I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker’s blog and decided immediately to make it. It has two of my favorite elements: fruit and pie crust. I love fruit based desserts and I love pies – so individual pies – how perfect. What I also loved about this recipe was that it used apricots. Apricots have a very short season in Israel and last year I completely missed it. I had all these plans to bake with apricots and when I finally got around to it, they were out of season. So this year I “chapped arein” as they say in Yiddish – I got moving.
One impediment, Rocker Dude doesn’t know what an apricot is. I sent him to the store and he came back empty-handed. This is not the first time that he has not bought apricots because he didn’t know what they looked like so he decided to take the initiative and find some pictures of them on google. He saw the picture and said, “Oh man! That’s what those were, I thought those were unripe peaches or something.” So lesson learned and next time he will know what to get.
I made the dough in my food processor – best tool to make pie crusts in, but when I stopped it to add the water, the dough seemed so wet already that I did not add the extra water. I think this might have been a mistake as the dough was rather brittle later when I was rolling it out.
Either way, after letting the dough rest, I divided it into 8 pieces and rolled each one out. It was here that I started to run into trouble. The dough was so brittle that when I tried to wrap it around the apricot filling, it just cracked apart, no matter how much egg wash was on it. I just kept to it and eventually finished all eight. I decided that if it didn’t turn out well after cooking I still had enough time and materials to do it all over again.
I have to say that these crostatas baked wonderfully, there was no shrinkage, and they didn’t fall apart at all. The best part was that they really showcased the apricots. The filling is simply a few slices of apricots on the dough – no flavorings or anything. It was a perfect summer dessert. I also made a caramel sauce to pour over it and it tasted delicious. Thanks Joy!
Recipe (from Joy the Baker):
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening (non-trans fat), cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
12 to 15 ripe apricots, each sliced into 6 wedges
2 eggs plus 2 Tablespoons of milk for egg wash
3/4 cup of sugar for coating crostatas.
Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing—
what you’re aiming for is to have pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, add 3 tablespoons of the water at a time.
Add a little water and pulse once; add some more water and pulse again; and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. If you’ve got big pieces of butter, that’s fine. The dough is ready and should be scraped out of the work bowl and on to a smooth work surface.
If you don’t want to bother with a food processor, this dough can easily be made with your two hands to break up the butter and shortening in the flour, and a fork to incorporate the cold water.
Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
Once the dough is chilled, remove from the fridge, cut into eight approximately even pieces. Roll each piece out into a rough circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Brush lightly with egg wash. Pile in 4-6 apricot wedges and carefully fold the dough around the fruit, using the egg wash as a glue. Once all eight of the crostatas are complete, place in the fridge to chill for an hour before baking.
While the crostatas chill, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Spread the crostatas out between the baking sheets and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle generously with sugar, both inside the crostata and on the egg washed pie dough. Don’t be shy with the sugar, but you may want to sample an apricot slice before baking to see just how sweet they are. That will help with your sugar dispensing.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the dough has puffed slightly and browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature.