Peach Week: Peach & Blueberry Crostata
Do you look forward or back? It’s not a trick question, I really want to know! I’m not super nostalgic by nature. If anything, I err on the side of impatience, always anxious to get to the next… milestone, job, project, weekend. It’s why I don’t feel sad the way some people do about my kids’ birthdays – there’s always so many things to look forward to. How can I feel sad about Esme not being a baby anymore when we just took the training wheels off of her bike this weekend?
Of course the major – MAJOR – downside to my habit of looking ahead is that I can miss out on what’s actually going on. I spent the last low-temped week we had in Toronto talking about how it felt like summer is over. Something about the coolness of the morning air just felt like September to me. Esme had had enough one day. “Mom, there is a month – that’s four weeks! – left of summer. It is not over.” And she’s right. I need to stop looking at the back-to-school articles crowding my twitter feed and get my head back into the game. So, I’m planning some picnics, barbecues and even just dinners out on our deck to get the most out of the second half of summer. You with me?
Here’s a little something to help you and your family celebrate the long summer ahead of us. Don’t worry, I know pie can be intimidating but this one is as easy as they get. It looks gorgeous when it comes out of the oven and tastes like heaven. Peach and blueberry is one of my all-time favourite summer combination. But I’ve got another one coming up for you that’s amazing, too. I can’t wait…
photos by Maya Visnyei
Peach & Blueberry Crostata
1 cup flour (I used a pastry flour but you could use all purpose)
1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, in fact, throw in the freezer
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups sliced, peeled peaches (about 5 peaches)
1 x 6 oz. blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sugar for finishing the crust (I use a schmancy large-grained sugar that looks great in photos but use what you’ve got!)
Place your butter in the freezer for half an hour before you start.
Mix flours, sugar and salt in a bowl. Now, grate the very cold butter with the large holes on a box cheese grater. This is a trick I learned from Martha Stewart and is it ever a good thing. The grater makes the perfect sized little bits of butter. Then you just toss them into the flour, really toss it around well so it breaks up and every bit gets coated in the flour mix.
Whisk together the milk and egg and then stir into the flour. It will seem like it’s not enough moisture to hold into a dough but it is. Use your hands to gather it into a ball. Flatten it into a disk, wrap tightly will cling wrap and put in the fridge for at least an hour and a half but up to two days.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare your filling right before you intend on baking your crostata. If you do it to far in advance the juices from the fruits will make it soupy and hard to work with.
You could simply peel your peaches with a paring knife or you could do what I did and cut a small X at the non-stem end of each peach, quickly blanch them in boiling water – just a minute or two is plenty – and then plunge them into an ice bath. This makes slipping off the skins really easy. Slice the fruit off of the stone.
At this point I’d get my dough ready. Remove it from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to warm up. I like working right on my baking sheet as I have a rimless one. If you don’t, you can work on a sheet of parchment. Don’t miss this step! Transferring your crostata will be quite tricky otherwise. Roll out the dough to a about a 12 inch circle. Do your best to create a circle without too many raggedy edges but the whole point of a crostata is that it’s rustic so don’t worry too much. Leave your rolled dough for a minute while you put your fruit together.
In a large bowl, toss together the peaches, blueberries, cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice.
In a small bowl, whisk your final egg and keep a pastry brush handy. Brush the entire inside of the dough with egg.
Now, comes the quick-moving part. Spoon your filling into the centre of the dough. Let it mound up. Leave about an inch and a half border of unfilled dough around the edges. You might want to use a slotted spoon if you’ve got a lot of liquid. A little is fine but you don’t want it running everywhere. Now start folding up your dough into the centre. You don’t want it to meet in the middle – there will be a hole about an inch or two across left in the centre. Just keep folding and pleating all the way around.
Brush the top parts of the dough with egg and then sprinkle liberally with sugar.
Place in the oven for about 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Allow the pie to cool quite a bit before slicing into a piece of heaven.
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