Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Plum Crostata

When my best Italian friend, Francesca, was here two years ago for an internship at my work, she made us a a sweet little summertime dessert called a crostata. Crostata's are traditional Italian dessert tarts that are filled with any jam or fruit you desire. One of the things I learned about Italy from Franci was that they use weights for measuring out amounts of ingredients rather than quantities like we do. Francesca's mother sent her family recipe all written out in grams, and Franci had to convert all of the weights to teaspoons and cups!

I was flipping through Food & Wine magazine earlier this month and came across a Summer Plum Crostata recipe! When I saw it, it brought back such fond memories of that summer with Franci and the delicious tart she made. It was also perfect timing because our plum tree was completely packed with plums and I needed a creative solution for using them up. So, I gave it a try!

Summer Plum Crostata
6 servings

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (this is important!)
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 pound firm-but-ripe plums, pitted and cut into eighths
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water

In a food processor, add the 1 1/4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse until the dough just barely comes together. (You don't have to use the entire 1/4 cup of ice water - just add until the dough comes together). Gather the dough and pat into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 425 and position a rack in the lower third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk of dough to a 12-inch round and transfer to the baking sheet. Chill the dough until firm, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cornstarch, cinnamon, and orange zest. Add the plums and toss well. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 15 minutes.

Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border all around. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the plums. Brush the rim with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the plum crostata for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender and bubbling. Let the crostata cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. 

The pastry disk can be refrigerated for up to 3 days if you want to make ahead.

I also made extra filling and put it into quart size freezer bags to use up all of our surplus plums!

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