Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cherry & Apricot Crostata with a Ricotta Filling

Hello, again. It's been almost a week since I've had a chance to post this recipe.  This is the second dessert recipe in a row.  I don't have any dinner recipes ideas to share, because we are grilling just about every meal, and at that it's simple (but tasty) fare-- grilled chicken, salmon, veggies and burgers.

This recipe was a smashing success, I tell you!  Whole Foods had organic Bing cherries on sale for $2.99 a pound, and I stocked up.  Originally, I wanted to bake a cherry pie.  Then, I stumbled across two different recipes-- one was for a cherry-apricot tart.  I had never thought of combining these two summer fruits, but I knew instantly that these would pair well together.  Then, I stumbled on a recipe for a crostata at "Cowgirl Chef".  I liked the crust recipe and I especially liked the idea of a ricotta filling.  Crostatas (or Gallettes) are what I consider to be "free form" pies.  They're rustic. They're fast and easy.  You can use a store bought crust, but I prefer to make my own.  I'm always game to try new pie crust recipes, and this one used all butter and a touch of sugar.

The key to great pie crusts is to use very cold butter and don't over work the dough.  As a note, I am a full convert to buying only unbleached flour-- to be specific, I buy King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.  Once the dough chilled for about an hour, I rolled it out to about 9-inches wide.  The uneven edges are fine, as I'll be folding the edges over.  I have a tutorial on how to make my fool-proof pie crust here.

I adapted the ricotta filling a bit.  I decided to add orange zest, and to omit using cinnamon. I simply whisked in two eggs and vanilla, and set it in the refrigerator ( you could easily do this the day before).  Next, I peeled and pitted 3 apricots and sliced them. I pitted roughly 20 Bing cherries.

I added about 1/4 tsp of almond extract and the juice of 1/2 small lemon. I sweetened the fruit with 3 Tablespoons of sugar and about 1 teaspoon of Clearjel (you can buy this at either King Arthur Flour or on Amazon).  If you don't have Clearjel, then you use always use cornstarch.  Set that aside.  On a whim, I decided to add a very thin layer of jam.  I do this, sometimes, to make sure that I don't end up with soggy crusts.  I didn't have apricot jam, but  I had  a lovely jar of Peach & Armagnac jam that the lovely folks at East India Company sent to me.  It's wonderful jam, and I'm sad that most of it has been eaten and thoroughy enjoyed.

I decided to change how I assembled the crostata from the original recipe, by reversing the steps.  I carefully spread the ricotta filling, on top of the jam-- leaving a 3" border.  Then, I piled the fruit on top of the ricotta filling.

I carefully folded the edge of the pastry over, and then brushed on an egg wash...

...then added King Arthur Flour sparkling white sugar, for the lovely crunch I like so much.

With the oven preheated to 350F I baked this for about 45 minutes.  Halfway through, I checked on my crostata and I was so sad... my lovely folded edges had melted into one flat pizza looking crust. I realized, too late, there was not enough flour in the dough (original recipe only called for one cup).  I should have gone with my gut instinct, as I felt that the dough felt very soft as initially I rolled it out.

Aesthetically, I was disappointed.  However, the crostata smelled wonderful, and I still had high hopes that the flavor would be a winner.

This is what the crust really should have looked like (this is a plum gallette that I make in the Fall.)

I let this crostata cool to room temperature-- just very slightly warm. I sprinkled my slice with a little bit of powdered sugar...

TASTING NOTES:  The crust is quite lovely, really.  It was tender and buttery.   Next time, I'll add about 1/2 cup extra flour (already noted on the printable recipe card).   The ricotta filling was perfect-- I'm so glad I went with the orange zest.  It was a perfect compliment to the fruit. Oh, the fruit... the almond extract was very subtle.  Cherries and almond are a great flavor combo.  Cherries and apricots are lovely!  The crostata was sweet, but not super sweet. I absolutely loved everything about this recipe.   Would I make the same crust again? You bet.  Again, just adding more flour until the dough comes together a bit more would be the solution.

The ricotta filling is something I will make with any kind of fruit, year-round.  This almost reminds me of the Ina Garten Cheese Danish recipe that I've made in the past-- and which is also one of my most viewed recipes.   A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.

Enjoy!





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20 comments:

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I've never seen a crostata with a filling - I love that idea and will have to try it. I do enjoy crostatas - so much easier than pie, and such a rustic look.

Nina said...

I stocked up on the cherries at Whole Foods, too! :) Love that those turned into this crostata with ricotta! Gorgeous , rustic look!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Oh, this looks so delicious! I keep forgetting to stop by your blog to see your gorgeous food, so I just subscribed via email! :)
Best,
Gloria

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

Wow this crostata looks marvelous and so colorful! I cannot get enough cherries lately and am always looking for new recipes for them - thanks for sharing:)

Joanne said...

i could never ever EVER complain about too many dessert recipes! Cherry and apricot are two great fruits to pair together. How delicious!

Allie said...

I went peach picking this Friday and it looks like I found my recipe :) Another great one to share with my friends at work! It's a shame that I love ricotta so much I could just eat it with a spoon but I guess I can spare some to make your crostata!!!

Deb in Hawaii said...

This looks fabulous and I love the cherry-apricot pairing. Yum!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wish I'd stocked up on the cherries at Whole Foods too. I'd have used them for this crostata, which looks absolutely delicious. Love the crunchy sugary crystals on top.

Chris and Amy said...

What a tasty, rustic dessert. Love adding the ricotta filling.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Others may be wishing for a main course recipe but I am happy, happy, happy that you did this recipe. Thank you!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

My resolve to cut back on calories just flew out the window. I love this dessert and can't wait to try it. I've never added a filling to a crostata and can imagine how much it adds to this fabulous dessert. Cherries are already on my shopping list today. Bookmarked!!!

Cheryl said...

Wow I have never made a Crostata before, never even heard of one! One of my favorite reasons for coming here, I always learn something new!

Stacey Snacks said...

Beautiful Deb~! Crostata w/ ricotta? Wow and delicious!

Velva said...

Debby, I am speechless. This summer berry dessert is stunning. I have been seeing other bloggers write about the $2.99 cherries on sale at Whole Foods.

Happy summer to you.

Velva

Fresh Garden said...

Wow! Delightful and yummy!
Wonderful!
Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the visit.

Monica H said...

Oh my gosh. Drool!

I was just thinking that the ricotta filling would be awesome in Ina's danishes and then you said it! Great minds think alike :-)

I so badly would LOVE a big o' slice of this crostata. Looks amazing.

Ott, A. said...

Love the fruit in this as it would almost make me feel healthy eating it. Very unique idea and thanks for linking it to the Iron Chef Challenge!

Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

This is lovely, Debby and I think that your baked dough turned out just fine! Love the addition of cherries! I've got to get to the fresh markets and grab some!

Healthy and Homemade said...

This looks amazing! I just saw that your feed hasn't been posting since May, I have a lot of catching up to do!!

Kate said...

Yum! I have the cherries just don't have the apricots...this looks so delicious...