Everyone makes a big deal about pastry. The butter has to be cold. The water has to be iced. You can’t overwork the dough. Pastry recipes always sound like a disaster waiting to happen. They seem to be rolling their eyes and telling you to head to a bakery (where they know what they’re doing) and eat a croissant.
You can imagine my surprise when I came across a recipe for a crostata that encourages winging the measurements and sprinkling a dash of this and shaking the bowl and just doing what feels natural. The more rustic looking the better.
A crostata is an Italian free-form tart and is perfect for piling high with summer fruit. The pastry is buttery and flaky and steals the show.
I opted for a peach tart. Tossed with a tablespoon of brown sugar and a splash of lemon juice. I sprinkled a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. And just a hint to complement the lemon juice. Not to make the tart taste anything but of golden peaches.
For the Pastry
adapted from rebeccagaletta at Food52.com
2 Cups Flour
Dash of Salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 1/2 Sticks Chilled Butter
1/2 Cup of Water with three ice cubes
Preheat oven to 400 F. Position wrack in the middle of the oven.
1. Whisk flour, salt and sugar together.
2. Slice the sticks of butter into pieces to make it easier to mix.
3. Cut the butter into the flour mixture. I used my hands. Press butter into the flour with your fingers, leaving uneven chunks of butter in the mixture (the largest piece can be the size of a pea). These chunk make the pastry flaky.
4. Pat into a ball of dough. Tightly wrap with cling film and chill in the fridge for thirty minutes.
5. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a disk. Rebeccagaletta recommends a disk 1/8 of an inch thick. Mine was slightly thicker, but it still turned out perfectly delicious. Leave 1 1/2 inches at the edges for folding over fruit filling. Gently pick up pastry and transfer to a lined baking sheet or pie tin.
6. Fill with fruit and fold. The more rustic looking the better.
7. Before baking, brush with a beaten egg diluted with a little water.
8. Bake for 45 minutes. Keep in mind that berries need less cooking time so add half way through the baking process. You can bake the pie for a little less or a little longer depending on how you like your crust.
9. Take out of the oven, and immediately slide the crostata onto a cooling wrack so that the bottom doesn’t get soggy.
10. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Perfect the next day with morning coffee.