Here's a summery dessert that takes advantage of seasonal fruit, wherever you're at. We found perfectly tiny apricots at the market last week and just had to show them off.
We liked the hearty base of this crostata; unlike the usual pie crust base, we used a biscuit crust that gets deeply golden on top and tender in the middle. The whole thing is not very sweet at all; we even played up the tartness of the apricots with an orange juice syrup and compensated by serving with a very rich and creamy burnt caramel ice cream.
If apricots aren't appearing near you, almost any fruit would do. What would you use?
Apricot and Biscuit Crostata
makes a 12" round tart
2 pounds apricots, pitted and sliced 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste) 3 tablespoons rum or brandy 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks 2 cups flour 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1 egg 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup orange juice Powdered sugar, to garnish
Mix the fruit, sugar and brandy and let it macerate all night in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with a 12" square of baking parchment. Spray it with cooking spray or grease and flour.
In a food processor blend the cold butter with the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices. Blend in short bursts just until the butter is in pea-sized lumps. Whisk the egg with the buttermilk and combine with the dry ingredients and butter just until it comes together in a soft dough. You may need to add a little more flour to get it into a smooth ball.
Pat out into a thick circle on the prepared pan. Drain the apricots and reserve the juice. Spread the fruit evenly on top of the dough. Draw the edges of the dough up over the fruit. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the biscuit is baked through and golden on top, and the fruit is soft.
Meanwhile, simmer the reserved juice and the orange juice until reduced by two-thirds. When the crostata comes out of the oven, brush this syrup over top. Let cool slightly, then sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar and serve.