By the time summer hits, I’m gorging on fresh, plentiful in-season fruits. By the Fourth (of July) I’m making pies, mainly crostatas – as much as possible, we love them at our house. It couldn’t be easier, rolling out a slab of pie dough (mine is part whole-wheat), filling the center with fruits and/or berries…folding up the border and then baking it for 30 minutes. The organic, rusticity of a crostata is quicker and easier than traditional pie, and more economical because less filling is needed. Only 3 tablespoons of sugar, because the sweetness of the berries and cherries – which, by the way, marry beautifully! A dollop of plain Greek yoghurt on top, or vanilla gelato or ice cream…absolutely delicious.
Make the pastry because it needs to chill for 1 hour (overnight is fine, if you want to make it ahead)!
My pastry crust is made with butter and 20% whole-wheat pastry flour…and a bit of lemon zest.
Cubes of butter are kept cold until used, and then tossed in the flour (to separate) before processing.
Ice water is drizzled in by the tablespoon until the mixture sticks together.
Then it’s turned out on a sheet of plastic wrap and molded into a flat disk. Then into the fridge to chill.
Use a cherry pitter or just take a paring knife and slice around the pits, like I did.
Mix with some corn starch, sugar and a pinch each of salt and cinnamon.
Roll the dough out and fill the center; fold and pleat the dough border.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes, until beautiful and golden!
Blueberry-Black Cherry Crostata
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
About 4 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 cups blueberries (about 8 ounces)
1 cup pitted dark cherries (from 1/2 pound whole cherries)
3 tablespoons cane sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon water (for egg wash)
Pastry: Place the flour, salt and sugar in the work bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade; pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and spoon the flour over it (to keep the cubes from sticking together). Add the lemon zest and pulse the mixture until it becomes the size of peas. Add the water through the feed tube while pulsing on and off, until the dough begins to stick together. Stop and open the lid to check – the dough should stick together when pressed with your fingertips. Do not use more water than needed – the amount can vary according to the humidity that day and/or the flour. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a mound, pressing on the plastic wrap to shape the dough. Flatten into a disk shape, wrap tightly and refrigerate the disk for at least 1 hour.
Filling: Place the blueberries and chopped cherries in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Toss gently to combine. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To assemble the crostata, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough on a floured work surface (from the center out), to roughly a 13-14-inch round. The edges will be somewhat jagged and uneven. Transfer the dough, draping it over the rolling pin, to a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the filling in the center, leaving a 3-inch border. Gently fold the border up around the filling, pleating it at intervals. Brush some of the egg wash on the border crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Don’t be alarmed if some juices leak out, it goes with the territory when baking berries! Cool completely, slice into wedges and top with your favorite topping, such as plain Greek yoghurt, vanilla gelato or ice cream…they’re all divine!