Friday, June 28, 2013

The Hungry Dog gets a summer

While I remain largely afraid of pie crust, I've developed a certain level of comfort with the free-form tart, whose beauty lies in its rustic appearance. "Rustic" is also sometimes used as a synonym (in my house) for "patchy," ""shaggy," or "sloppy," but that's a little bit the point, isn't it?

Whenever I tell the husband I'm going to make a crostata, I'm guaranteed an enthusiastic response.  I think it might be his favorite type of dessert, although he's rather fond of crisps and crumbles, and I'm fairly sure nothing can beat a really good chocolate chip cookie. But in the moment--and that's all there is when it comes to dessert--the crostata (or galette, if you're feeling Frenchie) reigns supreme.

Speaking of French...we'll be headed to Paris this fall, the sequel to our 2011 trip in which we wondered what the hell we'd been doing all our lives, lollygagging around the US of A while a place like Paris existed. I mean, come ON. Paris is the best place on earth--with the possible exception of Kauai.

Anyway, we're heading to Paris, where we will once again unleash some abominable French on unsuspecting locals while eating as much bread and cheese as is acceptable without being asked to leave. Oh, there might be some wine, too. We're also looking forward to returning to some of those lovely museums we enjoyed. But mostly, we plan to settle into our Marais apartment for 10 days and pretend to be Parisians.

Anyway, I digress. The purpose of this post is to share the crust recipe from which this fabled crostata earns its stellar reputation. Don't judge...but it's a Giada recipe. It would be much cooler if it were Dorie Greenspan's or Julia Child's, but what can I say: I've probably made this dough 30 times and it works like a charm every time. As for the filling, I just use whatever I have. All you have to do is add as much sugar as you want, maybe a squeeze of lemon, a dash of cinnamon or cardamom if you're feeling froggy, and you're golden.

Not long ago, I made the strawberry and blueberry tart in the photo above. That was popular, and it might be a nice idea for your 4th of July. More recently, I made it with apricots and raspberries.

This, too, received excellent reviews. I actually preferred it to the mixed berry version, but I'm partial to desserts that are a little on the tart side...especially when there's vanilla ice cream involved.

I expect lots of y'all are having some hot weather and for a change, so are we.  Last night we sat outside for dinner without jackets on! If you don't live in San Francisco, you may not understand how weird and rare this is.  (As a point of reference, earlier this week we were running the heat.) It's even projected to be hot through the weekend, which means people will put on shorts, get in the water at Crissy Field, and sunbathe in questionably appropriate swimwear at Dolores Park.

So, happy summer and happy 4th of July. I have to say, given some of the Supreme Court's decisions recently (though not all), I'm feeling moderately patriotic these days. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't move to France in a heartbeat.


  1. You made me laugh, comparing Paris and Kauai. Think your trip in the fall sounds exciting, can't wait for some posts about it. Eat some poilane bread for me every day! (Although I wouldn't move there...taxes.)
    I'm with you on the rustic tarts. While I can, with great effort, put together a crust, I'd much rather deal with pies in a rustic way, you can get away with so much more! Any fruit will do...but ice cream on top, please.

  2. Can't wait for your postings from France. Like you, I'd happily move there. And thanks for the crust tip. I will give it a whirl next time.

  3. Barbara: Yes, Poilane is at the top of my list--we didn't make it there last time.

    Zoom: Let me know if you give it a go.

  4. yes, the term 'rustic' covers a multitude of sins. :) these are lovely!

  5. These kind of displays of berries and any type of crust rocks my world. These are things I enjoy eating right over the kitchen sink.

    Cheers to another fabulous time in Paris.


  6. grace: Thank you!

    Velva: Thanks so much. Hope you had a nice 4th.

  7. Love freeform fruit tarts! The one I make is from Cook's Illustrated, and naturally, it works perfectly every time. Apricot and raspberry sounds stellar.

  8. Finally getting back to HD after my own hiatus (to find the biscuit recipe you made in 2/13 to share with Django on his first birthday next week). I am reminded how much I love that galette recipe. I never seem to put enough filling in though, so I have to remember to amp it up next time. We have some asian pears and apples in need of a home. A galette is in order.

  9. These are such a good idea, when you have lovely fruit sitting around. I've never tried one with strawberries and blueberries, yum!