Many many years ago, back during my college days, I hosted my first “grown-up” dinner one summer while my family was away. I had a couple of friends over, made chicken and vegetable kabobs, baked fresh bread with flavored butters, and fresh green salad. For dinner, I used a recipe from one of my mom’s ever present issues of Country Living Magazine. The simple rustic tart, a crostata so the magazine informed me, was full of fresh fruit and bright flavors and, despite how easy it was to make, looked amazing elegant, especially on my grandmother’s crystal cake stand. I remember being incredibly impressed with myself that day as everything I made quickly disappeared from my guests plates and knowing, from that moment on I would be the type of person who cooks for those she loves.
Fast forward nearly a decade to last week when I went a little crazy with the berries on sale at the Harris Teeter near my office. I went into buy a bag of frozen peas and walked out with 2 packages each of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. With 3 of those containers, I planned to make fruit salad for breakfast the rest of the week, but that still left a container of each berry in the fridge at the risk of going bad. That was when I remembered the mixed berry crostata I had made all those years ago, and went online to try and find the old recipe. This time I changed the recipe a bit to create a lighter flakier crust and, instead of making one large crostata, I decided to make several smaller 2-serving tarts that could be frozen and warmed up when I am craving something sweet.
Mini Berry Crostatas
Makes 5 crostatas, could serve up to 10 if people share
For the Crusts
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the Filling
1 8-ounce container blueberries
1 8-ounce container blackberries
1 8-ounce container raspberries
1 ½ tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon, cut in half with seeds removed
1 egg, beaten
Turbinado sugar, for sanding
1) Using your hands, combine pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, eggs, and butter in to a soft pliable dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or over night.
2) When ready to make and bake crostatas, pre-heat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or brown paper lightly sprayed with cooking spray and dusted with flour.
3) Rinse and dry berries well. Mix together in a medium sized bowl. In a small bowl, combine 1 ½ tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
4) Break dough into 5 roughly equal portions. To make one crostata, roll a portion of dough into a rough circle about 4 inches in circumference. Sprinkle about half a tablespoon of the flour, leaving an inch ring on the outside. Pile about a fifth of the berries on top of the dusting of flour and sprinkle with lemon juice. Carefully fold the crust up and over the edge of the berries, brush the crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with Turbinado or sanding sugar.
5) Place prepared crostatas on baking sheets and bake for 40 minutes, rotating cookie sheets half way through baking time. Let cool some before serving.