The chairs are done

Adirondack chairs

Tito’s latest project is finished, and just in time for summer. They’re wonderful; every time I sit down in one, it swallows me whole. Anyone know where I can get good red cushions for them that are at least a little waterproof? And preferably for $10?

Before the glue had finished drying on the arms, we celebrated with a strawberry crostata. Bromley got to lick the whipped cream bowl.

If you have a strong inclination toward rhubarbification, as my friend Beth does, by all means substitute a pound of chopped rhubarb for half the berries, and increase the sugar to 3 tablespoons.

Strawberry Crostata with Cornmeal Crust

Recipe for Strawberry Crostata with Cornmeal Crust
Recipe 183 of 365

A crostata is a country-style Italian fruit tart, usually high on the flavor-to-effort ratio. Don’t be a perfectionist about the crust; the whole point is for it to look rugged. Just squish it up around the fruit however you have the urge to do it the first time.

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream, yogurt, or ice cream.

TIME: 30 minutes active time
MAKES: 6 servings

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons full fat sour cream
1/4 cup cold water
Raw or turbinado sugar, for decoration (optional)

For the filling:
2 pounds small strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pulse the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar together in the food processor until blended. Add the butter, and pulse 20 times, or until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the sour cream, and pulse a few times to incorporate. Turn the machine on, and add most of the water in a slow, steady stream, stopping when the dough begins to come together – you may not need all the water if the atmosphere is humid. The dough is moist enough when a handful of the dough stays together when you press it into a clump in your hand.

Dump the dough onto a large piece of wax paper, gather into a ball, press into a disc shape, wrap, and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheets with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.

For the filling, place the berries in a large mixing bowl. Then mix the flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to about 12” in diameter. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Sprinkle two tablespoons of the dry flour/sugar mixture over the center 8” of the dough, and mix the rest of the dry ingredients in with the berries. Pile the berries in the center of the dough, leaving a 2” border all the way around.

Preparing strawberry crostata

Using your hands, fold the edges of the dough up and over the berries a little at a time, overlapping the dough over the previous fold each time. (If the dough doesn’t readily stick together, dribble a little water on your fingers and brush it between the layers of dough to encourage it to stick.) If using the turbinado sugar, brush the crust with water or milk, and sprinkle it generously with the sugar, patting it into the crust a bit to make it stick.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust has browned and the filling is thick and bubbling. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, or until the juice solidify, then transfer to a platter and serve.

(Hint: To keep the tart intact, it may be easier to slide the tart directly from the baking sheet onto a large cutting board and serve it on that.)

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, dessert, dog, fruit, husband, recipe

5 responses to “The chairs are done

  1. Sami

    Spot on timing: I have a fridge full of perfectly ripe berries (raspberries, strawberries and blueberries) and was looking for an interesting recipe to use ’em in.

    I’ll have to substitute marg for the butter (urk), because dairy and I just don’t get along. The sour cream, though – I think I’ll need that, won’t I? Is the sour cream there to help make the dough rise, or is it there for mouth-feel? Please advise, oh wise one.

  2. Hey Sami,

    If it doesn’t gross you out, try using a combo of margarine and lard or shortening – it will help out in the texture department. And no, you don’t have to use the sour cream – much of what it adds is acid, though, which tenderizes the dough and makes it much more forgiving. If yogurt is okay on your stomach, that little bit of sour cream should be fine, but if anything sets it off, best avoid it – try substituting an egg yolk, plus enough water to make two tablespoons. (The egg yolk should help with the fat content.) Let me know how it goes.

    And if you use a mixture of berries, might want to use a tad less flour – the strawberries are much more watery than the others.

  3. Sami

    Hello, Jess – I made my first version of this for the Fourth (with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries), and it was pretty darn tasty, even though I used POLENTA-grade cornmeal. (Yeah, how sad is that? The package SAID it was cornmeal, you see and … oh, really, there’s no excuse.) It was good, but a bit … crunchy. Yesterday I made another version, one with strawberries and raspberries and the proper kind o’ cornmeal, and it was de-LISH-us. I swapped shortening and balsamic vinegar for the sour cream, and it work like a charm. Thanks muchly – this recipe rocked. Oh, and get this – your beer float made FARK a few weeks ago, or so sayth my husband… – Sami

  4. Ooh, balsamic must have done double duty for acid and flavor – great idea! Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. AMW

    Tuesday Mornings will have cushions call as supplies are not identical at each location.
    check website and locations in your area

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