Sweet, ripe strawberries layered over creamy ricotta, each mixed with a touch of honey and a bit of lemon zest, all of it wrapped in an enriched tart dough, and baked until golden brown. Hungry yet? Well then, you need to make this strawberry crostata, which might be my new favorite take on berry pie.
I love making pies and tarts! So I’m always happy to try new recipes and pull out old recipes when I have some yummy fruit and need a dessert. I’m not a pastry expert, but I’m not afraid of it either, and I know my way around a pie dough. I’ve shared a few pie recipes here so far, like my Deep Dish Apple Pie and my Mascarpone Mixed Berry Tart, and I hope to have many more pies up on the blog in the future.
And what better way to continue sharing my love of pies and all things pastry than to post this recipe for Strawberry Crostata? I’m not only adding to my pie recipes here, but also using seasonal fruit, not quite local yet, though getting closer. 🙂 Perhaps you can tell that I’m counting the days until the local farms have baskets of strawberries out for sale.
I was going to simply make a rustic strawberry tart, simple crust + berries, but I was reading up on crostata recipes and saw one with a ricotta base. That thought stayed with me while I considered my options, and I ended up doing a couple of small test crostatas, one with strawberries only and one with strawberries and ricotta. I loved both, and still leaned towards the simpler recipe, but my husband was vocal in his support of the ricotta base. He loved the creamy layer under the fruit, the contrast between the ricotta and the strawberries, the very Italian-ness of it, and that it was something different which you didn’t see every day. How could I argue with that? I couldn’t! There is a reason why he is my chief taster.
As for the crust? It’s super easy for a pastry. It is sticky, so keep the flour handy while you are working with it, but it’s also very forgiving since you can patch it back together if you get a crack or tear in the dough. And it’s quite sturdy, which is a good thing in a tart! It’s very similar to the pate sucree I made for my Mascarpone Tart, with a little more butter and some more flavorings. Don’t skimp on the flavorings! Crostatas and other free-form tarts have a much higher crust to filling ratios than standard pies. You want the crust to be as much of a star as the filling, and I think this crust fills that role admirably. Not only do I have the flavors of vanilla and egg yolk and cream along with a little sweetness from the sugar, but I also added cinnamon and lemon zest to make sure that each bite is just as tasty as the next.
So, there you have it. Beautiful seasonal fruit, a creamy ricotta base, and a crust that is both forgiving and flavorful. Everything you could want in a strawberry crostata.
- 1⅓ cups (6¾ oz) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated coconut sugar, or white sugar
- ½ tsp table salt
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (1 lemon, zested)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white)
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 1½ cups ricotta, either part skim or whole milk
- 4 tbsp honey, divided
- 1 tbsp lemon zest, divided
- 4 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp arrowroot, or cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp almond meal, or breadcrumbs
- For the dough: Add flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and cinnamon to the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add butter and mix on low for 2 minutes, the increase the speed to medium for 10 seconds. Add this point you will have no large pieces of butter and the flour will look like coarse cornmeal. (If not, mix for 30 seconds more on low.) Blend together the egg yolk and milk. Add the mixture to the dough and mix for 15 seconds, or just until the dough starts to clump together. You can also do this by hand by working the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers and then mixing the egg yolk and milk in with a silicone spatula.
- Flour a board and dump the dough onto it. Using the heel of your hand, push the dough away from you, pressing and smearing it along the board. Then gather the dough up with a bench scraper. Do this a few times to work the dough into a cohesive and pliable mass. Then shape the dough into a disc, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
- When you are ready to make the tart, preheat the oven to 375F. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and take the dough out of the refrigerator. If the dough has been in for more than an hour, let it sit on the counter until it is pliable and ready to roll.
- Once the dough is ready for rolling, put it on a well floured board, dust the top with flour and roll it out with a floured rolling pin. The dough is sticky, so you will want to keep everything floured for easy rolling. Roll out the dough into a 13-14 inch circle. Don't worry about the edges. This is a rustic tart. Once you have it rolled out, transfer the dough to the baking sheet and set it aside. Refrigerate the dough if your kitchen is very warm.
- For the filling: In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, 2 tbsp of honey, and ½ tbsp lemon zest.
- In another bowl, toss together the sliced strawberries, 1 tbsp honey, ½ tbsp lemon zest, cinnamon, vanilla, arrowroot, lemon juice. Make sure the arrowroot is fully dissolved and mixed in.
- Sprinkle the almond meal over the the center of the crostata dough. You will want to spread out the filling over a 9-inch center disc in the dough so you have a few inches to fold over all around. Dot the ricotta over the 9-inch disc and then spread it out evenly. Mound the strawberries over the ricotta. Then fold the edges over, pleating the dough and patting it into place. Pull out the reserved egg white from when you made the dough and brush egg white on the folded over dough.
- Bake the crostata for 45-50 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown under the crostata and the filling is bubbling. Take the crostata out of the oven and brush the remaining 1 tbsp of honey over the fruit. Allow to cool until warm or room temperature and then cut and serve.
For softer butters (such as grass fed butters), cut up the butter first and put it in the freezer while you measure out the rest of the ingredients for the dough.
If your ricotta is watery, put it in a fine mesh strainer to drain while the dough is chilling. Most US commercial ricottas have stabilizers and don't need to drain.
I prefer arrowroot for fruit pies since it works better than cornstarch in acidic recipes.