Apple Crostata

When I walked out of my house this morning, the cold air shocked me. It was only in the forties, but for the first time this year, it truly felt like fall. The dry air whispered through the dying leaves, promising that fall is truly beginning.

I used to have a strong dislike for apple pie, but as I have grown older, I have separated apple pie into two categories: mushy, too-sweet "diner" pie and tart, lemony, cinnamon-y apple pie with a perfectly flaky crust. I still hate the former, but I have a growing appreciation for the latter. That said, pie is a lot of work. My roommate will spend the afternoon making a pie crust by hand, shaping a beautiful and perfect pie--she has the patience for this and her pies are DELICIOUS.

I was inspired by her pies, but wanted to do something a little less, well, time consuming.  I was inspired by the tomato and goat cheese crostata I made a few weeks ago, and made up a little recipe for an apple crostata.  The crust is actually the same as for the goat cheese crostata (inspired by Jack Bishop), but without the rosemary and with a little cloves or nutmeg added (some apple pie spice--choose your favorite and throw in a pinch!). With the food processor, the dough took 5 minutes to make and only an hour to chill.

Apple Crostata

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4-5 tbsp ice water

Place the flour, salt, and rosemary in a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs, about ten 1-second pulses.

Add the water, 1 tbs at a time, and pulse briefly after each addition. After 4 tbs of water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if it will come together. If not, add the remaining 1 tbs water. Process just until the dough comes together in a rough ball. (Bishop says: "Do not overprocess or the dough will not be flakey"). Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and knead briefly to for a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

While the dough was chilling, I sliced 4-5 apples very, very thinly and tossed them in lemon juice (2-3 tbs or more to taste!), the zest of 1 lemon, cinnamon (1-2 tsp), as well as a pinch of nutmeg and allspice. I let them sit in this "dressing" until the dough came out of the fridge.

Roll out the crust, and arrange the apples in circles, slightly overlapping them. Fold the edges of the crust over the outer circle of apples and pinch together any parts that are open. Sprinkle with a little bit of cinnamon. Bake at 375ยบ for 30-40 minutes.

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