I had planned on making this recipe with blackberries, but we had the last crop of raspberries to use up so I substituted these instead (hoping that we’ve got a slightly longer window of time on the blackberries to make some more varieties). Either berry would work deliciously however, so use whichever you prefer.
It’s a beautifully simple dessert of pastry and fruit, and I use a very little amount of cornflour mixed in with the fruit to help soak up the juices and prevent the pastry getting too soggy. This would also work well with some frangipane, but I love the simplicity of fruit, shortcrust pastry and glaze for a prettily rustic late summer dessert. The fig tree in our yard continues to produce an abundance of figs in it’s sheltered and sunny corner, so I combined these in with the raspberries to counteract their slightly tart taste.
Serve warm, with a dollop of natural yoghurt or ice cream, depending on your mood.
FOR THE PASTRY
Cut your butter into small cubes of roughly 1cm using two knives to avoid touching it with your hands, and place it in a large mixing bowl.
Sift your flour, salt and icing sugar from a height into the bowl, to get the air into the ingredients. The maize grits / polenta is too coarse to sift so just mix this in. Gently rub the butter into the flours using your fingertips. A light touch here is important; lift up the flour as you do this and let it fall back into the bowl to create a lighter texture for the mix. You should end up with a breadcrumb-type consistency – don’t overwork it.
Mix your egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of cold water, and sprinkle it evenly over the mixture. Use a blunt kitchen knife or palette knife to incorporate it as quickly as possible and bring the dough together. If you need more water add it gradually and sparingly – you only need enough water to bind the dough. If your ingredients look dry then add some more water, but stop before it becomes wet and tacky; you want to end up with a soft dough.
Shape your dough into a disc and wrap it in cling film. Rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 190°C.
Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out the pastry to 2-3mm thick in a large circle, to allow for a 26cm base plus 7cm border (approximate). The border will form the edges of the crostata.
FOR THE FILLING
Transfer your pastry carefully using a rolling pin onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Gently mix the cornflour, fruit, sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Arrange the filling in the centre of the pastry base, leaving 7cm for the border. Fold up the borders to form a rim encasing the fruit, and lightly brush with egg wash.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. It’s a balance between ensuring the pastry base is cooked but that the fruit is not overdone, or it will begin to dry out.
FOR THE GLAZE
While your crostata is cooking, make your glaze. Melt your redcurrant jelly and water together in a small saucepan over a low heat. Once the crostata is cooked, remove it from the oven. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the fruit with the redcurrant glaze. Leave it to settle for five minutes or so, and then serve warm with natural yoghurt, cream or ice cream. This tart should be eaten on the day of making.