Filed under: Dessert, Food and Recipes | Tags: Apple Crostata, Apples, dessert, Italian Dessert, Pastry Crust, Pastry Dough
I apologize for my aforementioned bad mood. I’ve solved the problem, and I’ve given myself a therapy session. It involved a homemade pastry crust, beautifully pink honeycrisp apples, and cinnamon. Not to mention lots of warm tea and coffee in a coffee mug that my husband bought for me while we were dating (I’m sentimental like that), cooking magazines, and cooking shows.
A crostata is an Italian free-form dessert tart. So you’ll forgive the uneveness of the crust; it’s rustic, okay? In this case, I made the pastry dough, chilled it in the fridge. Then, I sliced some apples, rolled out the dough (as I muttered under my breath because I forgot to flour the parchment paper and was rolling it out over a dishwasher that was drying at the moment), proceeded to scrape the dough from the parchment paper over the apples, and then baked to golden deliciousness (if that’s a word). Afterwards, I doused it in a good bit of heated apricot jam to give it the golden sheen that you will note, and barely let it cool before I ripped in and cut me off a piece, then did the hot potato dance as I tasted it.
You see, the therapy in the crostata is this: it is irresistable. It is sitting on my kitchen counter and is calling my name each time I walk past. The smell is still lingering in the air from it’s beautification in the oven. Each time I walk past it, I admire it, and promptly slice me another bite. Since 8 pm last night, half the crostata has disappeared, and I’ve been the only one eating it. Don’t judge. You wouldn’t be able to resist its temptations either.
The other end of the therapy is that I made some royal mistakes with the crostata along the way. Yet, somehow, it turned out perfect. Which, by default, makes this dessert pretty foolproof. You don’t even have to peel apples. It’s just a quick blitz in the food processor, a chill, a slice, a roll, a fold, and a bake. That’s it. You can’t even mess up the assembly. Heck, because I forgot to flour the parchment paper I rolled on, and because I rolled next to a heat source, I had to use a knife to scrape the dough up over the apples, and it was still perfect. That’s saying a good deal.
It’s also beautiful enough to serve to guests, which makes an easy, foolproof dessert even sweeter…and did I mention how delicious it tastes?
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks, chilled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
3 tablespoons ice water
3 small honeycrisp apples (or good in-season cooking apple of your choice), cored, cut into approximately 1/8 inch thick slices
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup apricot jam
1. Make the crust: Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Give a few pulses to combine. Then add the butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, and the butter is pea sized. Then, add the ice water and pulse until the dough clumps together. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a ball, and press into a disc. Wrap the disc in the plastic wrap and stash in your refrigerator for about 1 hour.
2. Position an oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
3. Prepare the filling: Core your apple and cut into approximate 1/8 inch thick slices. Place in a bowl and toss with lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
4. Prepare the crust: Remove your crust from the fridge. On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll your dough out into an 11-inch round. Transfer parchment with dough to a large baking sheet.
5. Prepare the crostata: Spoon your apple mixture over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border of the dough around the apples. Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round, leaving the apples exposed in the center. Pleat loosely and pinch the dough to seal any cracks. Brush the crust and apples with the egg wash mixture.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until apples are tender and the crust is golden. In a bowl, heat your apricot jam in the microwave until melted. Then, dab and liberally coat the top and all exposed areas of the crostata with the melted jam. This keeps the crostata moist and adds the characteristic glaze. Flavors of the crostata are best at room temperature (if you can resist that long).
Crostatas are Italian, but Gallettes are French. They are one in the same. If you are looking for a lighter version of this dessert, and you don’t feel like making your pastry crust or you don’t have a food processor, you can go here.
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