I love making a crostata. I love eating them even more. They are Italian baked dessert tarts, much less fussy and perfect looking than a tart or a pie. The rustic, rough shaped finished product looks homemade with human hands, rather than the perfect, glossy tart and that in and of itself warms my heart.
And as a bonus, you don’t have any extra pan to clean.
So last week, when I spotted fresh cherries at the farmers market, I knew what I had to do.
This recipe is adapted from several different recipes from Barefoot Contessa, Victoria Magazine and Taste of Italy Magazine, with my own little touches thrown in.
Cherry Almond Crostata
For the pastry (makes 2):
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound very cold unsalted butter, diced
dash of almond extract
For the Almond Frangipane:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup butter, softened
For the filling, topping
4 to 5 cups fresh cherries, pitted, halved
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 sliced almonds
sugar for sprinkling
For the pastry, place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse to combine. And butter and hand toss to coat with flour mixture.
Pulse 12-15 times until the butter is pea-sized. With the processor running, add 1/4 cup ice water mixed with the almond extract, all at once from the feed tube. Keep pulsing to combine, stop the machine before the dough comes together.
Turn the tough out onto a floured board and form 2 disks. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate one for at least 1 hour. The other goes in the freezer (unless you are feeling hungry and want to make 2).
While the dough is chilling, make the frangipane. Blend the almonds and sugar in the food processor. Cut the butter into cubes add to the nut mixture and pulse to combine.
Add egg and pulse until completed combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a sealed container and freeze for 1 hour.
Now prep the cherries; pit and cut them in half and place them into a large bowl. Add the cornstarch and gently fold to combine. Set aside.
When the hour is up, preheat the oven to 425*, take the dough from the fridge and roll out onto a piece of parchment paper placed on a board into an 11 inch round. Transfer dough on the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
Remove frangipane from the freezer. Scoop 1/4 cup of the almond frangipane into the center of the dough. Top with cherries, spreading them evenly over the dough, leaving about a 2 inch border.
Fold up edges up over the sides and pinch to keep in place. Lightly beat the egg and brush over crust top. Sprinkle the almonds over the cherries, then sprinkle the entire surface with sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool for about 20 minutes.
Cut and serve alone or with whipped cream, marscapone cheese or your favorite ice cream!
Of course you can substitite any fruit or nut combination, depending on what is in season. Apple & Walnut, Peach & Pecan, Raspberry & Pistachio.
What is your favorite to make?