Friday, September 24, 2010

Rustic, Honey-Glazed Peach Crostata from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle is author of the
bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries
and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries
Learn more by clicking here.
A crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart, usually made with jam or fruit. Traditionally, the crust of this tart is a pasta frolla or a sweet, short pastry dough (aka shortbread).

This is my quick and easy version of a rustic, free-form crostata. It bakes much faster than a typical two-crust pie and is incredibly simple to make using yellow peaches, butter, and honey. Peaches, you say? Yes!

Here in NYC, Jersey peaches are still plentiful at our green grocers. My readers report peaches are still for sale in many farmers' markets across the country, and of course California’s fall harvest is in full swing.

Sweet, round, and succulent, these yellow-orange orbs (a prologue to fall's brilliant show) called to me this week. Needless to say, I answered. So let’s start cooking! 

Save, print, or share this recipe by clicking here. The recipe will appear in a PDF document, which you can print or download.

Cleo Coyle's
Peach Crostata


For Crostata Filling:

1 tablespoon butter

1-1/2 tablespoons honey (I use orange blossom)

2 tablespoons flour

Pinch of salt

5 large, ripe peaches skinned and diced (or 6 small)

1 egg, lightly beaten with fork (for brushing crust)

2-3 tablespoon sugar for dusting (for best result use “sugar in the raw” aka turbinado sugar)

For Crostata Crust:

One pie crust, rolled out to at least 11-inches in diameter

A traditional pie crust for an Italian crostata is a sweet, short crust pastry dough (aka shortbread), but that kind of dough with this kind of filling really needs a tart pan. For the free-form crostada you see in my photos today, you'll need a Pâte Brisée (flaky dough).  I opted for a quick and easy, pre-made Pillsbury pie crust from my grocery store.

Next month, I'll be posting a more traditional, from-scratch "pasta frolla" recipe
with a new filling. Follow this blog so you don't miss it.


Step 1 - Prepare filling: In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat, add honey, flour, salt, and diced peaches. Gently stir for about 3 to 5 minutes to coat the peaches with the glaze and soften them up.

Before the next step, allow filling to cool. Use a slotted spoon to drain some of the excess liquid, but not all of it. This crostada bakes quickly in the oven and the butter and honey will make a more succulent crostada than baking the fruit without this honey glaze.

Step 2 - Fill tart: Place rolled out dough (about 11 inches in diameter) onto a baking sheet lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. OR line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Mound diced peaches in the center, leaving a 2-inch border.

NOTE: A parchment paper lining on your baking sheet will make it easier to transfer the tart to a serving plate. See my *Crust Note at the end of this recipe.

Step 3 - Brush with egg and fold: Mix lightly beaten egg with a splash of water and brush the crust's border with this egg wash. Now create a rustic crust edge. Using clean fingers, lift up the border a bit and begin to pinch the dough together every inch or so around the edges, then fold down each pinched peak over the fruit (see photos below).

Step 4 - Brush and sprinkle: Lightly brush the crust again with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Raw sugar will give you the best result in this recipe.

See my note below for more info on "sugar in the raw."

*NOTE: Sugar in the raw is a coarse, natural brown sugar. In the US, we call a version of this turbinado sugar. In the United Kingdom, this type of sugar is called demerara. Either way, it makes an excellent finish for baked goods, sprinkled on crusts, over the tops of cakes and pies. Read more about it by clicking here.

Step 5 - Bake: Place baking sheet on lowest rack of an oven that’s been very well pre-heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The crostada will be done in 15 to 20 minutes.  Allow to cool a bit before slicing and serving right from the baking sheet. Want to move the tart to a serving plate? See my note below...

*CRUST NOTE: In this tart, the fruit is the star, not the crust, which is too thin to move without breaking. If you wish to transfer this thin-crust crostata to a serving platter, line baking sheet with parchment paper. After baking, slide paper (crostata and all) onto platter then carefully pull paper out from under crust or cut around edges for a pretty appearance.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This baby is delicious served with ice cream or whipped cream. Ginger whipped cream pairs especially well with the flavors in this rustic tart. Recipe below...

Pictured: Freshly made
ginger whipped cream 

with honey-kissed peaches.

Click the photo to see my
original "Drunken Peaches"
recipe post and get two more
delicious recipe ideas for
enjoying the fall harvest
of peaches from
California's growers.

Cleo's Fresh
Whipped Cream

Makes about 4 servings

1 cup heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons sugar (to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Place heavy cream, sugar, and ginger into
a well chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer. The cream will thicken as you beat it. When it forms stiff peaks, you're done. Do not over beat.

Note: Chill it, baby! Using a chilled bowl will speed up the process of whipping your cream. I use a metal bowl that's been in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I'll also put my hand-mixer's beaters into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the
added bonus of recipes.

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

Murder by Mocha

Now a national bestseller
from Penguin Books

For a peek at this culinary mystery's bonus chocolate recipes, click here!

"...a tasty espresso-dark tale of
multigenerational crime and
punishment lightened by the Blend's
frothy cast of lovable eccentrics."
~ Publishers Weekly

To order from Amazon, click here.
To order from Barnes and Noble click here.

 Roast Mortem

Includes firehouse recipes!
To see some of this culinary mystery's featured recipes, click here.

A Reviewer’s Pick 
Favorite Book of the Year ~ 2010
Now a national bestseller
in paperback from Penguin!

To order from Amazon click here.
To order from Barnes and Noble, click here.

Cleo's Haunted Bookshop

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of The Haunted Bookshop
, which
Cleo writes
 under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.


  1. As always another scrumpdillyumptious recipe!!! This looks beautiful! We can still find some MI peaches at the Farmers Mkt so I'm thinking my pastry chef in training is making mama a crostada this weekend!!!
    Thanks, Cleo!
    postscript: do you believe that "spellcheck" underlined scrumpdillyumptious?????

  2. Ooooh, yummy peaches. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Have a great weekend.

  3. Our peaches still look good here--and your crostada looks delicious! What gorgeous pictures you take. ) I like that the fruit is really what's showcased.

  4. oh my.
    Can you come to my house and make us one of these, please?
    Scrumptious!!! And Gorgeous!

  5. The summer went fast didn't it...

    Cleo, this is amazing. and the addition of the ginger whipped cream is a real keeper... just pondering what i will do with that makes my morning

    Great post!

  6. And, BTW, I really appreciate all the photos you do for your posts. I am a visual kind of guy. Sometimes it is difficult to visualize what a recipe or technique should look like. just wanted to let you know how well done your photography always is.

    maybe a post on food photography would be a good idea. you are among the best I have seen.

    And what's the gimmick to the printed PDF recipe add on you do. I would like to add that to my blog, but... me and Forrest,

    "I am not a smart man"


  7. That looks so YUMMY!! And I just got a new coffee called Sussex Sweet that has a peachy undertone to it that would go perfectly. You bring the tart, I'll bring the coffee!! ~~Nurse JudyMac

  8. Your recipes always make me so hungry, no matter what time of day I stop by. This looks yummy. Can't wait to try it. Love peaches.

    Thoughts in Progress

  9. Looks wonderful, Cleo. Peaches in pastry are always a winner!

    ~ Krista

  10. This looks absolutely scrumptious! Wow! My mouth is literally watering.


  11. Oh, yum! I remember what a revelation it was the first time I came across a crostada and realized I could do without pie pans. We were moving every couple of years or so and needed to be minimalists with our belongings. Delicious looking recipes, thanks for sharing.

  12. You always know how to tempt me! I think I'll make one this weekend!

  13. Replies to…

    @booklover – Glad to hear your MI farmers market still has peach love for you. Cheers to your “pastry chef in training” for giving this baby a try. I do indeed hope you find it scrumpdillyumptious. (Maybe if we use the word enough, Merriam-Webster’s editors will give it a chance in their next edition.)

    @susan e. – You are most welcome. And I hope you have a great weekend, too. :)

    @Elizabeth/Riley – Thanks for the nice words. I’m really glad to hear you also like the bursting-with-fruit thing going on in this baby. (Me, too.) I do love fall and winter, but I always find it difficult to say good-bye to those fresh fruits of summer. (Sniff.)

    @Kaye – TY for the kind invitation. I’ll be right over with my orange blossom honey and bushel of peaches. All you have to provide is a nice cold bottle of champagne. :)

    More replies to come…

    ~Cleo Coyle
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  14. Replies to…

    @Dave (A Year on the Grill) – You are incredibly sweet (and obviously brilliant, which is why I am LOL on the Forrest comment), and I’m very flattered by your kindness because your blog is one of my all-time faves. On the PDF – here’s the scoop. I subscribe to a service at that allows me to create PDFs online. The subscription is monthly and a very low cost. It allows me to convert Word docs to PDF docs. I like the online subscription thing because I don’t have to worry about software becoming outdated. Adobe will simply continue to update as I convert. For more info, just Google “Adobe create PDF online” and you should get good info on it. After Adobe sends me the PDF, I upload it as “link” to the private server at my author Web site ( Coffeehouse ). Then I hit the link and copy the address into a link on Blogger. Here’s the catch. You need access to a site that has a server that will allow you to upload a PDF. The last time I checked blogger, it would not allow me to do this—but they may have updated that capability by now. Don’t know. I hope that’s helpful and clear enough. Thanks again for your continued encouragement, Dave. Keep on grillin’!

    @Nurse Judy – Oh, boy, another invitation – and that coffee sounds wonderful. Many African coffees have bright, exotic fruit notes, which I always enjoy. Sounds like it would be an amazing (peach) pairing. :)

    More replies to come…

    ~Cleo Coyle
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  15. Replies to…

    @Mason Canyon – You are (dare I say it) a peach! Thank you for dropping by with such nice words -- and if you try the tart, I hope you enjoy it.

    @Krista – Agree completely – in fact, I thought about your “Magic Peach Cobbler” as I baked this tart. I am really going to miss those fresh summer peaches.

    @Avery – Aw, thanks. Your recipes are fantastic and always make my mouth water, too!

    More replies to come…

    ~Cleo Coyle
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  16. Replies to…

    @Lil – Freedom from pie pans! Methinks you have discovered a whole new way to promote the rustic crostada. Cheers and thanks for dropping by. :)

    @Wendy – You sweetie! Tempting you is my favorite pastime. (In culinary terms, of course!)

    @Juju – Agree. Raw sugar. Mmmmmm.

    ~Cleo Coyle
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  17. Thank you for making this with a ready to use crust. I have the hardest time with crusts. Here in Colorado, we still have peaches coming in from Palisades, so I can make this next weekend. YUM!

  18. Looks delicious! I'm going to miss peaches this winter

  19. Looks amazing! I am very intrigued with the ginger whipped cream!