Extremely Easy Rhubarb and Cherry Crostata – a Genuine Recipe

Rhubarb and Black Cherry Crostata

“Genuine recipe” is because the chowder in the last post wasn’t exactly conventional in the instuction department. “Extremely Easy” is because I’m feeling a little guilty about the fabulous-but-you-do-need-a-stand-mixer Celebration Bread.

So. This free-form fruit and jam tart takes about 10 minutes to put together and is impossible to screw up. The crunchy crust is made in the processor, rolls like a dream and is child’s play to handle. The rustic look means it always looks great; and although the post title says “rhubarb cherry,” you can also make blueberry peach

or just about any other combo that takes your fancy.


The dough recipe makes enough for 2 crusts. Filling is for 1 roughly 10 inch round crostata, which will serve 6 to 8. (Tightly wrapped, extra dough keeps well in the fridge for 2 days or the freezer for about 3 months.)


½ lb. (1 c.) cold butter

2 c. all purpose flour

½ c. cornmeal

¼ c. sugar

½ tsp. salt

¼ c. ice water, in a 1c. measuring cup

1 egg

Filling :

About ½ c. thick jam or fruit preserves *

3 c. juicy fruit, cut in ½ inch chunks or 1/3rd  inch slices if it’s not berries*

1 tbl. flour

1 to 2 tbl. sugar, depending on sweetness of the fruit (the jam is the primary sweetener)

Make the Dough:

1. Cut the butter into 10 or 12 pieces, spread on a plate and put in the freezer to stay cold. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a processor fitted with the steel blade and whirl to mix.

2. Distribute the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Break the egg into the water and stir with a fork to break it up a little, no need to beat it smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the egg water. Continue to process just until the mixture starts clumping together.

3. Dump clumps out onto a dry (no flour) work surface, divide into two piles and gently compress each pile into a disk. If you want to keep moving onward without delay, wrap the extra disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. Otherwise wrap them both.

Make the Crostata

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. If dough is cold, let it warm up just enough to roll easily. Place 1 disk of dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into a rough circle about 1/8th inch thick. A little thicker is better than a little thinner. Put the waxed paper dough sandwich more or less flat in the freezer and leave it until it’s firm; 5 minutes or so. (If there’s no room in the freezer, the fridge is fine; it just takes a little longer.)

2. While the dough is chilling, prepare the fruit, peeling and cutting as necessary, then mixing well with the flour and sugar.

3. Peel off 1 sheet of waxed paper, replace it lightly, flip the dough and remove the second sheet of paper. Replace it with a sheet of parchment paper and flip again, onto a heavy baking sheet.

4. Spread the jam in a roughly 9 inch circle in the center of the dough, leaving an empty margin @ 2 inches wide. Top the jam with the fruit, spreading it into an even layer.

The cherries are obvious because they were whole and enormous. The rest of the preserve is under the rhubarb

5. Fold the edge over, nudging errant fruit toward the center, pleating occasionally as necessary. Bake until fruit is bubbling and crust is a rich gold-brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

A Few Fruit and Jam Combo suggestions

Rhubarb: black cherry, plum, strawberry, orange marmalade

Raspberry: peach, orange marmalade, thick apple butter

Blueberry: peach, apricot, blueberry (add lemon juice to keep the crostata from being too sweet)

Cherry: rhubarb, apricot, lemon or orange marmalade, peach

Peach: raspberry, blueberry, apricot, cherry, gooseberry

A couple of crostatas in the oven

The interior walls of our big outdoor oven have roughened over years of use – aka  being whacked by Leslie with the hoe used to rake out the coals – and will probably get a new clay coating this summer.

That shiny thing in the back is the strip of flashing we use to wall off smoldering coals when we want to leave some in the oven. (A large pork butt followed the crostatas and cooked slowly overnight to become quantities of pulled pork, a very useful product to have in the freezer.)

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  • Oh Lord, you’re making me so hungry!!!! I need to find a space for planting rhubarb.

  • Tish Boyle Said,

    Beautiful, Leslie! Might just have to make one of these this weekend…

    • Leslie Said,

      welcome, Tish, and thanks! Having you say beautiful is quite the compliment.

      Mel, you’re right. You need to find a place to plant rhubarb. In addition to being delicious it’s also a very handsome plant.

  • Julia Said,

    Mmm. I’m thinking rhubarb and orange marmalade. So: my rhubarb is flowering, should I cut down the flower stalk? I hate to do it, but I hate even more to stop harvesting this early in the season!

    Rhubarb and orange, one of the all time great partnerships! There’s a post with lots of harvesting/plant care info (and a recipe for deep dish rhubarb peach pie) here. LL

  • Alex Tuller Said,

    I think this is one of the most versatile fruit desserts. I love to eat it and love it even more because it gives me a use for the cornmeal in my pantry that otherwise only gets used for making the pizza slide off the paddle.

    Hi Alex,
    so glad to hear you’re loving the crostata but whatcha got against cornbread? Just writing the word makes me want to bake some and eat it hot with plenty of butter and a drizzle of Bill’s honey.

  • Alex Tuller Said,

    Dean is not a big fan of cornbread. I like it, but then there is the buttermilk issue…. what to do with all that left over buttermilk? Okay so there is marinating uses, biscuits, waffles, but I need some more uses for buttermilk than making cornbread.

    Bill’s honey is the best ever. I’m fresh out… I’m fishing!

    Dancing fly duly noted… ask him for some when you go fishing. As for the buttermilk; you can make perfectly good cornbread with sweet milk or soured sweet milk (lemon juice), or you can mix about 2/3 milk with 1/3 yogurt, which I’m assuming is a staple that requires no using up.

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