Crostatas are easy, delicious and beautiful!
I really, really love pies but don’t make them as often as I should now that there’s just two of us to eat them. Lamenting the absence of pie in my life inspired me to come up with a solution, and it’s a delicious one. This mini pie recipe is so quick to make and while some may consider it the perfect portion for one, I find it so satisfying that half the tart is the ideal serving for me. Italians call this style of pie or tart ‘crostata’ meaning rustic, open fruit tart and it’s a very versatile pie. Of course you can double or even triple the recipe should you wish to make a larger free-form tart; you may need to slightly increase the cooking time if you do. If sweet and savory’s how you like your pies, you might also enjoy this peach-ricotta-arugula freeform tart recipe.
- 1/2 cup (67 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (35 g) very cold butter
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cold water (plus a splash more if your dough feels dry)
- 1/2 cup (65 g) finely chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup (83 g) sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (2.5 g) cornstarch
- A pinch of kosher salt
- Few drops fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) milk or one beaten egg yolk
- Few pinches granulated or sanding sugar
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving
- To make the pastry, whisk together flour and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Grate in the very cold butter then toss with your fingers or a fork so all butter shards are coated with the flour mixture.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add cold water. Stir with a fork to draw the mixture together in a shaggy dough. Test dough for dryness with your hands and add a few more drops of liquid at a time as needed so all the dry ingredients are moistened but not soggy.
- Turn the shaggy dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap placed on your work surface. Use your hands to bring the mixture together into a small disk about 1/2 inch or 1.25 cm thick. Wrap then place in freezer for 15 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to assemble the tart, preheat oven to 425F. Gently combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, salt and a few drops of lemon juice in a small bowl.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle it very lightly with flour. Place the chilled disc of pastry on top and lightly flour the top of the pastry.
- Place a second sheet of parchment on top then roll the pastry into a 7 or 8-inch (17.5 – 20 cm) circle just thicker than 1/4 inch (6 cm). Leave the edges of the dough ragged if you want a more rustic tart, or trim them slightly with a sharp knife if you prefer.
- Remove top sheet of parchment paper and spoon fruit and any liquid from the bowl into the centre of the crust, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) border empty all the way around. Fold the border up over the fruit in the centre, pleating it gently as you go; there will be an open space in the centre where the fruit is visible.
- Brush the pastry with the milk or beaten egg yolk and sprinkle lightly with a little sugar.
- Lift the parchment paper up to transfer the prepared tart to a small baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce heat to 400F. Bake for 23-25 minutes until pastry is golden-coloured and fruit filling is softened and bubbling.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, as is or with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.
Makes 1 small pie suitable for 1 – 2 servings.