Seasonal Fruit Crostata

“It’s a brayer!” Judy sang as she saw the dessert tools  on display at the crostata station. A polymer clay artist, Judy sculpted the buttery dough as if she were in her artist’s studio. Each little tart became an edible jewel, studded with black diamonds

The sweet finale, complete with a scoop of Ellen’s Homemade zabaglione gelato. Team Tamarack, thank you for crafting with us in the kitchen!

Seasonal Fruit Crostata

Make these  with apples in the Fall, or fresh cranberries or red-skin pear in the Winter. Fresh berries or stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, or nectarines make lovely Summer crostata

  • 1 recipe crostata dough (recipe below, divided for 12 individual tarts)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached flour, for rolling the dough
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided use
  • 4 fresh pears, thinly sliced off the core, divided into 8 equal portions
  • 1/4 cup currants, soaked in 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

SPRINKLE a clean work surface with flour, and gently pat each dough disk into the flour to lightly coat.

WORKING with half of the dough, roll out each dough disk into a 5-inch circle and transfer each to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

SPRINKLE each circle of dough with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

REPEAT with remaining dough, keeping one sheet chilled while you work with the first.

WORKING with one sheet of dough circles at a time, lay one portion of pear slices in the center of each dough circle, leaving a 1-inch border.

MOUND any extra fruit just slightly in center.

FOLD plain edge of crust up to partially enclose pears, leaving fruit exposed in center.

PINCH dough edge to seal any cracks. Dough will drape gently over fruit, with creases or folds every few inches enclosing the fruit around the edges.

REPEAT until all tarts are formed. Sprinkle the top of each tart with a few currants.

CHILL tarts for up to several hours before baking, or bake immediately.

PREHEAT oven to 425-

BRUSH crust with milk and sprinkle top of fruit and dough with remaining sugar.

BAKE crostatas until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 20-25 minutes.

REMOVE from oven. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes.  

SERVE warm.

Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand on sheet at room temperature. Rewarm in 425°F oven 5 minutes before serving.

Note: Recipe can easily be halved. Freeze remaining wrapped dough disks in a freezer zip-top bag.

Crostata Dough

A food processor makes light work of this pastry. If you don’t have a food processor, the dough can be mixed by hand.  Recipe adapted from Cucina Simpatica by Johanne Kelleen and George Germon

  • ½ pound cold unsalted butter, cut  into ½ inch cubes and kept cold
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ cup ice cold water

PLACE the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine.

ADD the cold butter cubes to the processor, carefully tossing with a spatula to coat each butter cube with flour (This prevents the butter cubes from sticking together and helps them combine more evenly with the flour).

PULSE 12 times, or until the butter particles are the size of small peas.

REMOVE the lid and drizzle the water evenly over the flour-butter mixture.

PROCESS for about 10 seconds, stopping the machine before the dough becomes a solid mass.

If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add a few sprinkles of cold water and pulse again.

TURN the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, pressing any loose particles into the mass of dough.

DIVIDE into 12 equal pieces for individual tarts.

FORM each piece of dough into a disk and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap.

CHILL for at least one hour. The dough may be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks.