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Simple and Rustic; Fruit Tart

July 1, 2010

This is basically, my idea of Summer : Simple, fresh, baked, chilled and grilled. As a weather forecaster I feel it is my duty to update you on the weather here in the Bay (as I seem to somehow do), so here it is: Sunny and Windy today with a high of 75. Nighttime lows are 51. 62% humidity and no rain or fog.

Remarkably we have been blessed with warmer temperatures on this side of the bridge and little to no fog. It has been wonderful. I felt inclined to make something using cherries I picked up at the Corte Madera farmers market yesterday. A basket of sweet, juicy, cherries. For $2.50.

My simple standby anytime, on the fly dessert definitely has to be a Crostata. I keep extra dough in the freezer. When I need to make a quick fruit tart, I take it out of freezer, let it soften, roll it out and top it with fresh fruit. The fruit is so good right now, it hardly needs sugar. Or much of anything else. This one I topped with sliced strawberries and a few cherries. So simple, so good.

Summer is a bowl of cold sweet cherries, a glass of chilled white wine, a little cheese, sliced salami, some olives and a simple fruit tart. (As well as some good BBQ from Ribs ‘N’ Things in Hayward).

Crostata

1 c. sugar

2 c. A.P. Flour

1/4 tsp. salt ( a pinch)

1 c. cold butter ( cut into pieces)

4 tbsp. ice water

Directions

Combine sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.

Use your fingers to mix the cold butter into the flour.

When butter is pea size and slightly crumbly, add a few tablespoons of ice water until dough comes together. The dough shouldn’t be wet, just moist enough to come together in a ball.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm.

When ready to use roll out into a circular shape. You can use a cutter to cut a shape or keep it free-form. Top with whole or sliced fruit that has lightly sprinkled with sugar or agave.

* Fresh herbs would be wonderful added to the dough or the fruit.

I love these combinations:

Peaches with thyme or rosemary

Strawberry with lavender or basil

Cherries & Blueberries with mint or lemon verbena

You might also serve the tarts with whipped cream that has been infused with a particular herb, or fold your favorite chopped herb into lemon or vanilla ice cream. The possibilities are endless, but a basic fruit tart is good to have on stand by.

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