For the last week I have been up to my ears in strawberries due to multiple overlapping family berry pickings. I've made jam, ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, bread and pie (I'm actually not kidding) but this crostata really takes the cake!! Ha ha!! No, seriously, this is absolute magic and if there is only one thing you bake this summer, let it be this! It's that good and makes your house smell heavenly!!
Crostatas are the lazy man's version of pie--rustic, versatile and totally forgiving. There's no crimping or precision needed--these are supposed to be freeform and homey.
All you do is make a simple pie crust and roll it out into something that approximates a circle--
Then you make a simple fruit filling that is nothing more than berries, sugar, lemon zest salt and a bit of flour. I used 3 parts strawberries to 1 part blueberries because we were up to our ears in fresh picked strawberries, but you could just as easily reverse the proportion or sub in raspberries or blackberries or any other kind of berries you like. After you place the berry mixture in the center of the dough, you simply fold up the dough towards the center, brush it with egg and sprinkle the whole thing with sanding sugar.
What emerges is a hot, glorious, juicy, bubbly mess of molten sweet fruit and crisp sweet crust that is totally irresistible. Revel in it!!
Strawberry Blueberry Crostata
You need a total of 4 cups of berries for this. I had a ton of strawberries so I mostly used those but you can use any combination of berries.
Makes 8-10 servings
For the Crust:
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the Filling
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar (you may need more if berries are very tart)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 rounded tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Sanding sugar
1. To make the crust: Chill the bowl and paddle of a standing mixer (or the bowl and beaters of a handheld) until very cold. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the cold water and chill until very cold.
2. Place the flour and butter into the chilled bowl and toss the butter in the flour until the pieces are well coated. Mix on low speed until pea-sized lumps form. Add the water mixture, turn the speed to medium and mix just until the dough begins to come together.
3. Gather the dough together and split it in half to form two balls. Flatten the balls into 1-inch thick discs and wrap each individually in plastic wrap very well. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. For this recipe, you will only need one of the halves. The other half you can use for another crostata or double wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. This is my go-to crust. It has never failed me!!
4. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
5. Lightly flour a board or flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 13-14 inch round--doesn't have to be perfect or too thin--this is supposed to be rustic. Transfer carefully to the prepared baking sheet and place it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.
6. To make the filling: Place all the berries in a large bowl and toss with the sugar. Taste and see if you need to add a bit more sugar. Then add in the lemon zest, flour and salt and toss well.
7. Remove the dough from the fridge and place the fruit mixture into the center of the dough, leaving about a 2-inch border around the edges. Then fold over the edges towards the fruit, working the dough all the way around. Use a pastry brush to brush only the dough with the beaten egg all the way around. Then, sprinkle with the sanding sugar all over the dough and fruit.
8. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown. Don't worry if the filling leaks out--this is not supposed to be a neat pie! Transfer to a cooling rack to cool a bit, then cut into wedges and serve. Heavenly!!
Note: Recipe for crust adapted from Carla's Comfort Foods; Filling adapted from Fine Cooking.