10.27.2012

Autumn

How on earth did the summer go by so quickly?


Autumn is here, and my thoughts turn to changes I will see in the upcoming Sunday farmers markets.

Summer fruits and vegetables are steadily giving way to their autumnal counterparts: melons succeeded by hearty, orange-fleshed squashes... berries by pistachios and pecans... peaches and apricots by apples and pears.

Apples and pears, especially.

Recently I have been making a lot of pear dishes: the pasta purses with pears and cheese, salads with a vinaigrette using pear balsamic vinegar (a gift from my friend Laura and her daughter, Hope), and next week I will be sharing a recipe I devised for a pear-honey-lime mousse.

But, this week, malus domestica is the apple of my eye...

Nothing in my estimation can beat Mom's Apple Pie. Hers, to me, is the perfect balance of crust to fruit, sugar to spice, fork to mouth.

But, as much as the classics are, well... classics, I like to mix things up a bit and do some cross-cultural experimentation. Mark points out that there are no native American ingredients in apple pie, so I felt licensed to play! Today's recipe is the perfect example. An apple crostata - a blend of Mom's apple pie and the rustic, Italian, single-crust crostata.

You may recognize the recipe for my tart crust dough - I used it a while back for my Lemon-Blueberry Tart. It is very short, and remains tender and, in this instance, is laced with rosemary.

Crostate are most often baked on a cookie sheet and not in a pie plate. However, I used a pie plate just in case the filling got too oozy. No need to clean the oven on a beautiful autumn day, right?

I hope that, wherever you are, you are enjoying your autumn weather and the fruits of your season!

~ David

Apple Crostata

leaves from one 10-inch spring fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus additional
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons ice water

1½ pounds McIntosh apples (5-6 medium)

¼ cup dried currants
grated zest of 1 large orange
¼ cup flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced


In a spice grinder, pulverize the 2 tablespoons sugar with the rosemary until fine; it will clump a little. Place the flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon), rosemary-scented 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 (up to 30 times) to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the crumbly dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet or, as I did, into a pie plate.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into eighths. Cut each wedge into three chunks. Toss the chunks with the currents and orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

11 comments:

  1. I'm wondering if I lean in closer I might catch a whiff of your beautiful crostata? Your addition of rosemary reminds me of an experimental recipe I made last year. A combo of white chocolate with rosemary & pinenut praline, in a crunchy wonton. Crazy.
    I'm going to keep your rosemary pastry in mind for who-knows-what sweet delight I whip up. Love this recipe and the fact you baked it in a pie plate. Nobody likes to clean the oven!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks unbelievably delicious. And Your post just makes me even more excited for Fall...my favorite season. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to start adding herbs to sweet doughs, there are so many combinations. I love crostats, I don´t really know why, maybe the way they are so rustic it implies seasonal fruits or vegetables. It looks perfect Davis, all golden! And I love the color of the plate. And I can´t wait for the mousse! Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am staying with my daughter and helping out as she just had her baby. I would love to make this, but need a substitute for the spice grinder.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks YUMMY!!! Will include it on the Thanksgiving menu. Thanks, David!

    ReplyDelete
  6. mmmmmm...apple pie. And rosemary sugar in the crust seems like a stroke of brilliance to me! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This sounds wonderful - can't wait to try it. And I'm so glad you thought of putting the crostata in a pie plate - my brain never went there an I have cleaned my oven several times with crostata overflow!

    ReplyDelete
  8. John - your crispy wontons do sound amazing and crazy - rosemary (and basil and thyme and lemon verbena and...) are so much fun to use in sweet dishes. My first was a dessert basil cheesecake in Vancouver at the rain City Grille just after it opened.

    Thanks, Ahu! Autumn is - and always has been - my favorite season. Great foods and holidays!

    Paula - yes, definitely you need to get some herbs into your sweets! Like a dash of sugar to a savory, it brings out so many other flavors! I hope you like the mousse!

    Holly - just chop the rosemary really finely with a knife and then mix it with the sugar. That should work beautifully! Gongrats on your grandmother-hood!

    Kirsten - it is a nice Thanksgiving alternative to the norm. Maybe I will do that, too!

    Karin - any apple pie is a good pie, n'est-ce pas? (How does one say n'est-ce pas in Italian?)

    Peg - I learned the hard way about crostate overflowing - at the very least I use a cookie sheet with one-inch sides!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love the use of rosemary here! My herbs are growing like crazy and I have big plans for the likes of my basil, lemon verbena and lemon balm. Gosh, I am sort of wishing we were heading into the cooler months now that i have seen this pie!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Rosemary is so interesting.
    It's taking over our garden. Now I know what to do w it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anna - a summer pie with basil or lemon verbena would be amazing! lemon verbena and berries??? Count me in!

    Colette - another great one for your rosemary is my recipe for rosemary corn cakes... LOVE them!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.