We have a white peach tree in our garden, and it’s the first of the summer stone fruits to ripen, even before the apricots. We grab baskets and fill them full of these fragrant, delicate peaches. We eat as many as we can out of hand, sticky juice dribbling down our arms and chins. Homegrown white peaches don’t last long and they bruise easily. They’re perfect for baking. In the summertime, we find this peach crostata and a little ice-cold dessert wine to be a sweet, refreshing way to end a meal. Choose a late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc or, if you like bubbles, a slightly effervescent Moscato. White peaches are also perfect for peeling, slicing, and freezing for later use. It’s amazing what a peach crisp or cobbler does for the spirits in midwinter!–Christine Hanna
LC A Little Leeway Note
Not familiar with the term “crostata”? We have a hunch you’re going to like what it means. A lot. Essentially a tart, a crostata is sorta like a less-fussy pie that’s often, though not always, free-form rather than fitted into a pie plate. It’s designed for nigh-perfect summer stone fruits, and pretty much all the home baker has to do is not get in the way of the luscious fruit flavors. This peach crostata lends itself to “whatever stone fruit is in season and in abundance,” says author Christine Hanna. So you’ve got a little leeway. Doesn’t matter whether it’s peaches, nectarines, or plums. Leave the peels on nectarines and plums, cautions Hanna, but peel the peaches. Easy enough advice to follow. All of it.
Peach Crostata Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 2 H, 20 M
- Serves 6
- For the tart dough
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- For the filling
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 4 to 5 white peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch slices (4 to 5 cups sliced peaches)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Make the dough
- 1. Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until blended. Add the chunks of butter and blend just until mixture resembles pebbles. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until the mixture comes together. Do not let it form a ball. It should should still appear to be pretty pebbly and shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Make the filling
- 2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the peaches, lemon juice, and vanilla. Let stand for about 30 minutes, until the peaches release their juices. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar according to how innately sweet your peaches are.
- 3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Adjust an oven rack to the center position.
- 4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes. Roll the dough out on a piece of parchment paper to 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the parchment and the dough to a rimmed baking sheet. Pile the fruit mixture into the center of the dough, spreading it slightly but mounding it in the center. Fold the edges of the dough up around the fruit, allowing the dough to fall into pleats or seams every 2 inches. There should be at least 6 inches of fruit showing in the center of the crostata. Brush the edges of the dough liberally with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
- 5. Bake the crostata for 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling at the edges. If some liquid oozes out during baking, spoon it up and dribble it over the peaches in the center of the crostata. Transfer the parchment and peach crostata to a wire rack and let cool slightly or, if you can manage to resist, let cool completely. Cut the tart into wedges and serve.
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Peach Crostata Recipe © 2010 Christine Hanna. Photo © 2010 Sheri Giblin. All rights reserved.