Crostata Crazy

Ok, let’s play a game, a game called: marry, boink, kill. (Note: “boink” is the G-rated version). Usually you play this game using celebrities (who would you marry, boink, or kill: George Clooney, George Stephanopoulos, Boy George.) Today, however, we’re going to play this game with pastry. Are you ready? Marry, boink, or kill: pies, tarts & crostatas.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re going to marry pie, aren’t you? Pie is wholesome isn’t it. It’s the kind of pastry you can take home to your parents–fair enough.

But who are you going to boink and who are you going to kill? Tarts or crostatas?

This is a very serious question. Those of you who would kill crostatas, you’re probably thinking they’re messy, unmanageable, not as pretty or as dainty as a tart.

But crostata killer, wait a second. Crostatas may be untidy, but that’s what makes them sexy! They’re rustic, they’re spontaneous, they’re untethered. Like this cherry crostata I made two weeks ago:


Look at this rambunctious beast of a dessert. Like Fabio on the cover of a romance novel, its hair is flowing, its shirt is wide open, and its just begging you to devour it. A tart’ll make you buy it dinner first, but a crostata? A crostata comes with a mattress tied to its back.

Ok, this metaphor has gone too far. Let’s let it go. Hey! I have something to tell you: I’m going crostata crazy! I don’t like making pie, I find it stressful for some reason, but making a crostata? It’s so easy, so pleasurable, I have a feeling I’m going to be making crostatas all summer long.

Just make some pie dough, refrigerate for 30 minutes, roll it out, plop some fruit in the middle that you’ve tossed with sugar (about 1/4 cup), a pinch of salt and 1 Tbs of flour, fold over the edges, brush with a wash of yolk and cream, and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes at 425. A crostata!

(Note: on Twitter, I spelled it “crostada” and a nice reader named Neil wrote me a corrective e-mail. “I am pretty sure that it’s a ‘crostata,’ not a ‘crostada.’ Crostata is an Italian word, so it would have a ‘t” instead of a ‘d.'” Grazie, Neil!)

(Note #2: a commenter pointed out that I spelled it “gratzi” in the first draft. What would I do without you people?)

If you’d like a recipe, I used this one from MIchael Chiarello in Napa Style. But a recipe is really unnecessary, as I said: just make pie dough, plop sugar-tossed fruit in the middle and bake it. That’s what I did with the peach blueberry crostata you see at the top of this post. It leaked a bunch on the cookie sheet, but as soon as I removed it to a plate, that was a secret. And look how sexy!

So in conclusion, don’t count out crostatas. In the game of marry, boink, kill “the pastry version,” we all know pie’s the one to marry. But when it comes down to who to boink, choose crostata. Just make sure to let it cool down first.

Let's dish!

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