Thursday, May 10, 2012

Easier than Pie: Balsamic Strawberry Crostata with Mascarpone Cream and Pistachios

Yesterday the girls and I went on an adventure down to McGrath Family Farm in Camarillo.  I was familiar with the McGrath farm from their spot at our farmers market, and recently heard that they invite the public to pick strawberries. We had so much fun blueberry picking last summer that I knew it was a trip we couldn't miss. Though I'm not sure how normal it is to drive 45 minutes for strawberries, the experience was well worth it. 
McGrath Family Farm far exceeded my expectations. The shop was filled with organic produce and stunning displays of flowers. The man working in the shop was so friendly and made us feel like we were part of the McGrath family. The girls picked strawberries to their hearts' content and then played with the resident rabbit, Levi. Next time we will bring a picnic and have lunch at the picnic tables.
The drive home was not quite as much fun. I'm a nervous driver to begin with. Then add an overtired 2-year-old who decides to scream at the top of her lungs for the last 30 minutes of the drive. Not pleasant. When we got home and L had her nap, B and I decided we needed to make a quick and easy treat with our berries. A rustic crostata was the answer. I love rustic desserts - the beauty is in the imperfection. And since I just can't get enough of balsamic vinegar with sweet strawberries, we doused our berries in it. B sliced the strawberries, mixed in the balsamic, and arranged the berries on the pastry. The mascarpone cream and pistachios take just an extra minute and are definitely necessary.
Make this recipe when strawberries are very ripe and sweet.  Like now.
 This is the perfect effortless Mother's Day dessert. If you still haven't gotten the mummy in your life a gift, just use this recipe and you'll be good to go. 

Happy Mother's Day to all my sweet mommy friends. I hope you get spoiled rotten this Sunday. Or at least get a few minutes of relaxation. Those two are pretty much the same thing anyway, right?

Oh, and guess what! We were nominated for the top 25 Foodie Moms of 2012 by Circle of Moms! 
Please click the badge above or click here and vote for Yummy Mummy! You can vote once a day. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Balsamic Strawberry Crostata 
Serves 4 

1 prepared pie crust (I cheated and used Trader Joe's, but my favorite is Martha's pate brisee
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar 

1 egg 
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1 cup whipping cream 
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese 
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Gently toss strawberries with balsamic in a medium bowl. 
Roll dough on a piece of parchment paper into a roughly 12-inch disk. Place strawberries in the center of dough, leaving about 3" boarder. Fold dough boarder over edge of strawberries. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush egg wash over folded-over dough. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top of dough and berries. Slide parchment and crostata onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool slightly or to room temperature. 

In the bowl of a mixer, beat whipping cream, mascarpone, and confectioners sugar until mixture holds stiff peaks like whipped cream.

Cut crostata into wedges and top with a dollop of cream and a sprinkle of pistachios.

Linking to At the Picket Fence


  1. Scrumptious :) yumm and fresh. Following you, visit me some time.

  2. Aromatic, delicious and beautiful! Amazing photos! :)

  3. This looks so easy! And it's absolutely beautiful as well. Awesome idea!

  4. This looks delicious. We're making brunch on Mother's Day. The tart I had planned may have just got bumped :)

  5. Just beautiful Marina! I was at McGrath yesterday too! It's my go to berry spot and don't you just love Levi? My little one wasn't up for picking so we bought ours from the farm stand, but I'm sure they taste wonderful either way. My strawberries are destined to become a berry version of tiramisu, but the crostata looks scrumptious. Lovely photos, as always.

  6. This looks beautiful!
    I made your appetizer (strawberries and balsamic) and it was amazing. Will def try this once we get some good strawberries around here.

  7. Beautiful! I love the pictures and the recipe! Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

  8. Marina,
    The company I work for has property in Santa Maria and one of our employees always brings back strawberries from Camarillo during growing season. There is something magical about the sweetness of that region's fruit. This crostada will go on the menu for this weekend. Thanks.
    Have a relaxing Mother's Day!

  9. Who loves your food??? Hand raised in the air!!!! I do, I do. So glad you had a great visit picking berries. The sweetest strawberries on the planet. I love when I drive down the road in Thousand Oaks and I see signs, saying picked today Camarillo Strawberries!!!

  10. Mmm, I love crostatas or galettes(what I usually call them). I'm not sure what the difference is. Either way, they're awesome! Love the strawberry filling in this one :)

  11. This dish looks gorgeous and so do the farm pics!

  12. Fabulous! This is my kind of dessert!

  13. Marina this amazing. I am in love with this recipe. You had me at strawberries then made me swoon with the pistachios. I can feel your pain on the car thing. Mini-me was one of those rare babies who hated the car. Once we went to Niagara Falls which is 3 and a half hours away. She screamed the last hour. I once got pulled over on the way to the gym and the cop came up and asked where's the fire. I pointed behind me at screaming mini-me and he let me go with a lot of sympathy. Lol.

  14. This looks delicious! Do you just let the pie crust thaw and then roll it out?

  15. Yay!!!!!! That is so awesome about sending off your cookbook to the publisher!!!! I would LOVE one of your cookbooks- I'm still drooling all over your website! I will definitely post about it on my blog. That is such a huge accomplishment, I'm so happy you are getting to do what you love. Good for you!

    Happy Mother's Day to you!

  16. This looks so heavenly! Congrats on your cookbook! I am in love with your blog and the photography and recipes are so amazing. I need to make a trip north for some berries. I keep hearing that those are the most amazing berries and it is probably worth the 1-2 hour drive.

  17. Gorgeous looking dessert! I can sympathize with your drive, been there done that, even had shoes and water bottles launched at me from the rear. I breathe deep and sing to
    Happy Mothers Day!!

  18. Happy Mother's day Marina!
    I love going strawberry picking, somehow I never have enough :)and a homemade crostata to celebrate the season is always a welcome :)

  19. Happy Mother's Day! What a beautiful crostata! When my son was little and there was screaming and stuff happening in the back seat, I'd pull over to the side, stop the car and announce we weren't going to go anyway until everyone settled down. Don't know why but it worked. Maybe the kids thought we'd never get home? (No, I never said I'd leave them by the road!) I love the blue gingham fork. Have to have it! Where oh where did you buy it?

    1. Hi Marie!

      I just found the plastic gingham forks at Anthropologie - I was sooo excited. :)


    2. Oh wait. I just realized... they only had spoons. No forks.

  20. Me too. I love rustic desserts and your strawberry crostada looks so delicious. I love our yearly trip to the Strawberry farm. It's amazing that they've already passed here in TX. I need to check on blackberries because those are my true love. Happy Mother's Day!

  21. This is such a lovely post...reminds me of my childhood, going strawberry picking, but with most of the strawberries going in my mouth rather than the basket. I love this rustic crostata as well. I might try this with some crumbled meringue on it as well. Mmm.

  22. This is beyond gorgeous! And that farm looks heavenly:)

  23. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! This looks so fabulous. I remember picking strawberries at a farm a few times. Those are fun things you don't forget and then to get to eat a lovely crostata like this - what fun. I love the pictures in the field too!

  24. There's so much you can do with fresh berries, don't you agree? This just gives me one more reason to ALWAYS keep them in my fridge! Beautiful!

  25. Great post and pictures. As always they are wonderful.

  26. Oh Marina this is all so precious and that crostata is absolutely divine!! I'm blown away.

  27. I am just wowed by the photographs. Amazing job!!! Looks so yummy.

  28. Wow. That looks so delicious, Marina, and your photos as always are GORGEOUS!

  29. Congratulations on the nomination and what a beautiful dessert! I love the contrast in color that the pistachio offers!

  30. Congratulations on your nomination; it is well deserved. Your photos are magnificent and I love all things made with strawberries and balsamic. I serve them over ice cream with slivered almonds and shaved chocolate, in crepes with honey yogurt on top for a special breakfast and have even marinaded boneless chicken breasts in them and then macerated the berries & reduced the lot to make a sauce.
    I think the thing about your post that amazed me the most was that your daughter was wearing white! I used to have to strip my children before putting them in the car to avoid strawberry upholstery!

  31. I have yet to try a crostada, but I always love the look of them. Of course your photography makes everything beautiful.
    This recipe definitely looks like a winner!

  32. your photography is just stunning! Beautiful recipes, beautiful pics, and beautiful family!


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