Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rustic Whole Wheat Raspberry, Plum, and Peach Crostata

We went raspberry picking this past weekend. Raspberry picking is one of my favorite late-summer things to do. In addition to the two quarts of raspberries that we picked, we also grabbed some freshly picked plums and peaches from the farm. I knew I had to bake something with all of these beautiful fruits, and a summer fruit crostata sounded perfect.
I know I've mentioned my aversion to baking before. One of the things I have always been especially afraid to bake is pie crust. It seems as if there's a precise way to make a perfectly flaky crust, and honestly, it seems pretty complicated. I figured that I would muster up some courage and make a crust for this lovely fruit, but instead of the typical (and intimidating) pie, I decided to make this rustic crostata. I really enjoyed the way it came out. And, I must admit, it really wasn't all that hard. Or intimidating. It was actually quite fun.
I used whole wheat flour for the crust. Granted, it wasn't as flaky or as pretty as a typical white crust, but I was perfectly content with it. I like baking with whole grain flours, and I wasn't going to make an exception with pastry dough. And you can be creative with the fruit. I'd love to make an apple crostata when the apples are ready and I know a mixed berry crostata or even a strawberry rhubarb one would be fantastic.
I loved the look of the crust folded over the fruit, so effortless and so natural. It's not a fussy dessert, it doesn't have to be perfect. It's precisely the type of dessert that I appreciate.

Whole Wheat Raspberry, Plum, and Peach Crostata
(makes one 8" crostata)

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
6 tablespoons ice water (more or less, depending on the humidity outside and the type of flour used)

For the Filling:
1 peach, thinly sliced
3 plums, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups raspberries
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on your taste and the sweetness of the fruit
Heavy cream, for brushing the crust and for making fresh whipped cream
Additional raw sugar, for sprinkling
Additional butter, for topping the fruit before baking

To Make the Crust:
1. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse.  Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  Slowly add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing, just until the dough starts to come together. 
2. Gather the dough together and flatten onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap the dough and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
3. When you are ready to use the dough, roll the entire dough into one large circle.  Place the rolled tart dough onto a  parchment-lined baking sheet.

For the Filling:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the sliced peach, plums, and raspberries.  Add the sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour.  Mix gently and spoon the fruit mixture into the center of the tart dough leaving approximately a 3-inch border.  Bring the dough up over the fruit and pleat the dough (see photo above).  Brush the pleated edge with heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Scatter small shards of butter over the fruit. 
2. Bake crostata in the center of the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until crust begins to turn a golden brown. 
3. Remove from oven.  Cool for at least 15 minutes to make sure the fruit sets and serve with fresh whipped cream.

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