Every summer I get anxious for peaches to come in season. They’re one of my favorite fruits, but I’m a bit picky about when I purchase/eat them. There seems to be about a 4 to 5 week period where the local peaches are just *perfect*. Fragrant, firm yet supple flesh, sweet, juicy to the point of messiness… Uh…peaches. I’m talking about peaches. I swear.
Anyway. I’ve been all about baking with peaches this summer and experimenting with new flavors/spices. I attempted a peach/bourbon cupcake for a friend’s birthday party last month, but the peaches I had were just not that great, and the flavor just did not come through. I honestly think peaches and cake don’t mesh very well, unless the peach is in big slices throughout. Peach pie/pastry works much better for this very reason. The beautiful flavor/texture of the fruit takes center stage, while the pastry is more of a vehicle for peach enjoyment. A flaky, buttery Vespa, if you will.
In an email conversation with my mother a month or so ago, she mentioned making a peach/blackberry pie for my dad with some frozen peaches she had from last summer, and I was immediately jealous and plotting my own peach/blackberry deliciousness when peach season came around this year. This is what I came up with.
I really like the more rustic quality of the crostata (or tart, or free-form pie, whatever you’d like to call it). I think it’s got more personality and is, in its own way, prettier than a traditional pie. Also I can’t crimp a pie crust to save my damn life. This is easier and much less time-consuming. Including time for crust making/resting in the refrigerator, I literally had this made and in my mouth within an hour (hour and fifteen, tops). The wait nearly killed me.
Peach & Blackberry Crostata with Honey Ginger Glaze and Cardamom-Spiced Whipped Cream
For the Crostata:
- 1 pastry/pie crust, store bought, or any recipe you prefer. I used Martha’s, but I might bulk it up a bit next time, the bottom ended up a little thin.
- 4-6 ripe peaches
- 1 cup blackberries
- 2 TB sugar
- 2 TB flour
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- pinch salt
- 1 egg – beaten with a small amount of water (for egg wash)
- 1-2 TB turbinado sugar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel, pit, and slice peaches. Toss with blackberries, sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle counter liberally with flour/coat rolling pin. Roll out pastry on counter until it’s about 12-14 inches across and slide onto baking sheet. Pile peach/blackberry mixture onto dough, leaving a 1-2″ border outside. Fold dough up around the sides of the fruit mixture. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is browned and fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3-4 slices of fresh ginger
And the whipped cream:
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
While the crostata is baking, heat honey and ginger in a small sauce pot over medium heat until honey is thinned out slightly and infused with ginger. Remove from heat, allow to cool and thicken slightly. Remove sliced ginger. Drizzle honey over warm crostata. Whip cream in electric stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer (or hell, just by hand), drizzling in sugar as it whips until soft peaks form. Stir in ground cardamom. Top still warm crostata with whipped cream and serve. Serves 4-6 people.
Go forth and bake, Peaches.