Crostata alle Mele

Crostata all Mele

Note from sis, Michele :o)  – This is another great recipe from my brother, Joe, who thankfully is starting to post his great recipes as well!  (Once you get to know him, I will stop butting in! ) He is too modest to mention it below but he is teaching a 4-week  Italian cooking class in LA and this is one of his feature recipes for his ‘Winter in Tuscany’ class.  How fun is that!  So check back often as the blogging continues!!  Back to Joe’s wonderful Crostata….

The rustic crostata follows the Italian tradition of free form, unfussy food. It is an Italian baked dessert tart, traditionally prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the top of the fruit filling, creating a more “rough” look, rather than a uniform, circular shape. The fruit can be anything from apple to mixed berry to peaches.

Recipe for one medium tart for about 6 to 8 people.

Ingredients and equipment:

Pastry

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ pound (one stick) very cold unsalted butter
  • Ice water
  • Food processor

Note: You can make the pastry and freeze up to 2 weeks.

Filling

  • 3 large McIntosh, Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter
  • Juice of a ½ lemon
  • The white of 1 egg
  • Cold water
  • Pastry brush (buy the new silicon brushes)
  • Baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Note: Add ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and ⅛ teaspoon of allspice to the fruit mixture for a more American tasting tart.

Note: Use this exact same recipe and substitute peaches, plums, berries or other seasonal fruits.

Directions:

For pastry:

 

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse once. Remove the butter the refrigerator just before using and slice the one stick of butter into small cubes. Pulse the food processor until the mixture is the size of small peas (about 15 times). Then while the food processor is running, very slowly pour the ice water through the spout until the dough forms a ball. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in wax paper and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

For the filling:

Cut the the butter into small cubes and add to a medium bowl. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl and combine all the ingredients. Peel and core the apples and slice each apple into eights. Add the apples to the medium bowl and toss. Add the lemon juice to the medium bowl and stir until all the ingredients are combined and no lemon juice is at the bottom of the bowl.

For the crostata:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Add a little flour to the dough and knead for a minute. Flatten the dough out into a round disk. Roll out into a large circle with a rolling pin. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or the rolling surface, add more flour. Transfer the rolled out dough to the baking sheet.

Spoon the apple mixture into the center of the dough. Fold up the dough around the filling in a pleat pattern. Press lightly to seal. Make an egg wash by lightly whisking the egg white and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Brush the egg wash on the crostata’s dough with the pastry brush.
Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Check after about 10 minutes of baking. If the crostata is browning too fast, place a piece of aluminum foil over the crostata. Cool the crostata to room temperature. Then slice and serve.

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