The sun’s out and although the day is positively gorgeous, it’s still winter. I awoke this morning to a crackling, roaring fire my husband built. I can open the huge glass panels of my car’s sunroof and enjoy miles of blue sky without perspiring buckets. When my arms are too pale to rock a little summer blouse I know winter just ain’t over. But we can pretend it’s summer. Toes freshly painted parade about in strappy sandals and we open our windows. Seriously. Boots of all kind and jeans are de rigueur; we love wearing them when weather permits . To folks worldwide it looks like summer has arrived in south Florida but those of us who live here are shivering in our Havaianas when the mercury dips below… I don’t know… 72°? 70°? It can be damp here and quite windy so one does feel the cold. Heck, we haven’t been in our pool since last September/October. Well, except the times our 15 year old dog fell in the pool. Ugh. Not fun. Jimmy went in once and I went in after the dog twice. Both times in my pajamas. Poor fellow. Anyway, we have our ways of fighting Old Man Winter. We continue to use the grill. The only adjustment being my husband might throw on a sweatshirt. We go to the beach wearing UGGS. We make pots and pots of chili. We put the heat on in the house so we can walk around barefooted but go to sleep wearing every piece of clothing we own. We give “layering” new meaning. Year round south Floridians eat massive amounts of salad. We winterize this summer food by adding hearty, warming ingredients such as slices of cold, rare beef or rich chunks of gorgonzola cheese. Roasted brussel sprouts or beets are often featured with a handful of maple candied pecans or walnuts added for crunch. We natives also bake. Between bright, juicy lemons and fat, ripe blueberries, this luscious crostata will make July seem as if it’s right around the corner. Just don’t put those flannel lined leggings away quite yet.
Whole wheat pastry flour has long been a favorite of mine. Recently I threw together this crostata when I had a plethora of blueberries on hand but, really, any berry may be used. I’m crazy about this crust. Truth be told, 100% whole wheat belies the fact that this crust is unbelievably tender and buttery, all crumbly and barely sweet in your mouth. Mercy, it’s so good! Whole wheat pastry flour is milled finer than whole wheat flour. It’s fineness or softness lies somewhere between all-purpose flour and cake flour. But the true beauty of this most lovely crust is IT’S EASY. The recipe is supposed to yield two pie crusts but making one big one almost guarantees no problems. My crust cracked because I pulled it out of the oven using a dish towel instead of an oven mitt, smushing a corner. And it STILL looked pretty. Both the butter and water called for in the recipe must be ice cold. Make certain to let the dough rest for one hour in the refrigerator. And take your time rolling it out. Here comes summer! P.S. This is one of those desserts, like pound cake, that’s better the next day. Just sayin’.
Way Easy Blueberry Lemon Crostata
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 5-8 tablespoons iced water
- 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large lemon, grated zest and juice
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten (optional)
- 1 tablespoon decorating or coarse sugar, (optional)
- CRUST: To a food processor add flour, salt and sugar. Pulse until blended.
- Add pieces of butter and pulse until only a few pieces the size of bay peas remain.
- Remove lid of food processor and pour 5 tablespoons of water evenly over flour mixture. Replace lid and pulse until dough collects in one area of the bowl or a rough “ball” forms.
- Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and gently pat or roll into an 8-inch disc. Wrap it completely in the plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
- FILLING: Pre-heat oven to 400°.
- In a medium size bowl, add blueberries.
- In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pour over berries and toss well to cover berries completely.
- In a separate small bowl, mix sugar, lemon zest and pastry flour until well combined.
- Pour sugar mixture over berries and gently mix until all the sugar mixture is coating the berries.
- Roll dough on a floured surface into a 1/4-inch or 1/5-inch circle and transfer to lined baking sheet. I roll my dough out on a floured piece of parchment paper, pick up the sides of the paper and transfer the whole thing to a waiting baking sheet.
- Spoon the filling to the center of the crust and smooth, leaving a 2-3-inch border of pie crust.
- Gently fold over edges, taking care not to tear the dough by working too fast. Pinch and seal any holes to avoid juices leaking.
- Brush edges with the egg wash and sprinkle with decorating sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes, lower temperature to 375° and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden and edges of filling are bubbly.
- Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack until room temperature. If you cut into it right out of the oven the slices won’t hold and the juices will run everywhere.