Recipe of the Month: Raspberry Nectarine Crostata

A classic Italian Crostata is made with homemade jam or backyard fruit made into jam. In North America, we tend to use sectioned seasonal fresh fruit to make a pie-like filling. From the early days at Macrina, we have used this sesame almond dough as the base for our fresh fruit crostatas. As the seasons change, you can make this with many fruit combinations, such as fig raspberry, raspberry red currant, and blueberry nectarine. The raspberry nectarine is one of my favorites. Enjoy this special Italian treat!

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Makes a 10-inch tart; Serves 8

Sesame Almond Dough
1 cup whole almonds
¾ cup sesame seeds
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp fresh lemon zest
2½ sticks (10 oz) unsalted butter, chilled cut into ½-inch pieces
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Crostata Filling
3 cups fresh raspberries
5 ripe nectarines, cut into ¼-inch slices
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp fresh lemon zest

Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tsp water)
¼ cup turbinado sugar

Sesame Almond Dough
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread almonds and sesame seeds on separate rimmed baking sheets and place on the center rack of the oven. Toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. The almonds may take a few minutes longer to turn golden brown. Let cool.

Place the cooled almonds, sesame seeds and 1 cup of flour in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a fine texture.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest. With the paddle attachment, mix for a few minutes. Begin to add the butter and mix on low speed for 3 to 5 minutes until the texture is coarse and crumbly.

Combine the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk together. Add to the dough and pulse to combine with the flour mixture. Pull the dough out onto a floured work surface and form into 2 disks, one a little larger than the other. Wrap with plastic and chill for 2 hours.

Crostata Filling
Combine half the raspberries and nectarines, plus the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat for approximately 5 to 8 minutes to release the fruit juices and thicken the sauce. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.

Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and add the remaining fruit. Let the fruit cool completely.

Remove the sesame almond dough from the refrigerator and roll the larger disk into a 14-inch circle. Fold in half and lift into a fluted 10-inch tart pan that’s 1-inch tall. This dough is forgiving so if it breaks you can press it together and it will fuse perfectly. Let the dough slightly overhang the pan.

Roll out the second disk into a square shape and cut 1-inch strips with a knife or crinkle cutter.

Pour the filling into the tart shell. Top with dough strips, alternating perpendicular to create a lattice top design. Trim the excess crust off the edge, pressing to create an even edge. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the crostata on a rimmed baking sheet and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and fruit is bubbling near the center.

Let cool for 1 hour, then lift the removable base from the tart pan. If it sticks due to fruit juices bubbling over, use a paring knife to loosen the edge.

Serve at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream!