Croswhata? It’s Italian for easiest pie ever. A crostata is a free-form, rustic pie. Simply place the filling in the middle of the rolled out dough and wrap the dough around the filling to form the crust. It’s that simple. As such things go when cooking simple, “no-fail” recipes, there’s ample opportunity to fail. But even in failure, a crostata tastes mighty fine, and if anybody questions the look of your pie simply reply, “it’s rustic.”
“Rustic” is a lovely word in the cooking world. It allows you to serve a lopsided, filling exploded pie without any sense of shame. A crostata gives you an excuse to not achieve perfection, to not be fiddly with the crust, to be okay if some of the filling drips out. The perfectly imperfect crostata sums up my world at the moment, and it’s a lovely place to be – quiet kids, hot (!) coffee, “Volare” playing from my Italian Cooking Radio station on Pandora, and pie for breakfast. It’s all lovely until I have to wade through a pile of blocks, books, shoes, games, and countless other obstacles on my way to the kitchen. Thing is, the room was clean an hour ago and then the kids had their way with it and twenty minutes later it’s a hazard zone. Instead of reveling in the futility of life with kids, I’m closing my eyes and reveling in some pie with a side of hot coffee.
The crostata filling is made with the lovely pluot – a hybrid of a plum and an apricot– but any stone fruit works well: apricot, peaches, plumcot, plum, yum. The fruit you choose may need more or less sugar depending on ripeness and type.
I have a mild obsession with almond paste. Turns out it’s easy to make, so I predict an abundance of almond paste in my future. I’ve never made an almond paste before and found an easy recipe online. It makes twice as much as you need for the crostata, but too much almond paste is never a problem in my world.
I topped the filling with an almond crumble to add some texture and more almond flavor, and it’s a lovely addition. But bear in mind you can keep things simple and stick to the plum/pluot filling without the almond paste or crumble and it will still be delicious.