Rustic Peach and Nectarine Crostata – Recipe

Peach and Nectarine Crostata
Peach and Nectarine Crostata

Crostata: pie without the fuss. With a pie (or tart), it can be hard to make one as pretty as the picture I have in my mind, either cooling on Grandma's window sill or on the cover of Gourmet. Crostata takes my inability to make a precise pie and makes a rustic virtue of it!

I made this particular crostata with peaches and nectarines, but you can use just about any fruit that suits your mood. But wow, baked peaches are really good.

Now let's have a word with you guys who are afraid of making pastry crusts. I've been there. We can get you through this and have you making tender, flaky crusts. Learn to make flaky crusts and dogs will like you, members of the attractive sex will wink knowingly, and leprechauns will buy you a beer. It really isn't hard, you just have to focus on a few details:

  • The butter and the water should be really, really cold
  • Only spend 1 to 2 minutes working the butter into the flour
  • I really like a pastry blender – my hands are too warm, and dirtying a whole food processor makes more work than neccessary
  • Use only enough water to get the dough to form a shaggy mass
  • Only work it just enough to form a ball
  • Refrigerate before rolling out, then let it warm back up just slightly

Our whole goal here is to get well distributed pockets of butter that will separate layers of the dough, while minimizing gluten development.

Rustic Peach and Nectarine Crostata
Vegetarian; not vegan nor gluten-free
Serves 4-6

For the dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons very cold butter cut into small cubes; if frozen you can do it carefully into slivers with a bread knife
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Using a pastry blender (my preference), or your hands, work the butter into the flour until it mostly looks like coarse oatmeal. Limit this to at most 2 minutes. It is fine if there are still some larger chunks of butter.
  2. Add two tablespoons of the ice water. Work this in with a fork for 60 seconds, then try to press a piece together with your hands. If you can form a ball, you are good. If not, add more ice cold water, a couple teaspoons at a time until you can make a big shaggy ball. You really want to err on the side of minimal water, and keep the total time for this step again to under two minutes. It is fine if there is a little bit of unincorporated flour left at the bottom. (The reason the water varies is it depends on the moisture content of both your flour and your butter.)
  3. Dust a work surface with flour and flatten the dough into a disk, about 7" in diameter. Wrap it in plastic wrap, or better yet, put it in a gallon freezer bag. Press any little cracks in the edge together – this will make it easier to roll out. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to two days.
  4. Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up a bit until slightly pliable. This could be anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on how well chilled it is. While still wrapped, give it several cathartic thwacks with your rolling pin to get a head start on rolling out. Now put it on your floured board, flour your rolling pin, and working from the center out and rotating after each push, form a circle about 13 inches or so in diameter. Roll up onto your pin and back out on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

For the tart:

  • 4 large ripe peaches and/or nectarines, cut into about 10-12 slices each (no need to peel)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (sanding sugar if you have it)
  1. Arrange the fruit in rings (or randomly) on the dough, leaving about a 1.5 inch rim around the outside. Roll the rim up around the fruit. You can do it totally rustically like you see in the picture above, or if you like, you can do a neater crimp.
  2. Brush the rim with melted butter and drizzle the rest on the fruit. Sprinkle the brown sugar on the fruit, and the white or sanding sugar on the pastry.
  3. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until the crust is nicely golden brown.
  4. Slice and serve. Probably with vanilla ice cream.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Thursday, August 20th, 2009 in Baking, Desserts, Kid Friendly, Recipes.

21 Responses to “Rustic Peach and Nectarine Crostata – Recipe”

  1. August 20, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    Like all your work, exceptional!

  2. August 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    I’ve only made one crostata in my life, but I loved how much less stressful it was than worrying about fussy pie dough and making it look perfect.

  3. August 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    With peach season just around the corner in my neck of the woods, this will be wonderful.

  4. August 21, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Looks absolutely delicious! Love it!!

  5. August 21, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Now everyone will know our secret! Those of us who are lousy crimpers make crostatas. In all fairness I told my husband before we married that my pies look rather sad. He married me based on my crostada. I fill mine with grilled veggies and cheese, but I’ve never tried peach. Will give it a go and let you know. I bet vanilla ice cream is lovely with this. Looks like a weekend project! Thanks!

  6. August 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    I adore crostatas, they are so much more forgiving than a proper pie and is just as good. The way you’ve arranged the fruit is lovely – it looks like a golden rosebud.

  7. August 22, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    I think there’s still time for me to get some peaches. This looks absolutely delicious!

  8. Jess
    August 23, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

    Looks awesome!!! Been reading your blog for a little while, loveee it! Your post on why your a vegetarian kicked ass, i totally agree!

  9. August 24, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    Michael- I made this and brought it to a potluck, it was a great hit! I didn’t have nectarines, just Maryhill peaches, it was delovely anyway. I added the innards of 1/2 of a vanilla bean to the peaches, cuz you know, that’s how I roll. But I followed everything else to the letter and it was really yummy and easy. One guest at the potluck asked if I might be able to bottle the caramelized peach juices that oozed out one corner. He said he’d pay me a million dollars for a liter of it. Thanks for making me look good!

  10. Michael Natkin
    August 24, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    Thanks Ivy! The vanilla bean sounds like a keen addition. God it is so true
    about those caramelized peach juices. You are awfully generous to let those
    get to the table, I usually snarf those up in the kitchen :).

  11. Arielle
    September 6, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    Having just gone peach picking, and absolutely loving rustic “pies,” I was really excited to try this with peaches only, and was richly rewarded. The crust was flaky, and the peach/butter/sugar combination for the filling created these pockets of sweet-tart peachy jam. Thank you so much for this recipe. It was a huge hit, and will be part of my regular not-pie repertoire.

  12. September 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    I made this for my in-laws the other night and it was divine. I used 2 nectarines & 2 peaches. My mother-in-law raved about the pastry calling it “almost there”. Here aunt used to make THE BEST pastry crusts. They would melt in your mouth! So “almost there” is really a great compliment. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it was yummy, yummy!!

  13. Michael Natkin
    September 7, 2009 at 10:07 pm #

    I definitely consider “almost there” to be a compliment in this context!

  14. c
    September 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    your pie crust recipe is now my official “pie crust to make for all flaky pie crust recipes” recipe. the crust was flaky and not too buttery but soft. and it came together so quickly!

    I do have one question. The inner part where the fruit resides had a lot of liquid left over when it finished baking. i actually had to use a baster to take some out so the thing wouldn’t fall apart. should i let the peaches sit with some sugar before i put in them in the pastry next time?

  15. Michael Natkin
    September 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm #

    Glad you like the crust ! If you are having problems with too much liquid,
    you could do as you say and macerate the peaches first to draw off some
    liquid, or pre-saute them.

  16. September 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    Great sounding recipe and easily made gluten free by subbing in a mixture of GF flours (include xanthan gum). I made one tonite and it came out great. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  17. Michael Natkin
    September 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    Thanks Ellen! I love to hear from vegan and gluten-free readers about the
    substitutions they make; I have no expertise in those areas so I think you
    are helping out other readers who may want to alter my recipes.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  18. August 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    Gorgeous fruit crostata!

  19. Abigail
    June 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    how do you print out these recipes?

  20. Michael Natkin
    June 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Hi Abigail – unfortunately, I don't have a reasonable print function on the blog. The best you can do is use the print function in your browser and limit it to the first 2 pages. I'm going to be upgrading to a new platform at some point and then print functionality is high on the list.

    Thanks,
    Michael

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  21. June
    September 18, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Thank you! I went searching for something with nectarines and peaches and your recipe popped up – hmmmmm, I pondered. I threw this together tonight. I am among those who cannot make a “pretty” pie. I may never bake a conventional pie again – the textures were gorgeous & complementary – not too sweet and it allowed the fruit to be fruit (I did grind some cinnamon over it). Am now pondering a crostata with apples, onions and raisins…

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