Plum And Hazelnut Crostata

One of my most loved cookbooks is Belinda Jeffery’s ‘Mix & Bake’.  It is quite well worn and tattered but very much loved and I’m slowly working my way through all the recipes.  One recipe that I have been eyeing off for sometime was this one for Plum and Hazelnut Crostata.  With plums so good at the moment I’m trying to cram in as many plum recipes before it is all over for another year.

Other crostatas I’ve made have a frangipane filling but this one is just sprinkling a dry mix of finely chopped hazelnuts, sugar, flour and cinnamon on the base then arranging plum slices over the top.  I wasn’t sure how it would work but it sucked up all the plum juices as they cooked and kept the pastry unbelievably crisp.  Such a simple recipe that works perfectly.

I made half the quantity and made a smaller crostata for our dessert and it was a good size.  The original recipe says it serves 8-10 people but even if I had to feed that many people for dessert, two crostatas would work better.  Easier to fit on a baking tray and quicker to cook.

plum and hazelnut crostata

(adapted from Belinda Jeffery’s recipe in ‘Mix & Bake’)

2 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons castor sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
500g just ripe plums
extra castor sugar for sprinkling

shortcrust pastry

3/4 cup plain flour
pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons of iced water

Place flour, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs.  With processor still running, pour in the iced water.  When the pastry starts to form a ball stop the processor, tip out the dough and form it into a disc.  Wrap in plastic and pop in the fridge to rest for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.  Line the base of a baking tray.

Unwrap the pastry and roll out on a lightly floured bench to form a thin circle. Place the circle on the prepared tray.

In a small bowl mix together the hazelnuts, sugar, flour and cinnamon and spread this on the pastry circle leaving a 5cm border.  Arrange the plum slices, overlapping  in concentric circles.  Fold the border gently over the plums and sprinkle the extra sugar over the plums and a little on the pastry.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the plums have collapsed a little and the pastry golden brown.  Serve with whipped cream or double cream.

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