peach and almond crostata
They say if you cook two recipes out of any cookbook it's a runaway success; it must really be the book for you. It's true, I cook a lot from Bill Granger's various books, and I get constant ideas from the ridiculously talented Kylie Kwong (her Simple Chinese Cooking Class), where I learn so much about texture and the vast array of ingredients I'm not yet using. Of course I like my own book, Margaret and Me. But I cook from it, too. I go to it, use it to make my crostata with whatever is in season. Last week it was rhubarb and frozen raspberries and recently it was pears. It's the pastry that's got me. I love it. It's crumbly and not too sweet, and it stays together so you can serve without great collapses, wrecked tablecloths and red cheeks. Swap ground almonds for hazelnuts, too, the nuts are there to soak up the juices and keep the pastry crisp. I love the messy, excellent, open crostata pie. What do you put in yours?
Peach and almond crostata
- 900 g (2 lb) ripe peaches or plums, cut into sixths and pitted
- 75 g (23/4 oz/ cup firmly packed) soft brown sugar
- 25 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) almond meal (ground almonds)
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- demerara sugar, to sprinkle
- whipped cream or Greek yoghurt, to serve
- 225 g (8 oz/11/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 125 g (41/2 oz) unsalted butter, chilled, diced
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) chilled water
- For the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until mixed. Add the butter and pulse to form large crumbs. Add the water, a little at a time, and pulse to form a dough (it will turn in to a ball in the food processor). Pull together on a lightly floured workspace and shape into a neat disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking tray with baking paper. In a medium bowl, toss the peaches and brown sugar together, and set aside.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a 30 cm (12 in) round and transfer to the prepared tray. Sprinkle over the almond meal, leaving a 5 cm (2 in) border around the edge. Mound the peaches and their juices over the top of the almond meal, leaving the edges untouched.
- Fold the edge of the pastry up and over the plums, leaving an open circle in the middle. Gently press the pastry where it folds on itself to help support it. Brush pastry edges with a little beaten egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Bake for 40–45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the peaches or plums tender. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes on the baking tray.
- Dollop cream or yoghurt in the middle of the tart. Serve immediately, cut into wedges.
Recipe by Kate Gibbs in her cookbook Margaret and Me, published by Murdoch Books 2015. Photography Rob Palmer. Styling by Michelle Norianto.