I learned so much in the last few days. Important things.
Like last night, I was at a photography class and learned I don’t need to adjust white balance ~ my camera is smart enough to do that for me.
The day before, I learned that there are lovely places in Austin I know nothing about like Bell & Bird and that the best baking apples have smooth bottoms … like these Empire apples.
Of course, one of the most enlightening things I learned (aside from this little, itty-bitty personal revelation) is that there is such a thing as Apple Crostata.
Roxann baked this up for our little bible study Tuesday (she said these recipes inspired her!). And not only was it fabulously delicious ~ it converted me into an apple-pastry kind of girl. I have never really liked apple pie that much ~ but this is different. Just the right amount of apple. The perfect pastry. Oh, you simply must add it to your autumn arsenal. I mean, look at it. Mmmm.
For the pastry: 2 cups all-purpose flour * ¼ cup granulated or superfine sugar * ½ teaspoon kosher salt * ½ pound very cold unsalted butter, diced
For the filling (1 tart): 1 ½ pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples * ¼ tsp grated orange zest * ¼ cup all-purpose flour * ¼ cup granulated or superfine sugar * ¼ teaspoon kosher salt * ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon * 1/8 teaspoon allspice * 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), diced
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 toss quickly with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12-15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add ¼ cup ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and form into 2 disks. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate one of the disks at least 1 hour. Freeze the rest of the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 450.
Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
For the filling, peel, core, and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks, leaving a 1 ½ inch border. 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, pleating it to make a circle.
Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Let the tart cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer to a wire rack. Serves 6
I realize that this recipe requires using a processor. And of course, chilling the pastry, etc. etc. etc. But can I let you in on a little secret that might just convince you to try this for a holiday meal? Roxann made it the night before and just popped it in the oven for a few minutes to warm it up. Yes, she’s a brave, creative girl ~ and she absolutely converted me to apple pastry deliciousness.
… simple thanksgiving for Roxann’s hospitality (and of course, Ina’s genius!).
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