Crostatas, or free-form tarts, are a good way to use plentiful summer fruit like blueberries and raspberries, and fall apples and pears. They make a great dessert, but are just as delicious in the morning with coffee or as an afternoon snack. This same tart dough can be used for any fruit filling – whatever is in season will be best. Blueberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, apples, strawberries and rhubarb, pears – I even use ricotta to make an any-season ricotta tart. The possibilities are endless.
This tart dough recipe is from Cucina Simpatica, a cookbook by Johanne Killeen and George Germon from Al Forno restaurant in Providence, RI (known for their incredible grilled pizza). The dough in this recipe is made in a food processor, but I make the dough in a stand mixer, with great results.
Food Processor Tart Dough from Cucina Simpatica
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup ice water
1. This recipe works best with very cold butter. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Since butter softens rapidly with handling, return the cubes to the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes while you set up the food processor and gather the dry ingredients.
2. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine.
3. Add the butter, tossing quickly with your fingers to coat each cube with flour, taking care not to touch the blade. This prevents the butter cubes from adhering together and helps them to break apart and combine more evenly with the flour.
4. Pulse 15 times, or until the butter particles are the size of small peas.
5. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Process for about 10 seconds, stopping the machine before the dough becomes a solid mass.
6. Turn the contents of the bowl onto a sheet of aluminum foil, pressing any loose particles into the mass of dough. Roughly form the dough into a 7-inch disk.
7. Cover the dough completely with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough may be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks (see note)
Makes 18 to 20 ounces of dough, or enough for one large tart, two 9-inch shells, or four little tarts for 2
Note: This tart dough freezes well for up to 2 weeks. It is one of the few things I keep in my freezer at home, for unexpected gatherings or last-minute desserts. For convenience, wrap the dough in the portion size you are most likely to use. If it is frozen, defrost the dough, wrapped, on your counter for 30 to 45 minutes or until it is still quite cold but pliable.