This homespun tart is made with pears or dried figs in the winter and peaches or fresh figs in the summer. We usually accompany it with an ice cream that accents the flavor of the fruit. Vanilla, of course, is always right, but cinnamon, almond, hazelnut, or lemon works well too. A zabaglione ice cream might be the perfect garnish or simply a brandy-flavored whipped cream.
One of the greatest attributes of this tart, second only to its wonderful flavor, is its rustic appearance. The top crust is molded into an artless bumpy form by the fruit underneath. So if you are not a professional baker, never fear—lumpy is good! It is the loving-hands-at-home approach that makes it so endearing.
I am indebted to Marion Cunningham, Rick O’Connell, and Carol Field for this recipe.
A few words about cornmeal crusts. They are crumbly, rich, and delicate, more cookielike than crustlike (rather like the crust of the Crostata di Ricotta). It is therefore wise to roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap so that it doesn’t tear or stick.