I was browsing through the July issue of Bon Appetit last weekend and a recipe for Apricot and Amaretti Crostata caught my eye. I can't even explain what it was about the recipe - I'm not a big fan of either apricots or amaretti cookies. I think it had more to do with the nature of the recipe. It just seemed like a lovely, rustic summer treat and I knew I'd be making it soon. When I found myself at the store earlier this week, I saw all of the lovely stone fruit and was reminded of the crostata. The nectarines were gorgeous and their scent heavenly so I decided to substitute them for the apricots.
As I made the crostata, I thought of the galettes I'd made last summer and wondered what the difference was between a galette and a crostata. I turned to Google to find an answer. As far as I can tell, there really isn't a difference. Galette is the French term and crostata is the Italian term for this freeform tart. Glad to have cleared that up :)
This recipe is pretty simple to put together. The crust is made in the food processor in just a minute or two. Amaretti cookies are crushed and serve as a bed for the fruit. I only had a few leftover amaretti cookies from a previous TWD recipe so I used graham crackers to make up the difference. The nectarines are tossed with brown sugar, honey, butter and cinnamon and complete the crostata. I baked mine on a baking stone, which worked perfectly.
I cut a slice of the crostata while it was still warm and threw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side instead of making the honey-sweetened whipped cream. It was dinnertime, but that didn't stop me from eating my slice and ruining my dinner! The crostata definitely lived up to my expectations. It was terrific! The nectarines were perfectly sweetened and definitely shone as the star of this dessert for me. I'm already looking forward to trying other variations with the various stone fruit available this summer!
Nectarine and Amaretti Crostata
adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2009 via Epicurious.com
For the Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons (or more) ice water
For the Filling and Cream
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds nectarines, halved, pitted, each half cut into 5 or 6 wedges
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
6 teaspoons honey, divided, plus extra for brushing fruit
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup coarsely crushed amaretti cookies
1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
To Make the Crust: Blend flour, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in processor. Add chilled butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles very coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water. Blend to moist clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap dough in plastic; chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Roll out dough on lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to 13-to 14-inch round. Slide dough, still on parchment paper, onto rimless baking sheet (or baking stone); chill 10 minutes.
To Make the Filling and Cream: Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss nectarines, brown sugar, butter, 2 teaspoons honey, and cinnamon in large bowl to coat. Spread amaretti crumbs in center of dough, leaving 2-inch plain border. Top crumbs with nectarines and juices. Fold border over edge of fruit; brush with beaten egg to glaze.
Bake crostata on parchment on baking sheet (or baking stone) for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F. Bake until crust is golden and juices bubble thickly, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk whipping cream and 4 teaspoons honey in medium bowl until peaks form. Chill until ready to serve.
Run spatula under crust to loosen from parchment. Slide crostata onto platter. Brush fruit lightly with additional honey. Serve crostata warm or at room temperature with honey-sweetened whipped cream.