I was walking through the grocery store one day and saw this amazing Mixed Berry Crostata on the front of a Better Homes and Gardens Special Issue Magazine called Cooks Secret. The picture of the Crostata looked so delicious that of course I bought the magazine. I thought to myself, I wonder if this would work using Mama’s Pie Crust Mix.
A Crostata is an Italian baked tart and is similar to a tart, thus making the crust a cross between traditional pie crust and pate brisee crust except it uses egg yolk in the recipe which gives it that beautiful golden color. Crostatas are like a pie, except instead of rolling out dough and transferring to a traditional pie pan, you make the pie open faced by rolling out the dough into a large oval shape, then putting the berry mixture in the center, leaving 2 inches around the out edge and then folding the pastry dough up over the berries. It makes a beautiful open faced pie or what Italians call a “canape”.
The reason I was not sure if it would work gluten free, is because regular gluten pie dough is elastic like and holds together and you can form it, where gluten free pie dough is more like a sugar cookie dough consistency and tears and falls apart easily, so much care has to be used when making designs or forming the dough. The good news is, that I tried a couple of tricks and it worked very well, and thus we CAN have gluten free Crostata’s. It was actually easier than I thought to make. I made mine using frozen berries, because the fresh berries aren’t in season yet, so for the fresh berries that go on top, I just let some frozen berries thaw and drained off the juice before adding it to the top of the cooked berries. I definitely think for looks fresh berries will be best, but it worked. I brought my version of my Crostata to my daughters highschool cheerleading awards banquet, and it was quickly partaken by the guests at the event, leaving only one piece left to bring home to the gluten free baby…who isn’t a baby anymore. She’s going to be 10 next week!
I will also note that I used the recipe from the Bettter Homes in Garden magazine and just made adjustments to make it gluten free, using Mama’s Pie Crust Mix, and I used Mama’s Almond Blend Flour instead of cornstarch so that people with corn allergies can still enjoy. I hope you will venture out and make my version and I know you won’t be disappointed! It’s delicious!
Gluten Free Crostata Crust Ingredients
1 Package Mama’s Pie Crust Mix
Or you can use Mama’s Basic Tart Crust Recipe on Page 118 of her cookbook, In the Kitchen with Gluten Free Mama
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Make crust as directed on the back of the bag or in the directions in the cookbook, using the entire egg, instead of just the egg white. The egg yolk is what gives the crostata’s that nice traditional golden color.
Tear off a large piece of parchment paper, large enough to cover a large cookie sheet. Tear off a similar size of wax paper. Spray both the wax paper and parchment paper with cooking spray. Roll out dough between the parchment and
wax paper, with the parchment paper being on the bottom. Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick into a large oval shape about 16 x 12 inches, give or take, or to the size of your baking sheet. Gently remove wax paper. Transfer the dough keeping the parchment paper attached to the baking sheet. (You will bake the crostata dough on the parchment paper). Then prepare berries.
Crostata Filling Ingredients
Note: Read through all instructions before starting.
2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
2 cups strawberries, sliced
*Note use fresh berries if possible, if using frozen, allow the set aside berries to completely thaw, then drain excess liquid, before adding to the top of the crostata after baking.
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. Mama’s Almond or Coconut Blend Flour (or cornstarch)
1 Tbsp. water
2-3 Tbsp. course sugar (like turbinado or raw sugar)
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
In a medium bowl, place 1 1/2 cups of each of the berries. Set aside the remaining 1/2 cup of each berries to be used after baking. Add 1/3 cup sugar and the 3 Tbsp. of Mama’s flour to the larger bowl of berries. Toss to coat evenly. Spoon berry mixture onto the center of the rolled pastry dough, leaving 2 inches uncovered all the way around the oval.
This is the tricky part for gluten free. What we are going to do is fold up the dough and sort of pleat it around the oval up over the berries, leaving the center of the berries uncovered. Gluten free dough will break easily, don’t be alarmed. Just use your finger and gently squeeze it back together.
To make it easier to fold up over the berries, make slices in dough about 2-3 inches apart. Use the parchment paper to help lift the pastry and place over the berries. Allow each piece of dough to overlap and gently press dough together to seal, and making it look like it is pleated, and leaving no gaps for the the berries to drain through. After you finish folding the pastry over the berries, make sure the bottom of the pastry has no holes or tears. If you see a hole or tear, just press the dough gently together, forming it under the pastry as much as possible to seal all the way around. Some of the juice still might seep through during baking, but it is okay, it can be removed after baking when we transfer the crostata to a serving plate or platter.
Mix together the egg with 1 tbsp. water. Mix well. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg mixture over the edges of the pastry. Sprinkle the pastry with the course sugar.
Use a sheet of foil and form an oval the size of the exposed berries and set aside. Place pastry in oven and bake for 25 minutes. Then put the foil tent over the berries and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Allow crostata to cool for about an hour.
Use a spatula and go around the edges of the crostata to loosen it from the parchment paper. Then gently slide the crostata off the parchment paper onto a serving dish. The pastry is large, so I transferred mine to a decorative wooden cutting board and it looked fabulous.
Just before serving, mix together the remaining berries with 3 Tbsp, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Spoon the fresh berries over the exposed fruit filling. Don’t forget to take a picture! Enjoy!
GFM Tip: Use fresh berries whenever possible. If using frozen, make sure the set aside berries, have time to thaw completely before spooning over the top of the cooked berries. Sometimes, when frozen berries thaw they have excess liquid, drain off the excess liquid so it doesn’t seep all over the crust.
GFM Tip 2: In this crostata we used mixed berries. You can use any berries you choose. Some fun combinations would be peaches, peaches and blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, or strawberries with rhubarb. Experiment with whatever fresh berries you have on hand and see what you like best!