Thursday, August 1, 2013

Plum Crostata






We were invited to a BBQ this weekend and I wanted to bring a dessert. There was a big bag of dark purple plums sitting on the counter that I bought on a whim even though nobody really eats much fruit around here. We certainly use fruit for ice cream making and smoothies but none of us are ever likely to go and grab an actual piece of fruit and just eat it. I am not sure what possessed me to buy them because I really only wanted to eat one plum at the time but they came in a big bag and they were the price of a couple of plums at the grocery store, so the plums came home.

Anyway, because I had this big bag of plums I knew I would have to bake something with them. I floated the idea of cinnamon plum ice cream to Shack but that was promptly shot down. He likes raspberry ice cream with no add ins so that is what has been going on in this house lately. I considered a plum pie but I am kind of afraid of pastry dough to be perfectly honest. Despite the fact that I adore pie, I almost never make them and I can't recall the last time I made a pie with pie dough. I will do a cookie crust or, GASP, a frozen crust from time to time but I cower in fear at the idea of rolling out pie crust.

Wanting to face my fears, it seemed like a crostata would be a good compromise. It's pie dough but it's rough and ready and doesn't have to be pretty and perfect. There just happened to be a recipe for this Berry Galette on the cover of the Chalelaine happened to be sitting on a side table so I used the basic recipe as my guide. Now, I see this type of open faced, rustic pie called both a galette and a crostata but I think it's actually a crostata so that is what I am going with. You call it whatever you like. Bottom line it was super easy to throw together and it's something you could do with whatever fruit you have in the house and you can do it last minute and impress the hell out of people because it looks way more exotic and difficult then it is. We will keep that under our hats, okay?

I think this crostata was amazing but I have to admit that the boys wouldn't eat it because I had put *gasp* fresh ginger in it and it seems that they do not care for ginger. I was toying with the idea of chopping crystallized ginger really finely and mixing it into the sanding sugar for the crust so I dodged a bullet there. Luckily our host did like it and that is all that matters and those ungrateful fully grown toddlers went without dessert. I like this recipe so much that I have made another one since this plum pie. The second one was mixed berry without any ginger but I made it to give away as a thank you to a friend so even though I know they would have loved that one, they are getting nothing. You diss my dessert for no good reason, you go without dessert.
That's how I roll.

One word of caution:
Unfortunately, I made that berry crostata the night before I was meeting up with my friend and by the next day it had started to go soggy so I recommend making this thing on the day you are going to eat it and it's so easy to do, there is no reason not to. You can keep the dough in the fridge for a couple of days before you roll it out and bake it so that is what I suggest you do. It was still delicious the next day, just a bit soft.



Plum Crostata

adapted from Chatelaine Very Berry Galette

Pastry

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbls granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
5 tbls ice water


Filling

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbls cornstarch
pinch salt
1 tbls grated ginger
approx 4 cups of dark purple plums, pitted and sliced (approx 10 med sized plums for me)
1 tbls coarse sanding sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 tbls plum preserves optional (I used a gamay noir plum preserve that a friend made me)
*icing sugar if you serve it room temp or ice cream or whipped cream if you serve it warm


Whiz the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and then throw in the cold butter. Pulse until it looks all crumbly. With the motor running, add the ice water and let process until the dough comes together. It's not a sticky dough but it will hold together easily. I wrapped it in some plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while I got the fruit ready.
Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in a big bowl before adding your fruit and ginger. Stir it all together and set aside.
Put the rack on the bottom spot in your oven and preheat it to 375F
On a piece of parchment, sprinkle a bit of flour and and pat your dough into a ball. Dust a rolling pin with flour and start rolling the pastry out until it forms a rough 12" circle. The ends will be all raggedy and thin and that is fine. Put that pastry on the parchment onto a baking sheet. Pile up your fruit onto the centre of your pastry circle, leaving about a 2" border of pastry. Gently start folding that pastry border back over the fruit , just enough to cover the edges. I wouldn't worry about it being neat and you can just pinch any spots where the dough might tear. It's supposed to look rough and rustic. Lightly brush the pastry border with your beaten egg and sprinkle the coarse sanding sugar over it.
Bake until the pastry turns golden and the filling is bubbling nicely, 35 to 45 minutes. It took mine closer to 45 minutes but just keep an eye on it after its been in there for 35 minutes.
When it's done, take it out of the oven and carefully transfer the crostata on the sheet of parchment to a wire rack. Now brush a couple of tbls of the plum preserves over the fruit while it's hot out of the oven (if you are using it, it will be delicious with our without)
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream or room temp dusted with icing sugar. 


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