Friday, September 12, 2014

Summertime Crostata

I'm starting to feel a slight sense of panic now that the last days of summer are closing in. I am buying so much corn my son, who usually loves corn, has started complaining. I eat tomatoes daily. The peaches are just coming in around here, and they are beauties. I like to can peaches, but a fresh fruit pie is one of the great joys of summer eating. 

So far this summer I've done sour cherry pies and blueberry pies in the more traditional pie plate. But sometimes I like a crostata, which you could also call a free form pie. It's forgiving both in terms of shape and amounts. And, as my daughter says, every bite has both crust and fruit. While a crostata looks stunning, I have found that peaches give off a lot of liquid when baked. As a result, a peach crostata can often be a soggy mess without the pie plate to rein it in. But then I read this clever trick on one of my favorite food blogs--strain the fruit beforehand! The results were delicious, minus the sog.

This photo was taken just before the crostata went into the oven. You get the idea. It was eaten up before I could take another photo. 

Summer Fruit Crostata
Serves 8 (leftovers are an awesome breakfast!)
Cream Cheese Pie Dough adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum

1 1/3 c. all purpose flour (can substitute 1/3-1/2 cup with whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 t. salt
8 T. unsalted butter, cold and cut into several chunks
3 oz. cream cheese, cold
2 T. cold water + ice to make 3 T. total
2 T. apple cider vinegar
5-6 peaches, nectarines or plums, cut into about 2 inch chunks
2 T. sugar
2 T. flour
1 t. salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 egg, beaten 
sugar for sprinkling

In a stand mixer, place flour and salt. Mix to blend. Add butter and cream cheese and mix until the dough looks shaggy and some butter chunks are the size of walnuts, about 1 minute. Add water and vinegar all at one and mix until the dough just comes together, about 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto a clean, floured surface and press with the heel of your hand a few times. Gather it together into a rough circle, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least one hour (and up to one day).

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place cut fruit and sugar into a strainer over a bowl and let sit for 1/2 hour. Then mix in the flour, salt and lemon zest. 

Take out dough and place on a clean, floured surface. Roll until about 14 inches in diameter. Place dough circle on a sheet pan covered with parchment. Place fruit mixture in the center of the dough, leaving about one inch of dough uncovered around the edge. Fold edge over the fruit, then brush edge with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until the crust is browned and the fruit is bubbling, 30-40 minutes.

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