We're all down to the last hours of preparation for the big Thanksgiving feast, so I'll keep this quick and to the point. Crostata, the Italian relative of the French galette, is a rustic tart that provides all of the flakiness of a good pie, only without the blind baking process.
From the time you start mixing the dough until the moment the crostata emerges from the oven, it will take around an hour and 45 minutes. Twenty minutes or so to make the dough and get the apples sliced up, 30 minutes while the dough rests and apples macerate, another 10 minutes to roll out the dough and fill it, and 40 to 45 minutes for baking.
To speed things up further, you could use frozen puff pastry dough, and keep the crostata more rectangular than oval in shape.
|See? Very flaky.|
Apple-Cinnamon Crostata, serves 12 to 16
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pea-sized pieces
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) cold shortening, cut into pea-sized pieces
3/4 cup to 1 cup cold water
6 medium apples (approximately 2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins (optional), soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained before being added to the apple mixtureCream wash and sugar for sprinkling:
2 tablespoons light cream or milk to brush over the crust before baking
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar for dusting the crust
In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt, mixing well to distribute all of these dry ingredients.
Add the butter and shortening to the flour mixture. Work the flour from the bottom of the bowl up to the top, distributing the butter and shortening pieces evenly throughout the flour mix. Gently squash any larger-than-pea-sized pieces of butter or shortening you come across.
Using a fork, add the ice-cold water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into a ball.
Place a piece of plastic wrap of approximately 9-by-12 inches on your work surface. Turn the dough out onto the plastic wrap, and flatten it into a thick round. Cover the dough round with the plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, and cinnamon, and set them aside so that the apples can macerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Get out your 10-by-15 inch rimmed baking sheet.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper that is slightly larger than your 10-by-15 inch baking sheet.
I typically use the plastic wrap from the refrigerator resting time to cover the top of the dough while rolling it out, as I think it works a little better than dusting the rolling pin with flour.
Working from the center of the dough round, roll out the dough to a misshapen rectangle approximately 10-by-15 inches.
Once the dough is rolled out, remove the plastic wrap from the top of the dough, some bits of dough will stick to the plastic wrap, but our crostata is rustic, so don't fret over a little thing like that.
Slide the parchment paper with the dough onto the baking sheet, add the plumped raisins to the apple mixture, stir well, then fill the dough with the apples.
Place the apples and their accumulated juices in the middle of the misshapen dough rectangle, spreading the apples around so that there is a 1-inch apple-free border of dough. Working from the long sides first, fold the dough border back over the apples, then fold the dough border on the short ends over the apples, tucking the corners up and over the dough to seal the apples in, leaving a center of exposed apples.Pour the cream or milk into a small bowl, then brush it over the crust. Sprinkle the crust with the turbinado sugar, and bake until the crust is golden brown and the apples are bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the crostata from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before slicing away.
While we're talking crostatas, galettes, tarts, and desserts, if you're looking for a savory tart for the holiday (or for after the holiday), try Alison Lewis' fabulous-looking beetroot, goat cheese, and hazelnut tart, and if you're looking for something a little sweeter, perhaps with bourbon and chocolate (yowza!), check out Rebecca Lang's Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.