This easy summer dessert recipe combines peaches and blueberries in a simple Italian style free-form tart, like a galette! It's an easier alternative to pie and perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Blueberry and peach season overlap for a very brief moment here in New Jersey. Blueberry season starts in early-mid June and usually goes until the end of July, early August max. While peach season usually begins in early-mid July and wraps up in the beginning of September. It's a shame that they aren't in season at the exact same time, because they go together oh so beautifully.
This crostata was developed as a way to use up a few random peaches I had popped in the fridge so they wouldn't spoil, and the contents of 3 different pints of blueberries that all had various amounts of berries remaining inside. We're not so great at the "use up the last one before opening the new one" rule in this house. Making crostata, the Italian name for these little free form tarts (galette in French) is my go-to way for using up little odds and ends around the kitchen, both sweet and savory. In truth, I'm always just searching for an excuse to wrap something up in a buttery pastry crust.
During the season I hoard all the blueberries I can and freeze them so we can enjoy them throughout the year, but they rarely make it past the end of summer. Blueberries are incredibly easy to freeze- just pop them on a sheet pan, freeze, then pour into a zip-top bag. Peaches on the other hand require a bit more work - they must first be skinned, pitted and sliced before proceeding to the sheet pan. Usually I'm too lazy to go through the trouble, and the peaches ripening on the counter often get devoured before I even have the chance. Both frozen blueberries and/or peaches would work marvelously in this recipe, especially if they were frozen from your own in-season stash.
I love this tart because it's rustic and elegant all at the same time. Strikingly pretty with it's deep purple and orange filling and it's golden brown, sugar-flecked frame. Lovely served warm at a dinner party with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, this tart will act as both dessert and scented candle to perfume the room. And yet it's just as perfect to eat hovered over the sink, in your pajamas, right before tucking into bed. The latter is my preferred serving suggestion, although both are nice in their own way.
I use only cinnamon and vanilla extract to flavor the filling. There's something about the subtle aroma of cinnamon that, when used in the right quantity, is able to enhance the flavor of the fruit without overwhelming. I've tried other warm spices in the past: allspice, cardamom, star anise, ginger, orange, lemon, nutmeg and clove. Don't be tempted. It's too much. Let the blueberries and peaches shine. This is what they were made for.
I have a bit of an obsession with crostatas, galettes, pies and tarts. If you share my affinity for all things buttery and flaky, here are a few of my favs:
Meyer Lemon + Cardamom Tart
Crostata with Caraway, Havarti + Pears
French Tomato + Goat Cheese Tart
Cherry Vanilla Ricotta Crostata
Grandma's Apple Pie
Strawberry + Goat Cheese Pastries