I became acquainted with crostatas several years ago and now I churn them out regularly like nobody’s business.
Crostatas are basically a low-rent version of a pie or tart: they are messy to eat, not particularly easy on the eyes, but they are absolutely delicious and simple to prepare. In fact, they are so accessible that I often recommend them to friends who are too intimated by the idea of making a pie crust or tart shell from scratch.
And the possibilities for filling a crostata are only limited by your imagination.
I will tell you that I recently made an apple version that I took to a friend’s birthday party and it was an uber-hit. I was talking to someone who was particularly enjoying her piece of crostata and I seriously thought she was going to fall over she was enjoying it so much. I’m pretty sure that any time that you prepare a dessert that makes people feel compelled to stop, drop and roll, you’re good to go.
This mixed berry crostata is just a gem. Don’t get me wrong, it’s located on the wrong end of the messy stick, but it is just so dang good.
Mixing the fresh berries with sugar allows them to macerate a bit and their flavors to mix to perfection. Some fresh, tangy lemon zest on top never hurt anyone.
So, please, make your friends a berry crostata today. But just be sure that you have some well-placed gym mats lying around when they dig in.
Mixed Berry Crostata
For the dough:
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
- 3 tbsp. white sugar, granulated
- 3 tbsp. cold water
For the filling:
- 1 c. strawberries, roughly chopped
- 1 c. blackberries, roughly chopped
- ½ raspberries (I chose to leave these whole, you may roughly chop them if you prefer;)
- ½ blueberries (Again, you may choose to chop these — I left them whole;)
- ¼ c. white sugar, granulated
- ¼ c. unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh
- Zest of one lemon
Place the dry ingredients for the dough into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse just a few times, to blend. Add the butter and pulse process until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the water and pulse several more times until the dough forms.
Remove the dough to a floured board and knead just enough times to allow you to form the dough into a disc.
Wrap the dough in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
Once the dough has been thoroughly chilled, remove it to a sheet of parchment paper and, using a well-floured rolling pin, roll it out to an oval that is approximately 8” x 12”. Move the parchment paper holding the rolled dough to a baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 450 °.
In a large bowl, toss the berries, sugar and lemon juice until all of the fruit pieces are lightly and evenly coated.
Spread the fruit mixture over the dough round, leaving a 2” border. Once the fruit has been evenly applied, fold the edges of the dough up over the fruit filling, pleating the dough every few inches so that your finished product is a relatively even oval. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the fruit filling.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and place the baking sheet on the center rack. Bake the crostata for approximately 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is fragrant. Remove the crostata from the oven and finish it by immediately zesting a lemon over the top.
YIELD: one 8-10” crostata, approximately 5-6 servings