Monday, June 9, 2014

Berry Rhubarb Crostata

Rhubarb!! No peeling, no pitting, no seeds – just slice and dice beautiful ruby red stalks into sweet & tart gems, perfect for springtime baking. Don’t delay – they’ll be gone soon! (I think I could have been a great marketer. Yeah, like maybe in the 50s.)
Before rhubarb is out of season, I wanted to make this crostata (or galette; basically the same thing) that I saw Joanne Chang (of Flour Bakery + Café in Boston, and author of Flour and Flour,Too) demonstrate on an episode of the cooking show called “Simply Ming.” The focus was “Cooking on the Fly – Working with Butter.” She mounds up the pastry dough just shy of it all coming together, while the butter is still in small chunks, and pushes sections of it flat with her hands. The butter gets streaked into the dough in a free-form way, unlike the symmetry and precision of puff pastry. But you still get the butter to make some random layers, and then it steams and creates flakiness while it bakes. The end product out of the oven is gorgeous, but it’s really simple and quick. (The link to her recipe is posted below.)

Make a few disks of dough while you’re at it and throw some in the freezer.  That way, you’ll have pastry palettes ready for all that fresh summer fruit from your local farmer’s market. Create a Jackson Pollack of fruit – throw whatever your heart fancies at it. The possibilities are endless. In the savory department, I think asparagus, mushrooms and a local cheese would be delectable. You’ll love the versatility of this dough. Not only does it mix up quickly, it’s also very easy to roll out once chilled. I like to roll it out on the parchment paper I’ll use to bake it on. Then the whole shebang gets transferred right to the baking sheet.

I used strawberries instead of raspberries this go round. My pint ‘o raspberries had been nibbled up more than I knew.  I’ve made this once before – just as good with either berry.

Brought it to my sister’s house this past weekend. She said the top of the crust reminded her of a croissant. Awwww yeah!!

I was at my sister’s place with my mom to meet my sister’s family’s new puppy, and to watch one of my nephews play soccer. Ridiculous levels of cuteness on both accounts. And Gooooooooaaaaaaallllll!!!!!
Here’s the link: Joanne Chang's Raspberry-Rhubarb Crostada 
Happy baking!

You can see the chunks of butter in the dough after it's chilled and ready to rock & roll.
It calls for two stalks, but I used three. That's what I had, so why not? It's like making pie -
a little more or less fruit and/or sugar to taste isn't going to break it. 
It's totally possible you won't need as much sugar as is called for in the recipe.
Depends on how naturally sweet your fruit is already, and your personal taste.

Take your time when folding the edges up over the fruit. I think more folds than less looks prettier.
Also, you can use the egg wash to help secure the dough on top to the dough in the fold underneath. 
Wait for your crostata to bake, preferably in a relaxed position in the sun.

It should bake to a hearty golden crisp. Mine didn't take quite as long as what's called for in the recipe.
I couldn't help myself and spooned out a heap of the bubbling fruit from the center.
Almost burned my's hard to be patient when it just smells so darn good. 

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