Last week in the Outer Banks was terrific. I truly can’t remember the last time I was so relaxed. We let each day unfold like a surprise. We had no plan, no itinerary, and no stress!
On our way home, just before we crossed from North Carolina into Virginia, we stopped at a roadside produce stand to pick up some late-summer peaches. And boy are they good! Jeff and I usually overdose on PA peaches in August; but this summer we just didn’t find any great peaches near home. Fortunately, North Carolina not only delivered on a great vacation, but on great produce as well.
As a salute to vacation, I decided to bake today; which is funny since our fridge is bare. After scanning the contents, I decided to make a crostata – a rustic Italian tart. But I wanted to amp it up a little so I added some brandy to the last of the blackberry syrup Jeff used to make a refreshing blackberry gin drink on vacation and I added a little bit of fresh thyme from the garden.
I used the 3/4 cup of blackberry syrup that remained and added to it 6 Tbsp of brandy and 1 Tbsp of chopped fresh thyme. I cooked it over medium low heat for 15 minutes, whisking frequently, until it reduced and became dark and thick.
While the syrup reduced, I made the dough. This dough is a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients:
I pulsed the flour, salt, sugar, lemon zest and thyme in a food processor until just combined and then added the cold butter. I pulsed the food processor until the butter incorporated into the flour mixture and resembled coarse crumbs. I added the ice water a bit at a time until the dough began to hold together.
Then I turned the dough out onto a board, gathered it together, shaped it into a ball, flattened the ball into a disk, wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it for approximately 1 hour.
I rolled the cold dough into a rough 12-inch “circle” – remember this is a RUSTIC Italian tart – and transferred it onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
I then topped the dough with the blackberry, brandy, and thyme reduction – kind of like you top a pizza crust with sauce.
I sliced two ripe, juicy peaches and arranged them on the crostata. I folded the edges of the crostata toward the center – no need to be precise. In my opinion, the more rustic looking, the better.
I brushed the crust with egg wash and sprinkled it with some white (I’m not quite sure why they call it white when it is really clear) sanding sugar and baked the crostata in a 400 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes.
The end result is a delightfully mouth-watering treat.
I rewarded myself with a piece of the crostata dusted lightly with powdered sugar and a steaming cup of Jeff’s yummy coffee. I’d say my day is going to be just peachy!