This July I started a 2 year hiatus from the craziness of residency to pursue a research fellowship in surgical oncology. It has been quite an adjustment to go from running around the hospital for 24 (often 30) hours straight without eating, drinking or sleeping to sitting at a desk and reading and entering data. I also get to wear “normal” clothes now (aka not scrubs) and people around the hospital no longer recognize me (I’m not sure what this says about my general appearance for the past 3 years…). This “slower” pace of life as given me A LOT more free time that I have been filling with spinning and barre classes, cooking/baking, going to the beach, exploring as much of the Boston restaurant scene as my waistband and wallet will allow, and catching up with friends I’ve neglected for the past 3 years. But alas, I decided I still didn’t have enough to do so I decided to pick up a fancy new hobby- photography!
I have always had an interest in photography and took a black and white photography class in high school where we developed our own prints. However, recently my idea of photography has been my iPhone and instagram. While I have taken some great pictures this way, I decided it was finally time for an upgrade. For my 30th birthday present, my parents and I joined forces to purchase a DSLR camera. After much research, I settled on the Nikon D5300- a compact and relatively lightweight, higher end entry-level DSLR camera.
I’ve been experimenting with it for the past week all over Boston and so far I love it!
After a week of experimentation, I decided it was finally time to put it to the test for my blog. I threw around a few ideas for my camera’s debut blog entry and finally settled on something that was both seasonal and aesthetically pleasing: a rustic peach crostata. Not only were the peaches fun to photograph, but the spiral design of the crostata, which gets hidden a bit in the final product, is actually quite beautiful.
What’s great about crostatas is that if you have trouble with pie crusts (like I do), you don’t have to worry- the whole point of the crostata is to look a bit rustic and imperfect. This recipe is adapted from an apple crostata recipe that actually comes from a Kosher cookbook (Kosher by Design). Feel free to substitute other firm fruits (such as apples, pears, plums) for a variation. My favorite thing about this recipe is that it adds a streusel layer (both on the bottom and top) for extra crunch and flavor (mmmmmm butter and brown sugar). It is best served warm with a side of ice cream (try corn, mascarpone, or salted caramel ice cream to create an interesting flavor contrast).
Rustic Peach Crostata
(adapted from Kosher by Design)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
2 sticks (1 cup, 16 Tbs) unsalted butter, cold, cut into about 8 pieces
4-5 Tbs ice water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not quick cooking or instant)
6 Tbs melted butter
5-6 peaches medium peaches (6 if you’re like me and eat about the equivalent of one peach in peach slices that weren’t pretty enough to photograph)
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbs apricot preserves
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water or milk
For the crust:
In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar 2-3 times until mixed. Add the diced, chilled butter. Pulse until mixture resembles peas. Add the ice water 1 Tbs at a time until the dough comes together.
Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Knead briefly to bring together in a ball and flatten slightly into a disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
For the streusel:
In the meantime make the streusel by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and mixing with a fork until it comes together. Set aside.
For the peaches:
Peel, pit and slice the peaches.
In a large bowl, combine the peaches, flour, sugar, ginger and salt. Toss gently to coat. Set aside.
To assemble the crostata:
Preheat the oven to 375. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough into a 14-15 inch circle.
Leaving a 3 inch border, spread the apricot preserves over the center of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 of streusel topping. Next, starting at the outer edge and working your way into the center, lay the peach slices in concentric circles, going around and adding layers until the peaches are used. Sprinkle with remaining streusel. Using the parchment to help, fold the dough border over the peaches, turning as needed. The dough will cover 2-3 inches of filling. Slide crostata carefully on the parchment paper onto rimless baking sheet. Brush exposed dough with beaten egg yolk.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully cover dough with foil to prevent burning. Bake for another 20-30 minutes until crust is golden brown and peaches are bubbling. Let cool for about an hour before cutting and serving.