Cherry, anise, and almond crostata

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Cookbook Author Tara Bench, known to her followers as Tara Teaspoon was in our kitchen today! In her debut cookbook Live Life Deliciously, this season food editor, stylist and recipe developer offers sumptuous nibbles, sides, dinners and dessert recipes that taste as good as they look. 

Are you ready for an easier-than-pie crostata? Tara shows off an easy cherry and frangipane crostata: A crostata is a pie that doesn’t need a pie tin! A baking sheet is all you need. A single pie crust is perfect. Tara uses her buttery pastry that makes two single crusts, so you’ll just want to roll one out.  You could fill this with just fruit, thickener, sugar and a splash of lemon, but she goes one step further to make this unbelievably delicious. Add frangipane.

Her new cookbook is available anywhere online and in Deseret Book stores, great for holiday gifting.

Cherry, anise, and almond crostata


1 cup almonds, sliced or slivered

3⁄4 teaspoon anise seeds

1⁄3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


1⁄2 recipe All-Butter Double-Crust Pastry, prepared

2 cups fresh or frozen sweet cherries, pitted and cut in half

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Toasted almonds, for garnish

Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream for serving

1. Heat oven to 400˚F. Make the filling: In a food processor, combine almonds, anise seeds, sugar, 1 egg, vanilla, and salt. Blend until a paste forms. Add the butter and blend again. Set aside.

2. To make crostata: In a large bowl, toss the cherries with sugar and lemon juice. Set aside.

3. On a sheet of floured parchment, roll out the pastry dough to a 13-inch circle. Transfer dough, while still on parchment, to a rimless cookie sheet.

4. Spread the almond paste onto the pastry circle, leaving a 2-inch border. Scatter or arrange the cherries on top, covering all of the almond paste. Fold the dough up and over the cherries around the edges, pleating the dough as needed.

5. In a small bowl, beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Brush crust’s edge with egg wash and sprinkle crust generously with extra sugar.

6. Bake until cherries are cooked and juicy, 40 to 45 minutes. If crust starts to get too brown, lightly cover with foil. Remove crostata from oven, cool slightly, and sprinkle with extra almonds. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.


If using frozen cherries, let them thaw and reserve any juices for another purpose. Toss the cherries with the sugar and lemon juice. Cherries are a shoo-in for this recipe, but try other fruits depending on the season. Pears are especially lovely with this crostata in the fall.

Deena Manzanares
Deena Marie Manzanares is a Utah native, but lived in NYC for a few years while attending the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. Locally, she has worked as a professional actor for years in both stage and film.

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