Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Peach and Plum Crostata

I never get tired of making crostatas (also sometimes called galettes). They're basically pies... except they're free-form, less dense, and require no blind baking or much fuss.

Due to the warm and dry winter, stone fruit season arrived early in Southern California. I want to take full advantage of everything peach, plum, pluot, apricot and cherry while the season is still here. Of course, the fruit is perfect to eat just as it is... but somehow when I use stone fruit for baking I feel like I'm really doing the season justice.

This recipe makes really flaky not too sweet pastry. The fruit is great, but honestly the crust is my favorite part of the dessert (but I am a pastry and baked-good fiend). I don't like my filling too sweet, but if you prefer a sweeter fruit you can add 1/4 cup of sugar instead of 2-3 tablespoons. Also, taste your fruit. Some stone fruit is sweeter, some is pretty tart. Mine were on the sour side, and I don't mind that too much, but next time I want a slightly sweeter fruit to start with. The natural flavor of the fruit can't be masked when it is baked: a sweet fruit will be sweeter, and a sour fruit will stay pretty tart. Also, if you find that you have those dry mealy flavorless peaches and plums they won't really get much better when they are baked. This is a simple dish so each ingredient should be the best it can be.

This is the perfect sweet thing to serve on a day when summer is coming, but it's still not too hot to bake. Or... suffer the heat, just make sure to serve yourself a slice with a big scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.

Peach and Plum Crostata
makes 2 crostatas
recipe can be halved - each crostata serves 6-8 (depending on slice size preference)

for the crust-
2½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), very cold diced into cubes
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, very cold

4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 egg yolk
1 splash of water

for the fruit filling-

1½ lbs. (about 9-10 small) plums or pluots, pitted and cut into equal sized slices
1 lb. peaches (about 4 medium) peaches, pitted and cut into equal sized sliced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons turbinado sugar plus more for garnish, depending on preference and how sweet the fruit is
1 tablespoon honey, plus more for garnish
zest of 1 organic lemon (if you're using the zest, organic is important)
juice of ½ a lemon

2 tablespoons butter, divided

for the crust-

In a food processor or using a whisk and a bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar together. To the dry ingredients add the cubed butter, pulse until pea-sized pieces of dough are formed. Or, use a pastry cutter and combine the butter and flour mixture until the same pea-sized pieces of dough are formed.

To the dough, add the apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Pulse in the food processor, or mix with your hands, until the dough comes together but is not too wet. It should look kind of crumbly but will easily stick together between your fingers when squeezed. Transfer the dough onto a lightly flour dusted clean flat surface. Divide the dough in half. Form the dough into two equal-sized disks (flatter disks are easier to roll out than balls of dough). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour (two to three hours is ideal). 

for the filling-

Slice the stone fruit so that they are all roughly the same thickness. Transfer the fruit to a large bowl and add the flour, sugar, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Lightly toss the mixture; be careful not to break the fruit.

assemble and bake-

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the racks on the top and bottom third parts of the oven.

Place parchment paper on a flat surface and lightly dust it with flour (the parchment paper will help you transfer the dough onto a baking sheet - I usually do this and forgot this time and it was fine just trickier). Roll out one of your disks into a large circle about 13-14 inches in diameter, and about 1/2 an inch thick. The edges do not have to be perfectly round. It can actually be prettier if the edges are slightly broken and uneven.

Fill the center of the rolled out dough with half of the fruit filling mixture. Dot the top of the fruit mixture with little bits of butter (about 1 tablespoon per crostata). Leave a 2-3 inch border of dough around the fruit.

Fold the border of dough over the fruit (see below). Again, this doesn't have to be perfect... you just want the dough to fold over and cover part of the fruit. Transfer the finished crostata onto a baking sheet (line with parchment paper if you didn't roll the dough out onto to begin with). Repeat the process with the second disc of dough, and the rest of the fruit filling. Transfer the crostata onto a second baking sheet.

Make an egg wash by beating together 1 large egg yolk with a splash of water. Brush the egg yolk onto the dough. Sprinkle more turbinado sugar (or any coarse sugar) onto the the brushed dough.

Place both sheet pans into the oven. After 20 minutes, rotate and switch the sheet pans so the top crostata moves to the bottom and the bottom crostata bakes at the top. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the crostatas are golden brown and the fruit is tender. If the crust starts to brown too much before the fruit is cooked, cover the the exposed crust with foil. 

Once baked, drizzle a little honey over the fruit-exposed part of the hot crostata. Slice and serve warm or at room temp.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! The dough used to be our family recipe, with some differences, but the same principle. A perfect pastry dough.
    Your crostatas look yummy!