July 22nd, 2011
Funny. I just read a great post (with which I totally agree) about too much decadence in cooking on The Amateur Gourmet. Then, a mere 30 minutes later, I opened WordPress and started this post by typing, “Cream makes everything better.” Sigh.
At the expense of my bold opening—which I suppose is already a casualty—allow me a caveat. Cream makes most things better. Cream makes other things better in a way that’s just, well, too much. Cream + bacon = too much. Cream + blueberries = just right.
Fresh blueberries and cream are such a beautifully balanced pair that I had to try them together baked. Would the balance between sweet and tart, comforting and bright prevail?
Why, yes, it would. And this Blueberries and Cream Crostata is proof.
If you’ve never made one, a crostata (pretty much the same thing as a galette, the french version of these partially open face, free form tarts) is as easy to put together as pie. Well, actually, even easier. You roll out some dough, pile on your filling and fold the dough over part of the filling to create an edge. That’s it. No pie plate, no double crusts, no pinching. In fact, you can go ahead and get a little sloppy—crostatas are meant to look rustic.
Here’s the deal. Make enough pie dough for a 9″ single crust pie. Once chilled, roll your dough on a floured surface into a circle with a 9″ diameter.
Then transfer the dough to a baking sheet. To do this, start by folding the dough on your floured work surface in half.
Then in half again.
Once folded into quarters, you should be able to move the cone-shaped dough without incident. Place the pointy end of the cone in the center of the baking sheet.
Then once more. Now your round of dough is officially transferred!
If your filling isn’t made yet, chill the dough on the baking sheet while you put the filling together. When you’re ready, pile the filling onto the dough leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around the edge. Then start folding up the sides of the crust. Dot the exposed fruit with a little butter…
and it’s time to bake.
If you’re adding cream to your crostata, you’ll take it out of the oven 5-10 minutes before it’s done to pour in the cream. Finish baking, cool and treat time!
If you ask me, cream isn’t just perfect with blueberries, but with almost all summer fruit. Peaches and cream. Raspberries and cream. I’m even tempted to try a plum and (maple?) cream crostata. And I think even the Amateur Gourmet would approve.
Blueberries and Cream Crostata
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
makes 6-8 servings
your favorite pie dough, chilled, enough for a 9″ single crust pie (I use Martha Stewart’s Pate Brise)
3 cups fresh blueberries, washed
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Stir together blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
2. Roll chilled pie dough into a circle (roughly) with a 9″ diameter. Transfer to a baking sheet. (See notes above.)
3. Spoon blueberries onto the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around the edge. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the fruit, pleating it as necessary—it should cover about 1 inch of the blueberries all the way around, leaving many of them still exposed. Brush the top of the folded over dough with the egg and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of sugar. Dot the exposed blueberries with pieces of butter.
4. Bake the crostata for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Do not turn the oven off. Temper the heavy cream: using a large spoon, gently press on the exposed blueberries to spoon out some of their juices. Slowly drizzle the hot liquid into the room temperature cream and, with a fork ready in your other hand, whisk. Continue whisking and repeat until you’ve added enough of the hot liquid from the crostata to make the cream warm. Then pour the cream throughout the fruit. (It will seep less than you think, so be sour to pour it all around, even gently prying under the folded over crust.) Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the crust is perfectly golden brown and the juices bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.
*Note: While there is nothing in this that cannot be shared with younger children, I recommend this beginning at 12-months-old due to the relatively high sugar content. No matter how old your eaters, be sure to serve age appropriate servings. A little of this treat goes a long way!