Debra Smith gives the tips and tricks to creating a delicious, beautiful crostata for gluten-free eaters. Kneaded with mascarpone, this buttery crust is the perfect accompaniment with seasonal jam.
By Debra Smith
This has been my go-to crust for making pies, crostatas, galettes and tarts; I prefer the flavor of butter versus shortening and adding a small amount of mascarpone cheese gives another layer of flavor that isn’t overpowering and helps keep the dough tender and workable. Cream cheese can certainly be substituted for mascarpone OR omit the mascarpone and add 2 Tablespoons butter for an all-butter crust – either scenario will work just fine. As with their gluten counterparts, cold is your friend when it comes to working with pastry; my ingredients, including the flour, is chilled in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to using. Once the tart is filled and the top crust added, a quick 15-minute chill in the freezer before baking ensures all ingredients are cold and results in a nice ‘puff’ to the pastry. We make our own GF flour mix using brown and white rice as well as a small amount of buckwheat flour, potato and tapioca starch; you can also use a ready-made mix but omit the xanthan gum if your mix already contains either psyllium or other type of gum.
- 268 grams Gluten-free AP flour mix, cold (freeze for at least 30 minutes)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your mix already contains xanthan)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, well chilled or frozen
- 2 Tablespoons mascarpone cheese, well chilled
- 4 Tablespoons ice water
- 300 grams your favorite jam – I used a homemade strawberry, plum, rhubarb jam
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, combine flour, sugar, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder; pulse a few times to blend
- Add butter and mascarpone and pulse until mixture resenmbles coarse gravel; add water and pulse until dough just begins to come together in a ball
- Remove dough onto a plastic sheet and press together into a ball; wrap tightly and chill for at least one hour or overnight
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Roll out three-quarters of the dough to a 11-inch circle; transfer to an ungreased fluted 9 ½-inch tart pan. Ease the dough into the pan covering the entire surface including the corners and edges. Run the rolling pin across the edges of the pan to remove any excess dough
- Spread the jam evenly across the unbaked crust with a spoon
- Roll out the remaining dough to a 10-inch long rectangle. Use a pastry wheel or sharp knife to cut ½ inch strips of dough. Arrange strips of dough across the tart horizontally, leaving ½- inch space between them, then rotate the pan slightly and place the strips of dough on top of the first strips at a 45-degree angle.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned.
- Let the tart cool completely before serving.
Debra and ‘The Professor’, Midwest-based husband and wife freelance videographers, photographers, writers, storytellers, and publishers of the Smith Bites. Using images, words, music and video, they connect the stories about food, friends and family to the world around them.