Sunday, July 13, 2008

Apple Crostata (Baked Apple Volcano)

Apple Crostata

Show: Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten
Episode: Cucina Simpatica
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Inspired by George Germon and Johanne Killeen.

For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 lb. (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoon ice water

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Place the flour, 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 to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the 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 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. 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.

Personal Note: This is yummy; it's pretty much a more novel (and hence strangely impressive) and rustic version of apple pie, and it looks so cool. I don't know where Ina learned how to do baked crusts, but every recipe she writes with one always has an amazing crust that comes out perfectly no matter what (and this is saying a lot, coming from me who usually sucks at delicate baking components such as crusts from scratch). If you're interested in what it looks like in its pre-baked form, here's a picture from here. That was last Christmas I think... As you can see, it's basically like a tidy crispy little spiced apple volcano. Hee.

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