I love pie. I love pie so much that sometimes I feel like I’m cheating on my dessert soul mate, the cookie. Like the cookie, pies come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Today, we shall be focusing on the pie’s Italian cousin, the crostata. Identical to the French Galette, the Italian crostata is made using a buttery pastry that is free-formed with the edges folded over its filling. Its rustic and elegant all at the same time; but most important, its absolutely delicious.
My fig and ricotta crostata is a great vehicle for figs, which are currently in season (fig season runs from about August through October. They also might pop in June for a bit). If its not fig season or you hate figs (like my mom, Saint Nancy), you can easily substitute them with thin slices of another fresh fruit like apples, pears, or even peaches. You could even do it sans fruit and just drizzle the glaze over the ricotta right before serving. So let’s take this little Italian dream boat for a spin and see what happens!
Fig and Ricotta Crostata
- 1 dozen to 1 ½ dozen fresh figs, sliced or cut into thirds (its your call, both work)
- 15 oz. container of Whole Milk or Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup honey
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 Recipe of Basic Butter Pie Dough (Though the recipe for this pie crust is pretty simple and really yummy, you can also use a premade pie crust or a pie crust mix. Whatever makes your life easier. Just don’t use the pie crust that comes pre-made in the pie dish. This is a free form pie.)
- about a 1/4 cup of flour for rolling out the pie crust
- Sugar and kosher Salt for dusting the crust on the Crostata crust.
- 2 Tablespoons Honey
- 1 Tablespoon Bourbon
*To make the glaze, simply microwave the honey and bourbon in a bowl for 10 seconds and Voila! Glaze.
*Optional Egg Wash: 1 Egg beaten with ½ teaspoon of water
- Whisk and a large Bowl
- 9”x13” baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet
- Rolling pin
- Microplane (or grater) for Zesting the Lemon
- Large cutting board
- More parchment paper or wax paper for rolling the dough out
- Kitchen shears or scissors or a very sharp knife.
- Pastry brush (Optional- this is for the egg wash)
1) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, lemon zest, vanilla, salt, honey, egg yolks and set aside. (You could even mix this together ahead of time and keep it the fridge for up to 24 hours.)
3) If you are using my pie crust recipe (or the mix), You will need to roll out your pie crust. Sprinkle flour on a large cutting board and rub some flour on your rolling pin. Place your disk of pie dough on the floured cutting board and sprinkle some flour on top. You can also use a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to help prevent sticking. Using even pressure with your rolling pin, roll the dough out to a circle that’s about 12” in diameter. The filling will eventually be placed in the center of the crust and spread in an 8” circle with 2” surrounding that can be folded over to form the crust of the crostata*.
*Cookies and Salt Tip: I’m awful at rolling out dough in any thing resembling a shape, so I made myself a stencil out of parchment paper. I traced an 8” cake pan to act as my “center” where the filling would go. I then added 2” all around the circle until I had a 12” circle.
Then I cut the 12” circle out and placed it on top of my pie dough so that when I was rolling it out I would have a guide. This step is completely optional. A crostata is inherently rustic, so if you don’t get a perfect circle of a pie then do not sweat it. Just skip this step and be on your merry way.
5) Place the pie crust disk carefully onto the lined sheet pan.
6) Using a spoon, ladle the ricotta mixture in the middle of the pie crust spreading it out until you have about a 1/2” layer of ricotta filling (you will probably have left over filling. You can always mix into pancake mix to make a nice ricotta batter.) There should be about a two inches of pie crust surrounding the filling.
7) Place the sliced figs all around the ricotta filling until most of the ricotta filling is covered up. Feel free to get creative with designs or do what I did and just try to cram as many of figs on there as you can.
8) Take the honey bourbon glaze and gently brush it all over the fruit and filling (avoid the crust). Be generous with your glaze. You can also drizzle it over the figs and filling.
9) Using scissors, a sharp knife, or kitchen shears, make a cut in the outward edge of the pie crust about every 3” (the cut will go from the edge of the pie crust disk to the edge of the filling) This makes it easier to fold the edges of the pie crust over to form the crostata.
10) Fold over the edges of the crostata over the filling to create a top crust around the crostata. These edges will overlap, making your crostata look rustically chic. If the edges won’t stay down, use water or egg wash to glue them together. You can do this by rubbing the back of the section in question with the water or egg wash using your finger.
11) Brush the crostata crust with egg wash using a pastry brush and sprinkle with sugar and a few pinches of salt.
12) Bake the crostata for 30 to 35 minutes or until the ricotta mixture has set and the crust is golden brown. If the crust looks like its cooking faster than the filling and you are worried about it burning, then cover the crostata loosely with foil to finish baking.
13) Let the crostata cool for 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve. Enjoy!