Also known as: “The Lazy Woman’s Dessert.” No, but seriously. It’s an amazingly easy thing to make. It’s a pie without being a pie. A pie without the fancy fuss of a pie. A tart without being too perfect. You don’t even have to make a pie crust look pretty for this.
Also… literally, I had no clever puns for the title of this post. But this crostata doesn’t really need one, it speaks for itself. Fresh, juicy peaches, chopped black walnuts, a little Blanton’s bourbon with sugar & a rough-edged pie crust come together to make a heavenly dessert.
As a matter of fact… I don’t even have a recipe, really.
There was no way I was going to post this at all, actually. I made it because I received another large box of peaches & nectarines right after canning up all the rest of those gorgeous Washington State peaches. So I figured before I got into more canning, I’d bake something up. I threw it together in no time at all, totally winging it. Listen- I follow recipes for things all the time. I put up jar after jar of jams, fruit & pickles & I follow cake recipes; 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon this, 1 cup that. Sometimes I like to just go wild & crazy & throw some things together to see if it’ll work out. And it just so happens it usually does, and this time it was pretty enough visually. Anyway, I took some photos (because I take photos of everything I make- true story), and posted a little picture on Facebook & Instagram.
All of a sudden… I had a ton of requests for the recipe. Really?
Okay. Except there isn’t one.
All I did was wash, peel & thinly slice two & a half large peaches. That’s all it took because these peaches were HUGE; the Washington State Stone Fruit Commission does not play around. If you’ve got smaller peaches, you’ll need more of them. Anyway, then I put them in a bowl with a few tablespoons of bourbon & a quarter-to-a-half cup sugar. I tossed it together & let them sit while I rolled out my pie crust. I happened to have some in my fridge ready to roll, so it wasn’t a very long time. If you aren’t the kind of person who has pie crust hanging out in your fridge, then you’re gonna have to make one, so don’t slice those peaches just yet. Once the dough was rolled out to a circle, roughly 9″-10″ wide, I placed it on a baking sheet covered with some parchment, and I arranged the peaches on it in a pretty pattern: first laid out in one direction, then another layer in the opposite direction, then a few bits in the middle. That part isn’t really necessary, you can toss ’em in there any ol’ way or just pile them up in the middle. Just be sure to leave 2″ or more of the crust on the edges so you can fold it over.
Then I spooned the remaining bourbon/sugar/juice over them. I sprinkled it with some chopped black walnuts, folded over the edges of the crust & brushed the whole crust with some beaten egg.
Then it went into the oven (425° F) for as long as it took to get golden.
Remove, and serve room either warm or room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or without, with fresh whipped cream or without (perhaps bourbon whipped cream?). I dusted some confectioner’s sugar on it first; I like how it sticks to the walnuts & the dough yet it melts into the peaches.
You can call it a crostata, a galette, a “rustic pie”, open fruit tart, whatever.
A crostata is an Italian baked tart and a form of pie. It has been known by various names throughout Italy, including coppi in Naples and sfogliate in Lombardy. Historically, it also referred to an “open-faced sandwich or canapé” because of its crusted appearance, or also a chewet, a type of meat pie. The earliest known use of crostata in its modern sense can be traced to the cookbooks Libro de Arte Coquinaria (Art of Cooking) by Martino da Como, published circa 1465, and Cuoco napolitano (Neapolitan recipes), published in the late 1400s containing a recipe (number 94) titled Crostata de Caso, Pane, etc..
Use any pie crust or tart dough recipe that you want. If you’ve got a lot of fruit, use a full (double) pie crust recipe & make two! It doesn’t matter if it’s uneven or lumpy or torn. Buy a store-bought one if you want. Use any brand of bourbon you want. Use peaches, white peaches, nectarines, plums, Pluots, etc. Any berry, stone fruit or combination of the two works in this. Use up some peaches & nectarines & throw in a handful of blueberries if you have ’em. You don’t have to peel them either, you can toss them in with the skin on. In the fall, use apples, pears & add some cinnamon. Omit the bourbon altogether & substitute it with 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, or substitute another liquor: brandy, whiskey, rum, vodka, etc.
I chose black walnuts because they’re not like your average walnut. They have a thicker taste, almost smoky, bitter & kinda floral-y… to me, anyway. They’re earthy. They’re stronger tasting than regular walnuts & I thought the taste would compliment this crostata perfectly. Don’t go overboard with them, though, or else they’ll overpower all the other flavors. Also- they’re not for everybody. They’re like cilantro in that some people really just do not like them, so try them first. Otherwise, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans or regular walnuts can be used, or you can use none at all. You could toss in raisins if you’re using apples, too.
I told you. It’s really easy & customizable.
But if you want even easier? Try this. Don’t say I never gave you anything.