I am a pastry fiend! I can spot a perfect pie crust at 100 paces, and my heart aches for all things French and buttery. I could name my favorite bakeries faster than I could name my children. It’s an obsession.
One of my very favorite bakeries in the entire world is a little place called Auntie Dee Dees in Eat Burke, VT. The owner/chef extraordinaire is a one woman show, and her confections are sheer magic. Her crowning glory? Her crostatas.
A crostata is basically a rustic tart. The beauty of it? You can fill it with anything! The sky’s the limit!
Because Auntie Dee Dees is such a rare treat for me, I knew I had to figure out how to make a serviceable crostata of my own.
The crust is what makes or breaks a fabulous crostata. For my creations, I fell back on my Paula Dean pie crust recipe, which is simple, and delicious. The key to any good crust is getting the butter and shortening blended to just the right size, and not over working the dough.
Rolling, Rolling Rolling!
Once the dough has chilled, rolling it out is the next area that you’ll need to work out. Always roll out from the center of the dough and keep all surfaces well dusted with flour so the dough won’t stick. I have found that the costatas work well when the dough is rolled fairly thin, but not thin enough to tear or leak.
Making the Cut
The great thing about crostatas is that they’re “rustic” so the shapes are rough an “roundish”. I take a sharp knife and cut out unsymmetrical rounds, about 5 inches in diameter. Once the rounds are cut, I place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
This is the part where you can get creative! Any type of pie filling or fresh fruits work really well with these, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Place your filling onto the dough rounds, spreading it evenly to about 1/2 inch from the edge. make sure it’s not too high so that it will leak out when baked
Know When to Fold Em’
Going around the edge of the dough, fold in a bit at a time, over the outside edges of the filling, all the way around.
I give the corners an gentle pinch to help them keep their shape.
When you’ve finished folding up all of the crostatas on your pan, bake at 350F for apx. 30 minutes, or the edges are a nice golden brown.
A Word on Fillings
Homemade jams and preserves work great as fillings for these crostatas. I just used some blueberry preserves and they were fantastic. I’ve also had great results with fresh berries sprinkled with a little sugar, and apples, sliced thing with cinnamon and sugar.
My favorite filling creation so far however, has been a savory one:
Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onion, Bacon Jam Crostata
Spread a thin layer of caramelized onions on the crostata dough
Top the caramelized onions with a heaping tablespoon of goat cheese and spread evenly
Spread a thin layer of bacon jam over the goat cheese. Fold up edges of the dough and bake on 350F for apx. 30 minutes. The cheese with brown nicely, and the flavors blend perfectly. This are amazing when eaten while still warm.