Martie Duncan's easy rustic apple crostata
Most people are so afraid of pie crust. I grew up with a mom who was a pie-making machine. It is in my DNA. For those of you who love a homemade pie but don't think you can make a crust, try this one. I promise it is no fail and so easy! This crust works for any number of fruits but apples and peaches work best. A couple of tips: make sure to keep the dough chilled and use fruit that is not too juicy. If you use peaches or berries, you will need to increase the amount of flour in the filling to help it from having too much liquid.
Makes 1 crostata that serves 5-6 depending on how large you cut the slices
FOR THE CRUST
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar plus 1 teaspoon, reserved
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced into cubes
2-3 tablespoons ice water (plus a few drops more if the dough seems dry )
FOR THE FILLING
3 large semi-tart apples
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
1 egg and 1 teaspoon water, beaten well
2 tablespoons Apricot preserves, warmed-reserve for later
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
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 the dry ingredients. Add the butter, a little at a time, pulsing between additions until the butter is like little bb's or peas. Next, with the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured piece of plastic wrap and gently form into a round. Don't over handle or over mix because your dough will be tough. Wrap the round with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the filling: Peel, core and slice apples into 8-12 slices. Put the apple into a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Next, add the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Add the cold butter. Mix all of the ingredients together until the apples are well coated. Set aside.
Assembly: When you are ready to make the crostata, flour a rolling pin. Flour your work surface. Open up the plastic wrap and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle. Wrap the dough over your rolling pin and transfer it to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Work quickly so the crust stays chilled.
Turn the apples out onto the crust, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all the way around. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.
Use a pastry brush to gently brush the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle the reserved 1 teaspoon sugar over the dough.
Bake the crostata for 22 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove and brush on the warmed preserves. Put back in the oven for 5 minutes more or until crust is a deep golden brown. Allow to cool at least 7 minutes before cutting. Just before serving, you can dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with warm caramel sauce that you make it or purchase, or top with a scoop of ice cream.
Caramel sauce is so easy to make and there are several ways to make it. I typically put a cup of sugar into a skillet or saucepan that is not dark like cast iron or non-stick. You need to be able to determine the color of the caramel because it will burn quickly. Over medium high heat, let the sugar heat and start to melt. Swirl the pan frequently once the melting process begins to help the melting process. Don't stir it. Just keep the pan moving and continue to swirl it. Once most of the sugar has melted, lower the heat. Using a fork, whisk in a tablespoon of room temperature butter. Add a few tablespoons of heavy cream, a little at a time until you get the consistency you like. Make sure to whisk constantly. The mixture will bubble up so be very careful as the caramel will burn easily and is very, very hot.
You can also make this with peaches but if they are really ripe and juicy, use a little more flour in the filling!
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