Chef Caitlin Howington Debuts Blueberry Hill with Her Recipe For Peach Crostata with Brown Butter Rosemary Ice Cream

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By: Chef Caitlin Howington

The first tickle of cool fall air has arrived here in Maryland. Stone fruits are in their peak now; we’re talking a bounty of peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots. I picked up some beautiful peaches from the farmer’s market and wanted a nice rustic dessert out of them. I’ve kept it simple here with a peach crostata topped with a brown butter rosemary ice cream.

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Crostata might sound like a fancy word, but really it’s just an Italian version of an open faced pie. And I love me some pie.

In culinary school they taught us to make pie dough two ways – the “Grandma Method” and the quick method. The grandma method takes a little more time and love but the results are better. It involves using your fingertips to work the butter into the dough; whereas the quick method is just cutting it in with a fork or bench knife.

Ripe, juicy peaches don’t need much done to them to be amazing – a little spice and some citrus to brighten them up is all I’ve added.

While making the ice cream, the nutty aroma of brown butter filled my kitchen, a rainy gloomy autumn day outside my windows. What better way to keep the mood than with some Ray Charles on vinyl? There is nothing – nothing – that makes me feel as peaceful as putting on The Sensational Ray Charles, pulling the needle to the right, a sharp “click” as the record starts spinning, the slight scratch of the needle hitting the record, that muffled and soulful voice that emanates through the static and clicks of a vinyl record player. And with a delicious slice of pie and ice cream, know, that this moment is right.

Brown Butter Rosemary Ice Cream

-2 sticks butter
-3 ¾ cup skim milk
-1 cup sugar
-6 egg yolks
-3.5 oz (~1/2 cup) brown butter
-1/2 tsp kosher salt
-3 sprigs rosemary

For the brown butter:

Place the butter in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until it turns brown and smells nutty. Stir the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as it cooks to release the milk solids.

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Bring to a boil the milk, half the sugar, salt, and rosemary. Temper with yolks and remaining sugar. Strain and cool over ice bath. Spin in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Basic Pie Dough

-2 cups all purpose flour
-1 3/4 sticks cold butter, cut into cubes
-pinch of kosher salt
-iced water

Place flour and salt in a bowl. Keeping your butter and water as cold as you can, use your fingertips to quickly work the butter pieces into flakes. Add ice water a tablespoon or two at a time. As soon as you’ve added enough ice water to form a ball with the dough, wrap it in plastic and stick it back in the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes.

Crostata Filling

-4 large peaches, pitted and sliced thinly
-1/2 cup sugar (adjust as needed based on how sweet your peaches are)
-1/8 cup cornstarch
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
-zest of one lemon
-sliced almonds, for sprinkling
-raw or granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Toss together filling ingredients. Roll out your pie dough into a large oval about 1/8” thick. Roll it onto the rolling pin and place on a large ungreased cookie sheet. Place the filling inside – either with the slices neatly aligned or just piled in – it all tastes the same. Fold the edges of the crust up and around the filling. Brush the crust with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle with raw or granulated sugar. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

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Bake in a 400 degree oven until crust is baked, golden, and delicious –about 45 minutes, rotating halfway through. Drizzle with honey and any leftover brown butter before serving.

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