Sometimes only non-pie will do, and these little crostatas are the perfect non-pie desserts to spread out along a big late summer party buffet, or to wrap individually as tiny good-bye summer food gifts to your dearest. Thanks to Molly, you can also fit them snugly into a lunchbox right about now too, and that would be some lunchbox! -Maggie
I can’t believe it’s August already. I don’t know where the summer went! But this time of year boasts the best produce at the farmer’s market, including the arrival of stone fruits. This always fills me with ambivalence.
On the one hand, I am so happy to see the beautiful, purple, pink and yellow fruits line the farmer’s market in their little teal boxes — so cheerful and full of color, it makes me happy just looking at them. However, I know this marks the end of summer, a thought that leaves my heart a little heavy.
But all the more reason to seize the day (and the season!) and make some beautiful summer crostatas. These are great because they come together in a pinch. They have all the beauty, taste and yummy qualities of a pie, but are much easier to make. No muss, no fuss!
Plums are perfect for these — sweet, juicy and a little tart. Feel free to use different varieties. There are so many at the market; I like to buy a few pints of each. It’s great to taste the slight differences between each variety, and the beautiful, varied colors lend even more interest and beauty to the tarts.
I served these at a family dinner party just last week. For those of you that like to do things ahead of time (or give pies as food gifts!), these are perfect for you. Feel free to bake off the tarts in the morning and reheat in the oven come serving time; just 5 to 10 minutes at 350ºF and they’ll be nice and warm, as if they were just fresh out of the oven. They are especially delicious with a little vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream.
Individual Plum-Frangipane Crostatas
Eat Boutique Editor’s Note: The recipe as published is for 16 crostatas – which makes one hell of a dinner party! If you’re cooking for a smaller group, or don’t want leftovers, just make the dough once and cut the filling and crostata ingredients in half, and voila! you have just one tray and 8 little pies.
Makes about 16 crostatas
For the dough (which you will need to make twice in order to make all 16 crostatas):
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces
- About 6 tablespoons ice water
For the frangipane filling:
- 1 7-ounce box almond paste (unsweetened – not marzipan)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
For the crostatas:
- 32 plums (2 per crostata)
- 1 large egg, for egg wash
- Sliced almonds, for sprinkling
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Whipped cream, for serving
- Make the dough (you’ll need to make the recipe twice to make enough dough for all 16 the crostatas). Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor to combine, then add the butter and pulse until the butter is broken up into little pieces. Add the ice water a couple of tablespoons at a time and pulse, just until the dough starts to come together and resemble wet sand. Don’t over-mix! Pour onto a work surface and shape into a disc. Then cut the disc in half and shape into two smaller discs, wrapping each in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Don’t bother cleaning out the food processor, since you need to do this a second time – simply make the recipe again.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Beat the almond paste and sugar until you have fine crumbles of almond paste. Add the butter, eggs and extracts and beat until smooth.
- Divide 1 of the 4 discs of dough into 4 pieces. Working 1 piece at a time (keeping the remaining pieces covered and in the refrigerator) roll the dough into a 1/8-inch thick round. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of frangipane onto the dough and spread out in a circle leaving the outer 2 inches uncovered.
- Cut 2 plums into 1/2-inch wedges. Pile onto the center of the tart and gently bring up the sides of the dough around the fruit. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the crostata to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you’ve used the first recipe of dough and have 8 crostatas lined up on 2 baking sheets.
- Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Lightly brush the sides of the crostatas and sprinkle with almond slices. Bake until the crust is golden and crispy and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Crostatas can be made ahead and reheated 5 to 10 minutes in a 350ºF oven before serving.
Photos taken and styled by Lauren Volo.
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