In Italy, crostata is one of the simplest desserts. The Italian short dough “Pasta Frolla” is the key ingredient to make this dessert. Frolla is a dough that will produce a good crusty shell for this free-form rustic pie. Crostatas are filled with fresh fruits or flavorful jams. The edges are folded over leaving a large opening in the center.
½ cup sugar
1 stick very cold butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup ice water
1 tablespoon vodka
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
1 cup fruit filling
Fresh or frozen peaches halved, pitted and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of flour
½ cup toasted pecan halves (optional)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a food processor (the quickest and best tool for making a pie dough), pulse flour with the granulated sugar and salt until blended. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Add the water combined with vodka and pulse until the dough is evenly moistened. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Cover the disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling it out.
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium mixing bowl, toss peaches, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of flour. On a lightly floured work surface, place dough from refrigerator and roll it out to a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a baking mat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Pile the peaches with their juices in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the peaches. Brush the dough with the cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the peaches are bubbling. Let cool before serving.
After trying the dough made with regular flour and also made with whole wheat flour, my family agrees that the wheat flour is much better suited to this recipe. It added a nutty flavor that blended well with the tartness of the peaches.