It takes about an hour to bake a full-on pie, and with the summer we've been battling in the northeast, keeping the oven on for an hour is not advisable. But I really can't go very long without pie. Especially when it's high season for so many delectable fruits. The answer? A crostata. A rustic, free-form tart that bakes in half the time and totally satisfies the pie craving. A simple pate brisee crust, fresh fruit, a touch of sugar, and whatever complementary flavor you're in the mood for.
This time, the apricots at the farmer's market were both adorable and ripe, and I had a bag of sliced almonds that I wanted to use. I always end up pairing fruit with nuts nowadays, because I pretty much want some kind of crunch in everything I eat. Or, as Beth might tell you, because I love nuts. Recipe after the jump:
APRICOT AND ALMOND CROSTATA
For the pate brisee:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) (unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
3-5 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
1 1/4 pounds fresh apricots
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
Make the crust: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix well. Add the cold cubed butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between spoons, only using as much as it takes to get the dough to come together. Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When it is fully chilled, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Make the filling: Split the apricots along the seam and remove the pits. Slice each half into 2 or 4 pieces, depending on how large your apricots are. Combine in a bowl the the sugar, salt, and almond extract and toss to coat. Set aside while you roll out your dough.
Roll your dough into a 13-inch circle and transfer onto a sheet pan. Place the apricot slices in a decorative circular pattern from the center radiating to the edges, leaving at least 1 inch of uncovered crust. Sprinkle with the almond slices. Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.