This beautiful stone fruit crostata is the perfect ending to any summertime outdoor meal. These tarts are free-form and don’t require a pan or mold, making them very popular for sweet and savory fillings. This Peach Crostata is filled with thin slices of ripe peaches that have macerated in their own juices with a little vanilla and peach brandy. How bad can that be?
Crostata vs. Galette?
Italian Crostata is basically the same as the French Galette – a flat tart that’s free-form and you fold the dough edges up and over the filling, exposing the center. Considering the reach of the Roman Empire, many countries have recipes with origins from the Roman Empire. The French say the Galette evolved from the crepe, but I’ve read there’s evidence of crepes in ancient Rome. According to Wikipedia, the first recorded recipe of a crostata, as used in modern times, was in a cookbook from 1465 titled Libro de Arte Coquinaria by Martino da Como. Fascinating! Can you tell I love history?
Let’s get to this delicious dessert! In a food processor, combine all-purpose flour, polenta (corn meal), granulated sugar, orange zest and kosher salt. Add the cold, cubed, unsalted butter and pulse a few times until the butter is pea-size.
Tip: Cut the butter and place it back in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Add the ice water and pulse until the dough forms moist clumps. Dump the clumps on your work surface and form a flat, round disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour. You can also make this a day ahead and allow to soften a few minutes before rolling out.
While the dough is chilling, prepare the fruit. Slice the peaches uniformly so they cook evenly. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and corn starch. Corn starch will help thicken the juices and make a sauce. Toss in the sliced peaches with vanilla extract and brandy. Brandy is optional, but it does enhance that peach flavor.
As the fruit macerates, roll out the dough in a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and turn the dough occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the parchment. Transfer the dough on the parchment onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until dough slightly firms up.
Note: You want the butter to stay cold. When the cold butter meets the high oven heat, it creates that flaky crust. If the butter becomes too warm and disappears into the flour, it won’t yield a perfect crumbly crust. I personally would discard it and start over.
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, but keep it on the parchment paper and baking sheet. Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch edge all around. Brush the edge with the egg wash and lift the edge and fold over the fruit or if you wish, you could lift the edge and pinch a vertical seam about 2 inches apart, as you fold the edge over the fruit. Brush the outside of the edge with the egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar crystals.
Immediately bake in a 375°F preheated oven until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is glistening and bubbly, about 50-55 minutes, depending on your oven temperature. Remove from the oven and separate the crostata from the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Combine the strained warm peach preserves with the peach brandy and brush the fruit with the preserves. It will give the fruit a glossy sheen and enhance the peach flavor. Cool for 30-40 minutes and serve warm or room temperature, with or without ice cream.
This is absolutely delicious and your family and friends will rave over this dessert!
Rustic Peach Crostata
A rustic and delicious peach crostata, perfect for summer and casual entertaining. Sweet peaches in an easy crust that will impress any dessert lover.
- 1⅔ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- zest 1 navel orange
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt prefer Diamond brand
- 1¾ sticks or 14 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ⅓ cup ice water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 5-6 medium peaches, pitted and cut into thin slices
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon peach brandy, optional
- 1 beaten large egg, room temperature (for egg wash)
- raw sugar crystals
- 2 Tablespoons peach preserves, heated and strained
- ½ teaspoon peach brandy
- vanilla ice cream, optional
Making the Crostata Dough
Combine the all-purpose flour, polenta (corn meal), granulated sugar, orange zest, kosher salt and cubed butter in food processor by pulsing a few times just until the butter is pea-size.
Add water and continue with short small pulses until dough comes together in moist clumps. If your dough is dry, add an additional teaspoon of cold water at a time until you have moist clumps.
Dump the dough onto your work surface, gather into a ball and pat to flatten into a round disk. Wrap and chill for at least one hour.
Lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper and roll out the dough to desired shape. Turn the dough occasionally as you're rolling it out to prevent sticking. Transfer dough on parchment paper to baking sheet and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Making the Peach Filling
In a medium bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cornstarch. Mix in the sliced peaches, vanilla extract and peach brandy. Toss to coat and allow to macerate, about 30 minutes.
Assembly and Baking
Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer baking sheet with rolled out dough from refrigerator to your work surface. Allow the dough to stand about 5 minutes to slightly soften. Spoon or arrange fruit with its juice on the dough leaving a 2-inch edge all around.
Brush 2-inch edge with an egg wash. You can simply fold edges over the fruit or make a decorative vertical pleats by pinching the edge about every 2 inches apart and folding those pinched seams over the fruit. The center of the crostata will be exposed.
Brush the exterior of the folded edge with with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven and loosen tart from the parchment paper onto a cooling rack.
In a small bowl combine the peach preserves that have been warmed and strained with peach brandy. Brush warm fruit with preserves. Allow to cool for 30-40 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.