A crostata is an Italian tart usually made with a jam-like filling. I’ve always been curious as to the difference between a pie and a tart and as it turns out, a pie is made in a deep, angled dish whilst a tart is made in a shallow, straight-sided pan. In Italy, they make a similar pastry called a torta which has a pureed filling unlike the crostata which is known for chunky fruit such as apricots, peaches, or cherries. Since it is peach season, I though this peach crostata would be perfect. The local grocery store in my area has proclaimed August “Peach’o’Rama” and stocks some of the juiciest, sweetest peaches around.
I began by making the dough by cutting butter into flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. I wasn’t so sure about the lemon but it added a nice tart flavor to the sweetness of the sugar. After the flour and butter combined, I added a egg and vanilla extract and mixed until the dough formed. Then I kneaded it and left it to chill in the fridge. You can actually leave this dough chilling for as long as overnight but to be honest, I’m not sure anyone would want to wait that long.
I chopped the peaches and could tell by the color and texture that they were going to turn out great in this tart. I added sugar and flour to really get the juices flowing and to thicken it some and let that sit whilst I rolled out the dough. I first rolled out a larger round that would become the base of the tart. It took a few tries to get a truly circular pastry, but finally, I was able to roll it back onto my rolling pin and into the tart pan. After adding the filling, I rolled out the second piece of dough. Using a pizza cutter, I cut strips and made my very first lattice crust. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and if it hadn’t have been for the heat and the fact that the strips started to break in half, it would have looked like one you would find in any pasticceria in Italy. I egg washed the crust and added demerara, which is a course sugar that you can find on many baked pastries.
While the crostata was baking, my house filled with wonderful smells and when it came out of the oven, it was a beautiful golden color. You could see the peaches poking through the top crust and slightly bubbling. It not only looked amazing, but tasted great too. The peaches were sweet and thick. I didn’t realize it, but the lemon zest in the crust brought this tart to a new level; you could taste it in every bite and it accentuated the peaches nicely. Give it a try, if you have any comments on the recipe, leave them below. Bon Appetit!
Adapted from Essentials of Italian
Makes a 10-inch tart
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), cut into small pieces
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon water
Coarse sugar, such as demerara
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a large bowl.
Scatter butter and cut the pieces into the flour until pea sized crumbs are left.
Whisk the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl and add to the flour mixture.
Mix until dough forms and transfer to a board.
Kneed into two discs, one slightly larger than the other and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Toss peaches with sugar and flour; set aside.
Roll out larger dough disc into a 12-inch round and place in 10-inch tart pan; fold excess dough over.
Pour peaches into pan and spread evenly.
Roll out second disc into a 10-inch round and cut ten 1/2-inch wide strips.
Place one strip on top of the filling then place another strip perpendicular to the first.
Continue until all the strips have been placed.
Whisk egg and water together and brush top crust. Sprinkle sugar generously.
Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden and let cool before serving.