A Seasonal Summer Crostata to Try at Home

One of our goals in creating Fresh Inspirations is to share occasional recipes that you may want to try at home.  Our most requested recipes without a doubt are our desserts and pastries (which are great for blogging because they really photograph well!). This particular recipe is not only easy to make, but can be modified using whatever fruit is in season or abundant.

 At Zuppas our pastry chef Cathy loves the versatility this recipe provides because she can create a full size crostata to serve 8 guests, or as an alternative she can make mini pastries for dessert trays.

This particular crostata recipe requires an extra step and is somewhat different from other typical crostata and pie recipes. Rather than using uncooked fruit directly in the pastry crust, the filling is first baked so the moisture is rendered. By baking the fruit first, the problem of a soggy crust, or sugary juice leaking in your oven is solved! The pastry is light and flaky even after baking, and the fruit has a rich deep flavor.

In addition, this recipe is perfect for a busy hostess. The pastry dough or the entire crostata can be made ahead of time and either chilled or frozen for use at another time. With a garnish of fresh berries, whipped cream or ice cream, you’ll have a great finale for a dinner party with no last-minute work required!  If time is really in short supply, give us a call, Cathy would love to make one from scratch for you to order.

Summer Fruit Crostata

For the pastry: (Makes 2 large crostatas or 24 mini’s)

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1/4 Cup granulated or superfine sugar

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter,diced

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water

For the filling:

6 cups rhubarb-peeled and coarsely chopped

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions:

To make the Pastry: Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and toss quickly with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.  With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube.    Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.   Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll it into a ball, cut in half and form into 2 flat disks.  Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  If you only need 1 disk of dough the other disk can be frozen for future use.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface or divide each disk into 12 2 inch disks and roll each into a circle.

To make the filling: Mix cornstarch and sugar in a large bowl.  Add chopped rhubarb and toss to coat.  Place rhubarb mixture on a greased,  large sheet pan with 1 inch sides.  Bake at 350 degrees F until moisture evaporates and mixture is thick. Stir approximately every 15 minutes. Mixture should bake for about 45 minutes. Allow mixture to cool before proceeding.

To finish the crostatas:

If making mini crostatas place 1 tablespoon of prepared filling in the center of each disk. Fold up sides to center of crostata leaving an opening to expose filling.  Brush each crostata with a beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water.

If making large crostatas mound half of prepared filling into center of disk and proceed as directed above for mini crostatas.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes until nicely browned. Large crostatas may take longer.  If desired, top baked crostatas with sliced fresh strawberries. Can be served with vanilla whipped cream or ice cream.

About Zuppas

Since 1999 Chef Peter Kuenzi has been offering discerning Fox Valley residents fresh, fast, urban gourmet fare to suit their busy lives. Located in Neenah's Shops at Mahler Farms, Zuppas serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for dine in or take out.
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