This is the last recipe in our spring theme of light, airy and fruity. With this in mind I decided to try something I have never made and something that I had never heard of. So I let my fingers do the walking and searching on the net, yes I did a Google search for “summer fruit recipes” and what popped up was the “SUMMER FRUIT CROSTATA”.
My first thought was “what is a crostata”? A crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart, and a form of pie. It is traditionally prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the filling.
I had never heard of such a thing but from the picture it really looked interesting and fruity plus the information about the crostata really made it appealing to me to want to try it.
I got the recipe off the www.foodnetwork.com under the Barefoot Contessa at Home section. However, I did change the recipe for the pastry though as I got a fantastic recipe from a great pastry chef at my local Spar. As he bakes on a large scale I had to reduce the quantity of my ingredients to suite the purpose of my baking.
INGREDIENTS – Sweet Pastry
500g Margarine (I used the wooden spoon yellow margarine, works fantastic in baking)
250g Icing Sugar, sifted
750g Cake Flour, sifted
Few drops of Vanilla Extract
INGREDIENTS – Filling
500g firm ripe peaches, peeled
250g firm ripe black plums, unpeeled
250ml fresh blueberries (I used frozen blueberries, works just as well)
1 tablespoon Cake flour
1 tablespoon Granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
METHOD – Sweet Pastry
1. Place the Margarine in your mixing bowl and beat on a medium speed until light and fluffy.
2. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar to the margarine while continually beating (don’t just dump all icing sugar in at once), beat together until the mixture further lightens in colour and the mixture should seem to double in size almost (this is what you call “fluffy”).
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly each time. Then add the Vanilla Extract and blend well.
4. Again, gradually add the sifted cake flour to the mixer while continually beating. The mixture should now become quite soft.
5. Remove it from the bowl out onto a clean floured surface. Work it together with your hands into a ball and place in a bowl cover with cling film and leave in fridge for 2-3 hours, for best results leave overnight.
***Tip: this pastry does not need to be kneaded, as it is not a typical type of dough. You probably will think that you did something wrong when you first remove it, which is exactly what I thought, but it is meant to be like that, soft. You will only see the result once you have let it rest in the fridge for the specified amount of time***
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (baking wax paper). Pre-heat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
7. Roll the pastry into about a 30cm circle on a lightly floured surface, transfer it to the baking sheet. Keep a small ball of the dough aside for sprinkling on the top.
METHOD – Filling
8. Cut the peaches and plums into wedges and place them in a bowl with the blueberries. Add 1 tablespoon of cake flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, the orange zest, and the orange juice and mix well.
9. Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving about a 4cm border.
10. Take the left over dough that you put aside and place on top of the fruit, either as strips or balls or just brake pieces over, you could even try to grate it over.
11. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge. (My pleats didn’t come out looking to good but it doesn’t matter as this dessert is meant to look a bit rough)
12. Bake the crostata for 20 – 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the Crostata cool for 5 minutes, and then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
***Tip: I tried custard and ice-cream with the crostata and they both went well, otherwise try some cream or just eat it as it is, either way it was good.***