Brian Boitano’s Pear and Almond Crostata

1 (8-ounce) package Cream Cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour (plus more for dusting)
2 Eggs (divided)1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 (7-ounce) packages of Almond Paste
4 Pears (peeled)
2 tablespoons Raw Sugar
1 pint Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
1/4 cup sliced Almonds (toasted)
8 fresh Mint sprigs
Divide each package of almond paste into 4 equal portions. Dust a work surface with flour and roll each portion into a 6-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick.

Place 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of each round. Spread the filling out in an even layer, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge of the round.

Cut each pear in half and remove the seeds and fibrous spine using a paring knife or melon baller. Cut each half into 5 slices. Fan out 5 of the pear slices on top of the filling in the center of a round. Gently fold the edges of the almond paste over the edge of the filling all the way around. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ingredients, filling both sheets.

Whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl until well blended. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each crostata with the egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake the crostatas until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve each crostata on a plate with a small scoop of ice cream, if desired, and garnished with sliced almonds and mint.

Helpful Tip:
1. Try this recipe with different fruit or berries. When using berries, combine with cornstarch to thicken the excess liquid.

Blueberry Crostada

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3-5 tablespoons ice water
1 lemon, zest finely grated
save 1/4 tsp for filling

2 c. fresh blueberries
NOTE: for frozen berries use I bag (2.5-3 cups), increase sugar to 1.5 tbsp and flour to 1.5 tbsp.
1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp. butter
frosting sugar
milk wash

To make the crust:
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a processor. Add the butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the lemon zestice and water and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. (If the dough still crumbles and does not form into a ball, add another tablespoon of ice water.) Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 30 min-1 hour.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a heavy baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.

For the filling:
Add the rinsed blueberries to a bowl and toss them with 1 tablespoon of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the lemon zest, and the lemon juice. Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge.

Brush crust with milk and sprinkle frosting sugar over crust. Dot the filling with butter.

Bake the crostata for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool on rack, serve warm or at room temperature.