If you’ve seen me cooking in the kitchen at The Lodge or Sycamore House lately, you’ve probably seen me preparing crostata, or even better, tasted it. I love making this kind of rustic Italian tart. It’s a free-form crust, so it’s very forgiving on the baker. It’s also extremely versatile – sweet and savory crostatas are equally delicious. Finally, it’s a wonderful way to pair and enjoy fall fruits and vegetables.
Crostata dough is made with flour, butter, salt, lemon juice, and icy cold water. It’s a lot like pie dough. You can also add a little sugar if the filling is going to be sweet.
The easiest way to make crostata dough is with an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, combine your dry ingredients with the butter on low speed until the butter is the size of marbles. Add the water and lemon juice and mix until the dough just forms (about 30 seconds.) Turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. It will look like a shaggy mess. Shape it into a disk. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to two days or freeze for longer.
When it’s time to cook, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, roughly 12 inches wide. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes. Since vegetables and fruits contain a lot of water, it’s a good idea to cook (and cool) them before using them as a filling. Spread the crostata filling in the center of the dough, gently fold the border over the filling and pleat to make an edge. Bake until golden brown.