CONDLEY: Blueberry crostata is good, but lacks enough filling
It won’t be long until our blueberry bushes will be providing fresh berries.
We still have a lot in the freezer from last year, and I feel like I need to use them.
I pulled out the dessert recipes I’ve clipped and saved over the years, and found today’s recipe for summer fruit crostata nearthe bottom of the stack.
I’d torn the recipe from the September 2019 Food Network Magazine.
The recipe seemed simple enough, but since it required refrigerating the dough, I got to work on it Saturday afternoon.
Summer fruit crostata
For the Dough:
— 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
— 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
— 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
— 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
— 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
— 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
— 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon very cold buttermilk
— 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon very cold heavy cream
For the Filling and Assembling:
— 3 cups diced fresh or frozen (not thawed) fruit such as mangoes, peaches, whole blackberries or blueberries
— 3 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness and ripeness of the fruit)
— 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water
— 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon or lime zest
— 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
— Pinch of kosher salt
Make the dough. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using your fingers, two knives or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Slowly add the buttermilk and cream, and gently mix, using your fingers or a fork, until the mixture just come together. (Alternately, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the buttermilk and heavy cream and pulse until the dough just comes together.)
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a bit more flour on top.
Lightly flatten the dough using a rolling pin or your hands, fold it over and flatten again.
Fold it over once more, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to two days.
Make the filling. Combine the fruit and sugar in a large bowl, and let sit at room temperature until the juices begin to release, about 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a sauce pan, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add the cornstarch slurry, bring to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens, about one minute.
Remove from the heat and str in the citrus zest and juice and salt.
Assemble the crostata. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch round, 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough round to the prepared baking sheet.
Fill the center with the fruit filling, leaving a two-inch border.
Gently fold the border over the fruit, leaving the center exposed, and pleat the border to make a circle.
Sprinkle sugar evenly over the dough.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Before making the dough, I poured three cups of frozen blueberries into a bowl and covered them with six tablespoons of sugar.
I set the berries aside while I started on the dough.
I combined the dough’s dry ingredients, and then opened the refrigerator door, looking for the buttermilk and heavy cream.
I found both, but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough buttermilk for this recipe. Since you can make your own buttermilk from milk or heavy cream, I used that option. I added 1-1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice to a clear measuring cup then poured in enough heavy cream to equal a 1/2 cup, stirred the mixture, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Once the “buttermilk” was ready, I poured it, along with the additional heavy cream, into the dry ingredients, and used a fork to combine the dough. It was pretty sticky when I dumped it onto the floured counter top.
I used my hands to flatten the dough, then folded it over and flattened it again, then did this one more time before wrapping the dough in plastic wrap and placing it in the refrigerator.
Next, I transferred the blueberries to a saucepan, wishing I’d just put the blueberries in the saucepan to start with so I wouldn’t have this bowl to wash.
There wasn’t much liquid in the blueberries when I turned on the heat. I figured the liquid would come forth with the sugar and heat. That did happen, but it took about 15 minutes.
Once there was liquid in the blueberries, and it was at a slight boil, I poured in the cornstarch slurry and let it continue to boil.
Again, it took longer to thicken than the recipe said. It was just a tad thick when I added the lemon zest, juice and salt.
Actually, mine didn’t really thicken until I removed it from the stove and let it sit while I patted out the dough.
Instead of patting out the dough on a floured surface, I rolled it out on floured parchment paper so I wouldn’t have to transfer it from the counter to a parchment paper-lined pan.
Once the dough was in a 12-inch circle, I picked up the parchment paper and placed it on my baking sheet.
It was time to add the filling, and it really had thickened up.
I scraped every last bit of the blueberry filling onto the dough, folded the edges over the filling and generously sprinkled sugar on the dough.
The crostata went into the oven, and baked for 30 minutes.
When I peaked in, the crust was golden brown, but the filling wasn’t bubbly. I removed it from the oven and let it cool.
Once it had cooled a bit, I cut a slice, and thought boy, that filling is really thin and the dough is pretty thick.
Brad and I took a bite, and agreed, it was good, but there just wasn’t enough filling.
The next day, our daughter-in-law, Katy, brought our three grandchildren for a visit, and she agreed with us that it was good, but needed more filling. Abigail and Luke just said they liked it.
This blueberry dessert didn’t quite hit the spot.
However, with at least twice the filling, my opinion might change, but I probably won’t make it again. I have more blueberry recipes I want to try.
Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.
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