Monday, 27 June 2011

La Mia Crostata di Pesche... fiori rosa... (Dangerously delicious Italian Peach Lattice Pie)

It looks like those beautiful squashed up, sweet, exotic looking peaches (or donut peaches) "pesche tabacchiera" or "saturnine" are everywhere this Summer! As I just cannot resist anything that is slightly different from the ordinary, I bought a few of those peaches: the fragrance of the fruit is unbelievable and it matches the scent of the peach blossom which used to often adorn our living room, in Italy. I love blossom, in Spring and I still remember, in Summer, walking past a greengrocer's near our house, in the city and smelling the honey sweetness of the peaches.
Blossom, in Italy
The pulp of these peaches, added to Prosecco are the main ingredient of a cocktail called Bellini, which was invented at Harry's Bar, in Venice ( I will get my husband to make me a Bellini-he knows how!)
Il Sig. Franco "Armani", my brother-in-law, is casually shopping at a
local greengrocer's, in Modugno, Italy

Anyway! The fruits I bought were so beautiful, you just wanted to eat them. I also bought some ordinary round peaches, but they didn't have the sunny, exotic look of my little squashed peaches, so similar to the "white peaches" so beautiful and sweet, you get in Bari.
My squashed Pesche Tabacchiera
Anyway... I drove my peaches home and all the time I kept smelling the fragrance: almost as good as a perfume! The heat and the sun kind of "amplified" if you can use this term, the aroma. "To dream or not to dream?" Wake up and drive, Anna!
When I got home, I decided I would make  a crostata using my peaches. Wow! It was a good idea! Thinking about it, I should have made Bellini. My crostata was sweet, delicate and a bit naughty. Delicious with yogurt!
Crostata di Pesche
Italian Tabacchiera Peach Pie
Makes 6 -7 portions
For the peach filling:
6 squashed peaches
(ordinary peaches OK!)
3tbs  sugar
100 ml water
For the pastry:
400 g ( 14 oz) plain- all purpose  flour
150 g (5 oz) sugar
150g (5 oz)  g butter
2 egg yolks
A couple of hours before I start making my crostata, I took the butter out of the fridge as it needed to soften. Two hours later... in a large mixing bowl, I put my flour, followed by the butter, cut into small pieces. I mixed till my mixture resembled fine breadcrumbs.
At this point I added  the egg yolks, mixed a little bit and, finally, I added a small teaspoon of baking powder to make my pastry slightly spongy.  If the mixture is too stiff, add a small amount of cold water. If it's a bit "wet" add flour. You should get a firm "dough" which needs to be wrapped and refrigerated for half an hour.
While my pastry was resting, I prepared my peaches, by cutting them in half horizontally, then I twisted each of them, to get rid of the stone in the middle. I then placed some sugar (I used natural cane sugar) in a large pan, with the water and the peach halves. I cooked this until all the liquid evaporated and I was left with peaches in pink caramel... very nice! The skin peeled off, so I just had the sweet, juicy flesh for my crostata filling. Easy!

When the pastry came out of the fridge, I rolled most of it to fit my  buttered and floured pie dish (25 cm diameter) I brushed some apricot jam over the  base and then arranged my peaches in a round pattern, to fill my crostata base. 
I decided that my crostata should look rustic and traditional, so I cut some thin pastry strips and made a lattice pattern over the peaches. I dusted with cane sugar and baked in a hot oven (200 C-400 F-Gas 6) for a good 30-40 minutes. My house soon began to smell like one of JLO's Summer fragrances: sweet, peachy, velvety... I knew it would be a good one!

My crostata was ready when the pastry looked golden and scrumptious. I also checked the "bottom"... no burnt bits! The base of my crostata was cooked and I knew I would have to freeze most of it just to make sure I didn't eat too much of it!
I served my crostata with plain fat free yogurt,
peaches and wonderful strawberries
picked from my garden!
I could eat the pictures!


  1. Oh my goodness Anna, that looks so delicious and I can almost smell the peaches from your photographs! In autumn I often have a bowl of quinces on the dining room table because, like your peaches, they scent the whole house.
    This lovely piece has to be the essence of summer. Jane x

  2. Jane, like I said, I could just eat the pictures! I think D.G. Rossetti would have liked my photos. Things you can do with six peaches!

    I'm being good, though... no crostata for me! but... Could I not just murder a Bellini cocktail? It's SO HOT, today! And I love it!


  3. Gorgeous photos Anna, I can almost smell the fruit, our peaches are not yet ripe but we picked plums today.

  4. Scrumptious! Oh I can imagine the smell whilst cooking is heavenly! I started to read your post and then realised that I had bought some white fleshed peaches a few days ago, so I had to break off and go and eat one, it was so juicy and ripe, that I had to have another! So thankyou for reminding me about peaches! Thankyou for your lovely comments on my blog. I am not on holiday, I have just been very busy with work. We don't live too far from the sea and so just decided to have a little trip. Lots of love to you, Linda x

  5. Lindy, you must make an awful lot of jam, pies and crostate with all your wonderful fruit! Your cherries are magnificent. I could eat cherries non stop.

    I bet your plums are just delicious!


  6. Linda, I'm not far from the sea and every now and then I must go and see it. I was born in a city by the sea and love water!

    The Adriatic sea is so clean (in Puglia) that you can smell the seaweed. When I go back and see the sea, again, I realize how much I miss seeing all that blue ( as the sea is blue like the sky, there)

    Thanks for saying hello and yes... the whole house DID smell delicious! You are right!


  7. oh my, those peaches just look heavenly! I can't imagine the fragrance in your kitchen and home! Yum!