Monday, October 8, 2007

Apple Crostata

Autumn's abundant apples!! I love the fact that my grocery store sells little totes of apples (1/2 peck) because it allows me to generally have apples in the house all the time during the fall. Mostly I eat them for a snack during the day but sometimes I need to splurge, ya know? So when I feel the need to splurge, rest assured, apples will most likely be involved.

I stumbled across this mouth-watering Ina Garten recipe last week and after seeing her make it a couple of weeks ago, I decided to have a hand at it. Let it be said that I've never, ever, made my own pie or pastry dough but Ina has a way of making dough preparation look so easy. So as many times as I've watched her make dough, I decided that I worked up my confidence enough to give it a shot....

As you are all my witnesses, I vow to never buy another store-bought pie/pastry dough again. This really was as easy as Ina has made it out to be and by allowing the dough to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours thereby breaking the recipe prep steps in half, the recipe was all that much easier to prepare. The dough came together in a snap, even when using my crappy and difficult to use 7 cup Black and Decker food processor - purchased years ago. :: Note to self: put 11 cup Cuisinart food processor on Christmas list :: And because I made sure to use cold (read: nearly frozen) butter, the crust came out perfectly flaky and just sweet enough to complement the apples and crumble topping. In the future, I will double the pastry dough recipe and freeze one to have on hand for another time.

Ina's apple crostata is a keeper in my house from here on out. It is an easy and more rustic alternative to apple pie (not to mention a few less calories because there is only a bottom crust) and can really be whipped up quickly in case of unexpected autumnal house guests. Once again, another wonderful Ina recipe!!

Apple Crostata
source: Ina Garten
Inspired by George German & Johanne Killeen Cucina Simpatica

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar (I used granulated)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  1. For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (I chilled the dough for about 3 1/2 hours.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.
  4. For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
  5. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.
  6. Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes (mine needed about 28-30 minutes), until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Active prep time: 20 minutes

Inactive prep time: 1 to 4 hours

Cook time: 25 - 30 minutes

Serves: 6-8

1 comment:

MrsPresley said...

yum!! you may have inspired me to make my own pie crust in the future :)