Monday, June 20, 2011

Strawberry Crostata

Recently I've been reflecting on patience. Or, more accurately, my lack of it. I don't like waiting, waiting, waiting, and yet I feel like that's all I've done lately. Waiting for work stuff to get figured out, waiting for Cassandra to visit, waiting for my vacation to begin.

Then I come home to my kitchen and recognize I have impatience there also. I ignore steps to recipes that seem too complicated. I rarely take the time to let butter come to room temperature before creaming with sugar. I despise working with yeast and having to let it rise for hours.

So if you are impatient like me and you need a quick and easy early summer dessert, this strawberry crostata is for you. It's supposed to be rustic, so make it free-form and no worries if the dough rips. That just adds to the charm.

The homemade dough comes together in 30 seconds if you have a food processor, then a mere 30 minutes of chilling in the fridge while your oven preheats. You have to work quickly and impatiently so that the butter in the dough stays cold while you work - that's the key to a flaky crust.

My strawberries were picked from the backyard of very good friends, the Jones family. They're so tiny and ripe that no slicing was necessary and only the faintest hint of sugar was needed. If you have some cream cheese on hand, a layer of that under the strawberries wouldn't be a bad thing here.

With a big scoop of whipped cream, this is a knockout summer dessert (and breakfast) that's not too sweet but still indulgent. The best part is that it requires no patience whatsoever.

Strawberry Crostata, inspired by Ina Garten
Serves 4

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp ice water
2 cups strawberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 egg white, beaten
more sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse 15 times. Turn on the processor and dump in the ice water. Process until the dough comes together. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, toss your berries with sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.

Roll out your dough on a floured piece of parchment paper. It should get about 6-8 inches in diameter. Transfer dough to a baking sheet.

Drain and discard any liquid from your berries and dump them in the center of the dough. Fold up all the edges and crimp them. Brush the top of the dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. The strawberry liquid will ooze out, there's no way to prevent it so don't panic. Enjoy a slice of crostata warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

ONE YEAR AGO: Pan Bagnat

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