I used to not be a fan of fruit desserts because I felt that fruit should be enjoyed raw in its natural state. But I was clearly missing the picture. Fruit desserts are a perfect example of when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This strawberry crostata is my favorite way to eat strawberries (other than raw, of course). The roasted berries have a delicate floral accent that comes from the addition of rose water. This is entirely optional, as I’ve made this dessert without it and loved it just as much. Also, I’ve made the crust with half whole wheat flour with satisfactory results.
Makes 1 small 6" crostata
- 1/2 cup unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 1/2 cups sliced ripe strawberries
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 2 teaspoons unbleached flour
- 4 teaspoons sugar, plus extra for topping
- splash of milk for brushing on the crust
- First, make the crust: In a medium bowl, stir together lightly the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and blend with a pastry cutter or two knives. Once the butter is smaller than peas, add the vinegar and cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time until a moist dough forms. It should clump together when squeezed in your hand but not be overly wet. Form the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, then wrap in plastic before storing in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir the sliced strawberries, rose water, flour and sugar together in a bowl. Let sit while you roll out the dough. Preheat the oven to 375°.
- To roll out the dough, place a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Gradually roll out the dough to a 9” circle, taking your time to turn the dough a quarter turn each time after rolling in one direction. Transfer the parchment paper and dough directly onto a baking sheet. Mound the strawberries in the center of the dough, leaving a 2” border. Fold up the edges of the dough onto the strawberries. Make sure you do not have too many areas for the strawberry juices to escape, although some will inevitably. Brush the dough with milk, then sprinkle extra sugar over top. Bake for 40 minutes. I find the crust is the flakiest if it is served at room temperature.