Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer baking: Blackberry peach crostada

Summer baking is the ultimate Catch-22; on one hand, there is great seasonal fruit to enjoy, but on the other, it is too darn hot (most days, the mere thought of turning on the oven makes me want to weep). But then all it takes are farmers market peaches and blackberries to make me change my mind. Was upstate last weekend and, over the course of two days, managed to hit two markets and one roadside stand, including the Vestal market, the Ithaca market and a random farmer off route 90 on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. While the markets were great, the stand was the mother lode. Although it looked a tad suspect (as all good roadside stands do), the crusty farmer had tender corn, perfect tomatoes, red new potatoes and one loan pint of freshly picked blackberries up for the taking. So I broke my no baking during the summer rule and made a peach blackberry crostada. I like galette and crostada recipes because they are supposed to be "rustic" (which gives me more leeway if the end result does not come out picture perfect). Plus, most crostada and galette recipes call for very little sugar, which allows the natural sweetness of the fruit to shine through (and for you to top with whipped cream or ice cream with low-to-no guilt). So the next time you pass a roadside stand, slam on the breaks, put in in reverse and see what gems you can find (just watch out for the traffic!).
Blackberry Peach Crostada
I cut the butter in this recipe, so if you want a more tender crust, double the amount of butter called for. If you want a more firm (yet still tasty and less calorie) crust, use amount of butter recommended.
2 C. All purpose flour (plus a bit more for dusting work surface)
1/2 C. Cornmeal
1/2 t. Salt
1 T. Sugar (plus extra for dusting crust)
1 Stick butter, cut into tiny cubes and chilled
2/3 C. Ice water
6 T. Sour cream or plain yogurt
1 Pint Blackberries
5-6 Small peaches, peeled and diced
1 T. Cinnamon
1 t. Vanilla extract
1 t. Corn starch
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a large bowl or food processor, combine dry ingredients (flour through sugar).
Add cubes of butter and work into dry ingredients with two forks or by pulsing food processor blade until the butter pieces are no bigger than a pea.
In a small bowl, mix water and sour cream or yogurt; pour slurry over flour/butter mixture and combine until dough ball forms (you may not need it all, or you made need a bit more water).
Divide dough ball into two, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour, then roll out both dough balls on floured work surface and transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheet(s).
Combine the remaining, tossing gently until the cornstarch is mostly dissolved by the liquid in the fruit.
Dump the half of the fruit mixture in the middle of one dough circle, and the remaining on the second circle (or oval or "shape"); spread out, leaving a one inch border.
Fold the border edge over the fruit mixture, patching as needed.
Brush crust with water or an egg wash (if preferred) and sprinkle a bit of sugar on the edges.
Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

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