While, at first blush, it might sound like it belongs on a Christmas table, this sugared plum crostata is actually made for these sweltering summer months. With stone fruits making their presence known all over right now, I wanted to share some recipes that help to show them off, in all of their tangy, sweet glory. This one does that very well if I do say so myself. These freeform, rustic kinds of tarts and pies are absolutely, fully and totally my jam. Lattices and fancy shcmancy pastry designs are lovely – they’re just dandy. But I find that I almost prefer the very easy-going, lived in look of a galette or crostata any day. They just seem to say, “It’s okay, dig right in. Don’t be bashful. GO FOR IT!” At least that’s what I think they’re saying … might just be me.
Regardless, I think you’re going to love this version of a classic. I haven’t really strayed too far from tradition here but there are two things that I do think make a true difference in this version: the cornmeal in the pastry (gives it hella personality) and the AMPLE crunchy sugar that rains down over the fruit both before and after baking. Hence the name.
The tantalizing tart notes in summer stone fruits – here, red and black plums – welcome a shower of sweet sugar with open arms. That sweet, crunchy sugar plays so perfectly with the brightness of the plums (especially the red ones) that it makes for a pretty addictive treat, all told. I don’t even bother with a mixing bowl either. I just lay the sliced fruit pieces on top of the crust, piling it haphazardly as I go, and drip a little splash (or two) of vanilla and a sprinkling of sweet cinnamon over the whole thing. Some like to add butter to situations like this, and cornstarch. But at this point in the game, I find them unnecessary. These plums are fit to burst with sweet juices, and the sugar will beckon them out as everything bakes. I always eat every bite of this crostata with total contentment, and never find myself thinking, “man I really should have added that cornstarch …” So, I don’t.
Lastly, I shower the tart with a grand flourish of turbinado sugar and then bake bake bake until its edges morph into a golden ring of flaky goodness.
And then I sprinkle on some more sugar – a scant fistful truth be told – for the crunch. Because that’s where the addiction lives.
Bake the crostata for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is soft and bubbling. Sprinkle with more of the turbinado sugar – just as much as you’re comfy with. I usually do about 1 TBSP. Let it cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes or so, then cut into wedges and serve (ice cream is HIGHLY recommended here).
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