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Lemon and fresh ginger-infused pears baked in a rustic free-form crostata (or galette). Make the dough in minutes in a food processor.
This recipe for homemade pear crostata makes a simple open-face fruit tart with layers of flavor and a handful of ingredients: Pears, fresh ginger and lemon enclosed in a tender, easy-to-make pastry dough.
Basically, a crostata is a one-crust pie.
Whether you call it a galette as they say in French, or by its Italiano name as I do, they are one in the same dessert.
Things to love about making crostata:
- They’re less demanding to make than a two-crust pie.
Are you intimidated by the idea of attempting to make pastry for a homemade apple pie, but don’t want to miss the pleasure of digging in to flaky, buttery pastry and sweet tender fruit? Crostata is the perfect place to start.
2. Crostatas have the ultimate casual vibe — and who doesn’t love keeping things relaxed in the kitchen?
Because they’re baked in a rustic free-form shape without the structure of a pan or pie plate, there’s no need to stress about technical imperfections like tearing, sloppy crimping and cracks.
That’s exactly how they’re supposed to look!
Unlike a typical two-crust pie, a crostata with pears doesn’t have pastry dough covering its face, leaving a space where the oozy baked fruit peeks out.
However, crust-lovers will appreciate that the edges of a crostata are often the best part.
Those flaky folds around the edge enclose the juicy fruit like a buttery envelope.
More easy pear desserts:
My easy to handle pastry dough recipe is a go-to crust for all kinds of fruit crostatas.
It’s lightly sweetened and perfect for filling with whatever fruit is in season.
Try apples for the filling instead, and spice it up with cinnamon instead of the cardamom called for in the recipe.
Note: If you use this pastry dough recipe to make a crostata filled with juicy summer fruit like berries or stone fruits, just be sure to toss them with a tablespoon or two of cornstarch to keep the crust from getting soggy.
The best pears to use for baking galette or pear crostata
In general, pears with a firm texture are best for baking.
- Choose pear varieties such as Bosc, Anjou, or D’Anjou which are crisper and hold their shape well after baking.
- Seckel pears are a beautiful crimson-blushed variety with snappy texture and spicy flavor, and they’re wonderful for baking. But since they can be smaller than other pears you might need one or two additional pears than the recipe specifies to fill the crostata.
Try to avoid using Bartletts or Comice pears because they tend to be softer and juicer, and can turn mushy in the oven.
I like to leave the pears unpeeled, but go ahead and peel your pears if you prefer.
Serving ideas for pear crostata
The crostata will be bubbling and juicy when it comes out of the oven, but as it cools the syrupy pears will settle and thicken.
Let the crostata cool to warm or room temperature (if you can!) before slicing.
Serve slices of the crostata topped with ice cream, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a little more lemon zest, or just as is.
Rustic Pear Crostata
- 1 1/2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick, 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 4 – 6 tablespoons ice water
- 1/2 cup (118.29 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 ripe but firm pears, peeled if desired
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream or milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons raw turbinado sugar
Make the dough:
- Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until blended, about 10 seconds. Add the butter and process 15-20 seconds, or until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add the vinegar and 4 tablespoons water through the feed tube, pulsing just until the dough forms a ball around the blade (add more water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture appears too dry).
- Dump the dough out onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper and pat into a smooth ball, then flatten into a disc. Fold the parchment around the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days ahead.
Make the crostata:
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack centered in the middle.
- Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Let it soften until pliable (your finger will leave an indentation when lightly pressed), 10 – 15 minutes depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
- Meanwhile, stir together the sugar, cardamom, ginger and lemon zest in a small bowl until it looks like wet sand. Set aside.
- Cut the pears in half and remove the cores. Slice each half horizontally into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Sprinkle a little flour on both sides of the dough, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to make a circle roughly 12-inches in diameter. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Using an upside-down 8 or 9-inch cake pan or tart ring as a guide, make a light circle-shaped indentation in the center of the dough, leaving a 2 or 3 inch border. Sprinkle half the ginger sugar mixture over the circle. Arrange the pears shingle-style on top of the sugar. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the pears.
- Fold the edges of the dough over the fruit leaving the center exposed, making casual pleats as you go. Remember, this is a rustic tart, so there’s no need to be perfect 🙂
- Lightly beat the egg with the cream or milk and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
- Bake 45 minutes, until the edges the crostata are golden brown and the fruit is juicy and bubbling.
- Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.