I like to use blood plums when they're in season but this recipe can easily adapt as the year evolves. Apricots work a treat, perfectly ripe figs and blackberries are great together, and in the colder months a quick compote of apples and prunes is delicious.
8 ripe blood plums
3 tbsp coarse raw sugar
1 egg, whisked
250ml (1 cup) thickened cream
2 tbsp castor sugar
2 tbsp chilled water
500g (3⅓ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g castor sugar
pinch of salt
375g salted butter, cut into 1cm cubes and frozen for 30 minutes
1. To make the pastry, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk with the cold water.
2. Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the beaten eggs, and pulse until just combined. Place on a clean bench and bring the mix together with your hands (there should still be some lumps of butter) to make a smooth dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Remove dough from fridge. Lightly flour and roll into a large round about 3mm thick. Place on a lined baking tray and refrigerate until needed.
4. Cut plums into 6-8 wedges and toss gently with 1 tablespoon of the raw sugar in a medium bowl. Remove pastry from fridge, place plums into the centre of the pastry leaving a 2cm border all around.
5. Working quickly, fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating as you go, leaving a large opening at the top. Refrigerate on the tray for at least half an hour before baking.
6. When you are ready to cook the crostata, preheat oven to 200C (180C fan-forced).
7. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle pastry and exposed plums with the remaining raw sugar. Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden. If the pastry is getting too dark, reduce temperature to 170C (150C fan-forced). When you think the pastry is ready, remove from oven and, using a spatula, lift slightly and gently. If the base has not coloured or crisped up, return to oven for another 10 minutes and check again. It is key that the base is golden to prevent it becoming soggy.
8. Whip cream and sugar in a small bowl until thick. Serve warm crostata sliced with a dollop of cream.
■ You can whip the cream without sugar, if you prefer, or add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
■ You can make the dough in advance – keep it wrapped in the fridge for up to two days.