As the trees start to bear the first fruits of late spring, Italians plan trips to the countryside to spot trees in the wild and pick as much fruit as they can. Small country roads are lined with cherry trees, and a slightly more adventurous trip in the wild might reward you with a small basket of plums or apricots. As summer turns the wheat fields golden, people in their homes transform foraged fruits into sweets—the most popular of them being the crostata. This relative of galettes and French tarts distinguishes itself with a soft, crumbly texture. Don’t worry, though: It will hold together perfectly in your picnic baskets.
This same recipe works with every kind of stone fruit, as well as with apples and pears. Change the flavor of the jam to create whatever combination you like best.
APRICOT ALMOND CROSTATA
1 ¼ (scant) cup spelt flour
¼ (scant) cup almond flour
7 oz. spelt flour
2 oz. almond flour
1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
Grated zest of 1 lemon
A splash of milk (you might not need it)
7 oz apricots
7 oz apricot jam
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp rum or frangipane liquor
01. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Add all the ingredients for the crust to a food processor and process until well mixed. Take the dough out and knead it very briefly to make sure all the ingredients are well combined. The dough will be quite soft. If you have a hard time incorporating all the flour, add a splash of milk (although you probably won’t need it).
02. Get a pie mold ready. Grease and flour it well. You can also use a flat, round vessel and line it with baking paper. Flatten the dough out onto your baking vessel in an even layer, making the edges a bit taller. Reserve a small part of the dough for decoration.
03. Cut the apricots into small pieces and add them to a pan along with the liquor, lemon juice, jam and a splash of water. Cook this mixture until combined and thickened, about five minutes. Spread the mixture on the dough in an even layer, leaving about ½-inch space around the edges. Sprinkle with the almonds.
04. Use your leftover dough to make strips. You can either flatten out the dough on a piece of parchment paper and cut the strips with a pasta wheel, or you can roll them out by hand. Arrange them in a crisscross pattern on top.
05. Bake the crostata for about 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown on top. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. You can either slice it in wedges or cut it into cubes for easier packing.