Giada De Laurentiis’ Simple Fruit Crostata Will Transform Your Fruits and Berries Into a Superstar Dessert

With all the delectable summer fruits available, it’s a good time to give Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis‘ fruit crostata a go.

A close cousin of the French galette, crostatas can be made, of course, any time of year, but all the seasonal berries and fruits at our fingertips make now an especially choice moment. Here’s how to make your own.

Giada De Laurentiis prepares a dish during the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, 2014
Giada De Laurentiis | Manny Hernandez/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival

De Laurentiis explains crostata

“A crostata is essentially an Italian free-form pie,” De Laurentiis says. “I love them in both savory and sweet applications. It’s the perfect kind of ‘pantry dessert’ that I can almost always whip up no matter how bare-bones my ingredients are. You can absolutely use refrigerated pie dough for this recipe instead of making it from scratch.”

The Food Network personality’s Giadzy lifestyle and food blog noted: “The beauty of a crostata is that it transcends seasonality – make it in fall and winter with apples or persimmons, strawberries and cherries in spring, and all the stone fruit (and tomatoes!) in summer. The possibilities are just about endless.”

De Laurentiis’ savory crostata

While crostatas are associated greatly as desserts, they can also be a savory option, the Giada at Home host notes in her book Weeknights with Giada where you’ll find her Smoked Salmon Crostata.

“A crostata is an Italian tart that, in its simplest form, tends to be filled with jam or preserves, sometimes with fresh fruit or nuts,” De Laurentiis writes. “But over the years, the crostata has evolved into so much more.”

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The Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef knows not everyone has the time or the inclination to make a pastry crust after getting home from work. So, buying it, she says, is just fine.

“An easy preparation with the store-bought pie crust, [Smoked Salmon Crostata] is a savory crostata that I like to serve at brunch, and now for dinner.”

This savory crostata calls for a store-bought pie crust (the kind you unroll), goat cheese, mascarpone cheese, smoked salmon, capers, chives, and lemon zest. It’s an almost instant recipe: the crust is formed into a circle, its edges pleated with your fingertips, baked for up to 12 minutes, and cooled. The cheeses are then mixed and spread on the crust; then everything else is spread out onto the cheese. And it’s ready to enjoy!

Her summery fruit crostata

Giadzy’s Instagram post proclaimed the moment for crostata is basically now.

“It’s that time of year when you can fill a crostata with allll the seasonal fruit and it’ll turn into the best dessert ever,” the post read.

Unlike De Laurentiis’ salmon crostata, this fruit crostata recipe includes instructions for a homemade crust (recipe here), although you could use a store-bought one if you prefer. The chef says not to forget to let your dough “rest in the fridge for an hour before working with it! It ensures that the butter stays cold, and relaxes the proteins in the flour, which results in a more tender, crisp crust.”

The recipe (full recipe instructions here) calls for, of course, your fruit of choice: peaches, berries, or apples; lemon juice; flour; and sugar. You’ll also need parchment paper and a sheet pan.

Once you’ve arranged your homemade or store-bought dough on the parchment paper, it’s time to make your crostata.

Arrange your dough with your fruit, leaving a 2-inch border, De Laurentiis says. Then fold that border over the fruit. It’s ok if it’s messy, that’s part of its charm: “think of it as a pie with lower standards and less pressure to make it perfect.” Bake in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes, cool, and enjoy!