Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Italian Prune Plum Crostata

We were having guests for dinner tonight, so this afternoon I made an Italian Prune Plum Crostata. Why this recipe? The usual reasons: looks easy, sounds tasty, and all the ingredients were on hand. I had always wanted to try one of these rustic free-form pies. Today was the day I finally did it. I even dragged out the dreaded food processor. I have a love/hate thing with that machine, but it does make short work of pie crusts. In my dream kitchen there is a special drawer just for the food processor and all it's many mysterious bits and parts. There is also someone to remember how it goes together, what all those parts are for, and who will wash all of it when I'm through... But I digress. You can make this with almost any fruit: plums, peaches, apples, pears, etc. And should you have any of the Crostata left over, it makes for a lovely breakfast the next morning.

Italian Prune Plum Crostata 
Adapted from this recipe [link no longer works]

12-14 Italian prune plums
2 Tblsp sugar
1/2 recipe crostata dough
1 Tblsp brown sugar
1 Tblsp flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
  1. Wash, dry and quarter the plums, removing the pits as you go. Put the cut up plums in a bowl and toss gently with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Roll out the crostata dough on a floured surface to approx. 12-14 inches across (don't worry if it's not perfectly round, this is supposed to be rustic!). Carefully transfer the rolled out dough to the lined baking sheet. It's o.k. if the edges hang over the sides. Refrigerate pastry for 10 minutes.
  3. While the pastry is chilling, preheat the oven to 400°. Combine the brown sugar, flour, and spices together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Arrange the plums on the pastry in rows or concentric circles, cut sides up. Fit as many plums in as you can, leaving a 1 1/2-inch margin at the outer edge.
  5. Sprinkle the brown-sugar mixture over the fruit. Fold the dough up over the fruit around the outer edge. It will tuck and pleat onto itself as you go. Press the tucks down slightly.
  6. Optional: Brush the folded edge of the dough with water and sprinkle regular or decorative sugar over it.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 375°. Rotate pan and continue baking the crostata for 20 to 25 more minutes or until the pastry is golden brown on the edges.
  8. Let the crostata cool on the pan for 15 minutes. Transfer it, carefully, to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes: I made this recipe to the letter, except where I deviated from it. Seriously, I did forget to do a couple of steps (when I feel rushed, reading retention goes right out the window). The beauty of this recipe is that it really is almost foolproof. And I just proved it! I was a little dismayed that the Italian prune plums did not give up their pits very easily (aren't they supposed to be "freestone"?), but other than that, this dessert couldn't have been easier. It was crusty where it should be crusty, soft and syrupy where it should be soft and syrupy. The bottom crust stayed intact and didn't get soggy. I used a knife to cut it, but I think next time I'll use the pizza wheel instead. Hubs had seconds. It's for sure a keeper.

P.S. The first Plum Crostata I made actually looked better than the one in this photo... but I didn't get a shot of that one. Did you notice the clean plum pits arranged in the foreground of this photo? Yep. Those babies practically fell out of the plums like that! That's more like it! What was up with those other ones? Argh!
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  1. Your prune plum crostata is wonderful. I'm going to make it for the second time tonight. Thank you for the great recipe.

    1. I'm so glad you like it! I only wish I could get some prune plums right now... I'll just have to be happy with an apple crostata! :)

  2. This is the closest recipe to my Grandma Cemene' Easter Crostata. Wonderful! Thank you ;)

    1. Thanks MLW! Nothing beats a Grandma's baked treats! What's in an Easter Crostata? I'm intrigued!


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