Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I'm a perfectionist in many ways. I like the toilet roll facing out, never in. If I see a mat at a front door that's slightly off-centre, I find myself straightening it out with my toes without thinking. On a good day my cookbooks are stacked up just so (otherwise they are strewn all over my living-room floor, pages opened with bookmarks throughout!) and nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing my new shelving unit, stacked neatly with props. I julienne and brunoise my vegetables more out of habit than any great need, I mean really, my kids aren't exactly gonna ever complain that the carrots aren't uniform now are they? But still I do it. In all honesty though, if you visited my house on any given day you probably wouldn't notice any of these little things through the general mess of it all...
I always have good intentions of cleaning down the kitchen bench before I start cooking, you know, finally dealing with that pile of bills/papers/kids-drawings/general crap that seem to always make it's way back to that same spot? But mostly I just work amongst the mess, even though it drives me crazy.
So I guess you could call me a messy perfectionist? My house is often clean, but hardly ever tidy and nothing makes me happier in the kitchen than creating 'rustic' looking food. Honest food, real food. I'm glad we've moved on from the late 90's sterile look, with it's towering this and finely diced that and it's awesome to see so many more people celebrating proper honest home-cooked food, without pretense. I think we have Mr Oliver to thank for that, no?
These summer tarts are the perfect excuse to get your 'rustic' on. They require no special equipment and even though I've gone with the classic combination of peaches and raspberries in the filling, there really is nothing stopping you from adding in whatever seasonal fruits you have available right now. If a little tear forms in the pastry during construction, never fear, simply patch it up with a little piece of pastry and it will all just add to the overall charm of them. With buttery folds of pastry, sweet peaches and gorgeous tart raspberries I don't think you'd ever find anyone complaining that these don't look perfect... not even me.
Just before I go I just wanna thank SBS for the feature they did on me and this here blog. So stoked!
gluten-free peach + raspberry crostata
This recipe only requires a half batch of my gluten-free sweet pastry, however if I were you I would make the full batch and freeze the un-used half for later use. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight before using. You can make this recipe into one large crostata if preferred (it will take an extra 15 minutes or so to cook), however I find when you're dealing with gluten-free pastry it's easier to work with the smaller ones... and they look cuter :-) NB. I added the thyme leaves as an afterthought while taking photos, but they would be even nicer if you added them to the tarts before baking.
1/2 batch of gluten-free sweet pastry *see headnotes
2 large peaches (my favourite to use are the golden delicious), sliced thinly
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
4 tablespoons almond meal
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a large baking tray or line with baking paper.
Divide the pastry into 4 equal portions, rolling each into a ball. Lightly dust a sheet of baking paper with fine white rice flour and roll out one piece of pastry into a circle, about 3mm thick. Transfer to your tray, carefully. Spread 1 tablespoon of almond meal in the centre of the pastry, leaving a 2cm boarder around the edge. Arrange 1/4 of the peach slices in the centre and top with 1/4 of the raspberries. Pull up the sides of the pastry in a rustic fashion, enclosing the fruit filling. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of pastry and fillings. Brush the tops of the pastry with a little milk (I use rice milk) and pop the whole tray into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up before baking for 30-35 minutes, or until lovely and golden. Remove from the oven and serve either hot or at room temperature. These are best eaten within about an hour of baking, before the pastry softens too much.
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