Strawberry Balsamic Crostata with Lavender & Thyme

If you’ve been reading our blog you will know that we (way) over picked strawberries this past week.  That said…we’ve been eating a lot (a lot) of strawberry based things these past few days.  One of our favorites has been this simple strawberry balsamic crostata.  Despite the hot temperatures we still turned on the oven for a few minutes the other night and ultimately were glad we did.  We followed one of our tried and true recipes for the crostata crust from Ina Garten. Really we just love this woman…and we love her crostata recipe.  You can use what ever crust recipe you are partial to but we suggest you try hers out.

We began by rinsing our berries, quartering them and then adding 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of a very good balsamic (we used our favorite Emilia), a pinch of sea salt, and fresh herbs.  We have a lot of thyme so decided to use that as well as some dried lavender flowers we had saved from last summer.  This was mixed together and put in the fridge for about an hour to release some juices.  In the meantime, the pastry had also been in the fridge and was removed and rolled out.  We decided to make individual crostatas so we cut ours rather small.  If you would like to fold your edges over for an even more rustic look we’d suggest using a cereal bowl size for cutting the discs out.  We had used a round cutter, and while it worked for us, you might like it a little bigger.  The berries were taken out of the fridge and the juice was drained and reserved.  Each pastry disc was given a spoonful of strawberry jam and then a small scoop of the berry mixture.  The edges were folded and the parchment lined cookie sheet was placed into a 450 f. oven for about 15-25 minutes depending on your oven.  Disclaimer…we kept some of our edges flat and pinched some.  And you know what? Those pinched edges were a little bit jealous of their flat sheet mates.  Some decided to unpinch while cooking.  Still ok with us as we like the rustic look.

When they came out of the oven we added a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some of the reserved juices and a few thyme leaves and lavender flowers.  The herbs added another element of flavor to this entire thing.  A taste that may be too advanced for kids- but in all honesty our kids loved it.  The lavender is such a strong flavor so go sparingly.  And one more plug for all the good balsamics out there…you really do get what you pay for.
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