While strawberries and rhubarb haven’t started showing up at the green market yet, they were being prominently displayed at Wholefoods today so I went ahead and bought some. To my surprise, the strawberries where incredibly sweet and flavorful and I had to stop myself from eating all of them so I could make this crostata.
This is one of my favourite ways of preparing fruit from all seasons. It’s so simple to prepare and really allows the fruit to shine. The addition of a spice or two adds a bit of character without covering up anything. If I’m using apples I’ll add some nutmeg and cinnamon, for blackberries I might add a smidge of lemon zest. But for strawberries, I’m enamored with the the fresh floral aroma of lavender.
As I was making the dough, I accidentally added twice the water I was supposed. Rather than throw it out, I just added some baking powder, and rolled it in crystallized sugar and turned them into lavender “cookies”. I wasn’t sure what would come out of the oven, but they turned out to be somewhere between a biscuit and a cookie. I think they’d actually be quite good with some chopped up fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
1 C flour
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp dried lavender
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C very cold butter (1 stick)
2 Tbs ice cold water
1 C rhubarb chopped
2 C strawberries cored and quartered
1/4 C demerara or other unrefined sugar
I usually put a stick of butter and the water in the freezer about 10 minutes before I start to get them nice and cold. This helps prevent the formation of gluten, which would make your dough more chewy than flaky.
Put the flour, sugar lavender and salt in the work-bowl of a food processor and run until the lavender is well incorporated into the flour. Cut up the cold butter into 1/4″ cubes and drop them into the flour making sure they’re not stuck together. Give it 12-17 quick pulses until the flour and butter form pea sized pebbles.
Add the cold water and run the food processor until the dough just barely starts to come together (should still be crumbly). Dump it out onto a floured work-surface.
Quickly shape it together then using the palm of your hand, press the dough away from you, fold it back over then press it out again. Fold it back over then press it out one last time (for a total of 3 times). Form the dough into a puck, wrap with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the fruit and sugar in a bowl.
When the dough is nice and cold, take it out of the freezer and roll it out into a disk that’s about 1/8″ thick. Gently roll it onto your rolling pin and transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet. Dump the fruit in the middle and carefully fold the edges over the fruit. It doesn’t have to look perfect (it’s a rustic pie), but try not to have any cracks or holes towards the bottom of the crust, or the juices from the fruit will run out as it cooks.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let it cool down for a bit and serve warm with vanilla gelato.