Rustic Strawberry and Chocolate Crostata
In general, crostata, or an Italian version of pie, is made with various types of jam for the topping. I, however, do not like using any product that comes in a jar or can, so I decided to make my crostata with fresh fruit. This recipe can be topped with pear, apple, peach, strawberries, or other fruits. The fruits are sliced thin or made into a rough pulp in a food processor, mixed with some sugar and lemon juice, and placed on top of the crust prior to baking. This recipe uses no egg in the crust; however, in many regions of Italy the crust will be made with egg.
1 1/2 cups of flour ( I usually use double 00 which is readily available in Italy, but all purpose flour works also)
2 tablespoons of sugar
10 tablespoons of butter - cold right from the refrigerator and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon of lemon peel grated
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons (approximately) of ice water
For the topping
Approximately 1 1/2 to 2 pints of fresh strawberries sliced very thin
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of fine sugar ( this can be modified depending on the sweetness of the berries)
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or grated dark chocolate
Confectioners sugar for sprinkling the top after baking
Toasted almonds for decorating the top, if desired
Food processor with the plastic blade
1 baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Oven temperature 400 degrees (200 C)
To make the crostata
Step 1: Pulse flour, sugar and lemon peel in the food processor to mix.
Step 2: Add the butter and pulse until the dough looks like a very coarse cornmeal.
Step 3: Add the salt and the ice water. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time until the dough forms moist clumps. If you do not make your dough too wet, it will form a more flaky crust, but it will be a little more difficult to work.
Step 4: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and work the dough into a ball. Flatten into a disk form and wrap in plastic wrap.
Step 5: Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour until it is firm.
Step 6: Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Step 7: Roll out the dough to an approximately 12- 14 inch round and transfer to the baking sheet. (I either roll my dough out on parchment or the plastic wrap so that it is easier to transfer to the baking sheet.)
Step 8: Drain excess liquid from the fresh fruit and distribute evenly over the crust leaving a border of about 1 inch around the edges. If you add chocolate chips, add them now before baking. However, if you want to top the crostata with grated curls of chocolate, add these after the crostata has cooled.
Step 9: Fold the edges of the dough over and crimp as you would a regular pie crust.
Step 10: Bake until the crust is golden brown approximately 30 to 35 minutes.
Step 11: When the crostata is cool, sprinkle with confectioners sugar and some slivered or coarsely chopped almonds, if desired.
This is great served with a dollop of whipped cream or some vanilla gelato.
If you are making this with peaches, apples or pears, I usually add some cinnamon when I add the sugar. When using peaches, my favorite version is with white peaches during the summer, it will take two to three fresh peaches depending on size. These I put in the food processor and pulse to a very coarse mixture before adding the lemon, cinnamon and sugar. For apples or pears, cut the fruit very thin prior to adding the lemon, cinnamon and sugar to ensure that the fruit will be cooked.