Of all the romantic, nostalgic feelings cooking can inspire, nothing triggers them as easily or as deeply as baking with fruit. Something magical happens to that combination of butter, flour, sugar and sweet, in-season fruit in the oven, as it fill the house with incredible aromas and is guaranteed to bring happiness to anyone lucky enough to help eat it.
Adding a splash of vinegar to your fruit before baking adds a touch of much-needed acidity that cuts through the sweetness of the fruit. Choose a quality balsamic or a premium fruit vinegar and you’ll enhance the complexity of the flavours in those apples, berries, stone fruit or whatever else is in season. Win/win!
Fattorie Giacobazzi fruit vinegars are made by macerating fruit in traditionally-made balsamic vinegar, prepared using centuries-old techniques protected by the governing council in Modena’s strict controls.
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl, then add butter and work quickly to rub it into the flour. Leave a few pea-sized lumps of butter as these will form puffed air pockets in the baked dough.
Transfer flour mix to a clean bench top and pour over the ice cold water. Work quickly to combine the flour and water into a rough dough. Roll the dough out, dusting with extra flour when necessary, then fold in half, rotate 90 degrees and roll out again (the small lumps of butter should create buttery streaks throughout the dough).
Shape into a 3cm thick rectangle, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Preheat your oven to 190C.
Meanwhile combine the sliced fruit with the sugar and balsamic vinegar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved and fruit is coated in syrup.
Again working quickly, remove the dough from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out into a circular or oval shape until around 3mm thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Using your fingers or a slotted spoon, top the dough with fruit, leaving around 6cm of dough around the edge. Fold the edges over, pinching lightly with your fingers to keep it in place.
Brush dough with milk then sprinkle with demerara (or raw) sugar. Bake for 50 minutes, rotating once if your oven bakes unevenly.
Leave for at least 90 minutes before serving. Drizzle with pear balsamic and serve with vanilla ice cream.