This apricot crostata is delicious way to use the season’s freshest apricots. It has a touch of ginger, and a crumble topping that is not too sweet. It’s perfect served warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Every time we visit my mom, 86, who, until a few years ago worked 40 hours a week as a psychologist, she always has some kind of baking project planned for my daughters.
This is good, because I do not love to bake. So I watch, chat, and enjoy the interplay between the generations. My mom has given my daughter, Sophie, the love of baking as well. (This post was originally published on June 18th, 2012 and has been updated to contain nutritional information. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)
I watch mom with my girls and listen to stories of how her grandmother taught her to cook, and see them use grandmother’s rolling pin, which still works beautifully, 120 years later. It reminds that what we eat, and whether or not we become “cooks”, is inherited. If you do not have parents who love to cook or eat, chances are you won’t either.
When we cook and bake, we talk, and sometimes my head races forward to what it would be like when I have grandchildren. What skills will I give them? What would they learn to love? Smoked oysters out of the tin, like my dad passed to me? And as I, did to my kids? Or will I become “Grandma Soup”, named by my yet unborn grandchildren, because I will teach him/her/them to make beautiful, and easy soups? This is mom’s recipe for an apricot crostata.
What is a crostata?
A crostata is an open-face fruit tart, typically filled with lots of ripe stone fruit. This crostata recipe uses fresh apricots and a touch of ginger. The crust is tender, flaky, and buttery, as any good pastry should be. While you can certainly use a store-bought pie dough to cut corners and save time, I always use 1/2 of this recipe for One Minute Pie Dough and add just a teaspoon or two of sugar to the recipe. The best part of a crostata is that it’s free-form pie. It’s rustic look means it doesn’t have to be perfect, as there is pie plate or crimping involved.
How do you make a crostata
My mom loves to bake, and now, so does Sophie. She goes to “Baking School” every time she is with my mom. Whether they roll out dough together, or whether my mom shares her secrets and techniques about how to bake, Sophie is learning. Children learn by watching, by doing and by experiencing, whether we consciously know it or not. So I wonder, what have I taught, what have my children learned, and what have I yet to teach? Here’s another of mom’s recipe for vintage Strawberry Pie.
A Crostata is not difficult. In fact, if you don’t feel comfortable with your pie making skills, a crostata is a good place to start. This is an easy recipe for apricot crostata, with a free-form crust. Any stone fruit similar to apricots can be substituted, such as plums, peaches, or nectarines, but fresh berries can also be used. While the whole crostata takes less than an hour to make, if you’re using homemade pie dough, you’ll need to chill at least 30 minutes ahead of time and up to the day before.
First you’ll want to cut the fruit into large bite-sized pieces. A little sugar, cornstarch and any spices are added, and the fruit is allowed to macerate while the pie dough is finished. I love this Mason Cash bowl for mixing.
Roll the pie dough into a circle about 12″ in diameter. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly 12″ or if the edges are perfect.. If you want, you can lightly scratch another, smaller circle in the center as a guide for where to place the fruit. Place it on a parchment lined baking pan. Pile all the fruit into the center of the pie dough.
Gather the edges of the pie dough and wrap it around the fruit, folding and crimping.
Add the crumble topping.
Bake until crostata is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Allow to cool before serving.
Can a crostata be frozen?
Once the crostata has been assembled it can be frozen. Wrap it well with plastic wrap and then again with foil. When ready to bake, allow the crostata to defrost for several hours in the fridge. If very cold, it may need a few extra minutes in the oven. It’s best if baked within three months.
Prepare the fruit filling
- Wash, pit and cut fruit into large chunks.
- Toss fruit with sugar, ginger, salt and cornstarch, and allow to sit while preparing crumble topping.
- Pulse all ingredients for crumble topping in a food processor until it resembles fine meal. Set aside.
Assembling the Crostata
- Preheat oven to 450* F.
- Roll out dough into a 12" circle. If desired, make a second circle inside the first about 8" in diameter and lightly score it with a knife for a rough guide.
- Place pie dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Heap fruit in the smaller circle in the center. Fold edges in, pleating to make a "pie bowl".
- Top with the crumble mixture.
- Bake at 450* F. for 20-25 minutes or until crostata is golden brown.
- Serve warm with ice cream.
- Remember to make the pie dough 30 minutes up to a day ahead of time.
- Any stone fruit such as plums or nectarines can be substituted for the apricots.
- If the fruit is very ripe, it will give off more juice during baking. If the fruit is less ripe, it will give off less juice and therefore require a bit less cornstarch. You can add a teaspoon or two extra cornstarch if necessary.