Last weekend I threw a tiny dinner party and, as is my habit, played a game of "let's use up what's already in the kitchen." When I took stock of my larder, I realized I had a perfect dessert in the making: plump shiny blackberries and juicy nectarines. A marriage made in culinary heaven!
I knew I wanted to make a crostata, and zipped through my cookbooks looking for a recipe. If tarts and pies are for those with a deft hand, an eye for detail and anal retentive leanings, crostatas are for the rest of us. You can make the dough in a food processor, and once you've dumped the fruit out onto it, you simply fold the edges over in a whimsical, devil-may-care fashion. No decorative touches needed.
I think I may have been a peasant in a former life, for this is the kind of cooking and baking I like to do, far more than elegant vanilla bean souffles or jasmine tea truffles. The food that comes out of my kitchen is hearty, simple, unrefined. And, in this case, damn good.
Here is the recipe. Be sure to use the egg wash and sprinkle the crust with raw sugar -- I very nearly omitted the last step out of laziness -- but it adds such a wonderful depth of flavor to the crust. I substituted lemon zest for orange, owing to the exigencies of my kitchen (and my OCD) but it was, in retrospect, perhaps a bit stronger than intended. If you do that, cut the amount in half.
Need I even say it? Well, all right. Just in case. Serve with plenty of vanilla ice cream.