A crostata is a rustic-looking, free-form pastry that requires no special tart or pie pan, just a baking sheet. Filling is piled onto the center of a disk of dough, and the border of the dough is gathered inward. The middle of the crostata remains uncovered, allowing a tempting glimpse of what's within -- in this case, a bright combination of fruit and berries. If you prefer it less sweet, reduce the amount of sugar that's sprinkled on top just before baking.
- For the crust
- 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons ice water, and a few more drops if needed
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend, for wash
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- For the vanilla creme fraiche
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 8 ounces crème fraîche (may substitute sour cream)
- 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- For the filling
- 1/2 pint raspberries
- 4 (24 ounces) nectarines, halved, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add all the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls and process just until moist clumps form. Using your hands, gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Let it soften slightly before rolling out.
Roll out the dough on lightly floured parchment paper to a 1/4-inch-thick round. Trim to a 14-inch-wide round, making sure the dough is not sticking to the parchment paper or it will tear during assembly. Transfer the parchment with dough to a large baking sheet.
For the vanilla creme fraiche: Using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. In a medium bowl, combine the creme fraiche, the vanilla bean seeds and the sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (May be prepared 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.)
For the filling: In a large bowl, mash 1/2 cup of the raspberries. Add the remaining raspberries, nectarines, 1/3 cup of the sugar and lemon juice; toss to combine.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spoon the filling onto the center of the dough, leaving a 3-inch border uncovered. Sprinkle the fruit with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Fold in the edges of the dough over the fruit, pinching to seal any cracks. Brush the dough with some of the beaten egg. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully run a long, thin knife under the crostata to loosen it. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, accompanied by dollops of vanilla creme fraiche.
Adapted from "The Bon Appetit Cookbook," by Barbara Fairchild (Wiley & Sons, 2006).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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