of crust.

Bake 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden. Let it cool 5-10 minutes, then using two spatulas transfer it to a wire rack or serving plate.

It's really good served with vanilla ice cream or just simply by itself. So, so good.

 Love Ya, Foodies.
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