I was so excited to see the first local, organic strawberries at the farmers market yesterday. Apparently I was not the only one, judging by the length of the line to buy them. They were worth the wait though....beautiful red, juicy and delicious and certainly are inspiring thoughts of springtime meals and menus in my kitchen.
I had some frozen pastry scraps lying around today and not wanting them to go to waste I opened the fridge for inspiration. I immediately saw those lovely berries and some creme fraiche sitting nearby and thought.... crostata! So, that's today's recipe which is really more of a technique than a recipe and can easily be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand.
A crostata is essentially just a rustic Italian tart. The sweet versions usually feature some kind of fresh fruit that has been very simply prepared. The dough is rolled out to an irregular shape, the fruit arranged in the center, and the sides folded in. Sometimes a filling, in this case creme fraiche, but could just as easily be preserves or marmalade, are spread over the bottom of the crust with the fruit placed on top. They're super easy and not at all fussy, since by definition a crostata's appearance is intended to be rustic.
Use whatever bits of dough and fruits or fillings you have about. This could just as easily be made with any kind of pastry dough scraps or even a frozen pie crust. I can think of so many combinations. Poached rhubarb with lemon marmalade and mascarpone would be pretty fantastic. Or, maybe dried apricots with toasted almonds and ricotta. I can think of a zillion ways to deliciousness here. Enjoy!
For the Crostata:
Yields 1, 9" tart
11 oz sweet pastry dough
2 TB creme fraiche
6-8 large strawberries, thinly sliced
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cream for brushing outside of crust
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a well floured board, roll out the pastry to about 1/8" thickness. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
2) To prepare the crostata, spread the 2 TB creme fraiche over the bottom of the pastry, leaving about 1 1/2" border on all sides. Lay the strawberries on top, still maintaining the border of dough. Drizzle the filling with the 1 tsp honey.
3) Working quickly, to maintain the coldness of the pastry, fold the sides over onto the edge of the filling, in a rustic fashion, overlapping a bit as you go. Once the sides are folded in, brush the edges with a bit of cream to help with browning in the oven.
4) Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until the berries are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Serve at room temperature.