This week, it’s all about simplifying.
Read: the kids head back to school at the end of the week and the flurry of homework, activities, shopping, general mayhem ensues with a vengeance. Everything I (we) can do to prepare is a leg-up for smoother sailing as we enter the new school year. In my mind, I am painting half of my face the school colors and charging forth a la Braveheart.
Ah, adios summer, you’ve been good to us and we are sad to see you go.
As it was a gorgeous night last night (half-moon peeking between the clouds, little bit of cool in the air…hello fall? is that you?), we had a few friends over for a firepit. Fine, just call us pyros, we love our firepit. I wasn’t all that thrilled when one of the hot logs popped and a bit of log-schrapnel flew and bounced off my cheek (which totally mirrors my fear of taking a tray of bubbling, sputtering bacon out of the oven…I stretch my arm as loooong as I can, turn my head away and do it as quickly as I can, just waiting for one of those slices to send hot lava hurling towards me…), but all are fine and the evening was great. Popping, flying log-bits are always good for a bit of conversation.
To complement our evening, still have a dessert (uh, of course!) but keep things…simple…I whipped up a Summer Fruit Crostada. It’s my go-to-gal of desserts, since it comes out great every time, it’s EASY and you can throw just about any kind of fruit in it. Major plate-licking happens with this one. Major.
It’s like a “creative” pie…the crust is so dang delicious and the best part is that you only need remedial play-dough experience. Translation: if you have ever played with a glob of playdough (that means ALL of you), then you can make this crust. Generally, I don’t make crusts, at least not the perfectly formed, in a dish, with the edges all gorgeous and crimpy. They don’t come out the same way each time, they crusts get all wonky and I get frustrated. Forget that. Too much of an x-factor with crusts. Kids are enough of an x-factor, I don’t need more in my life. So, file that under one item I will absolutely purchase at the grocery store instead of make homemade. Fine, go ahead, have your way with me. You have found the chink in my Martha armour.
But THIS crust…there is no need to purchase a store–bought one. You end up with a “rustic” look and given it’s irregular form, it gives the wonderful illusion of coming out fabulously (and intention) every time because it’s only as good as you form it. LOVE that. These days, who wants cookie-cutter perfect anyway? Give me something that shows the love and goodness and home-madeness that the baker poured into it. Much better in my book.
So…Summer Fruit Crostada, adapted from the Apple Crostada recipe by the Barefoot Contessa, God love her.
For the pastry crust:
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 sticks chilled butter, diced
touch of ice water
For the filling:
4 nectarines or peaches (not huge)
handful of blueberries
sugar, to liking, if fruits need a bit of sweetening
lemon zest, optional
1 tps. cinnamon
1 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. butter
For the pastry, mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and toss quickly with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse about a dozen times until the butter is the size of peas and mixture looks somewhat sandy. Add about 4 Tb. of ice water and pulse to combine. Turn dough out onto well-floured board and press together into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
For the filling, cube nectarines and plums. Mix together and add blueberries, sugar and lemon zest if using.
When dough is ready to come out of fridge, roll out dough on floured surface until you have an 11″ circle. Don’t kill yourself, it’s supposed to be irregular. Place dough on baking sheet lined with parchment. Pile fruit in the middle of dough, leaving a 1.5″ border. Gently gather the surrounding dough up and slightly fold around.
Mix together cinnamon and sugar and again, cut in pieces of chilled butter. Scatter this sandy mixture over the piled fruit.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 450 or until crust is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack (use 2 big spatulas).
You will love this. Make it in the fall with apples, pears and a little orange zest. Make it with all berries. Or just all peaches. Or how about plums and blackberries. Yum, yum, super yum. It’s stupidly easy, looks great and simply delish.