Monday, March 3, 2014

Let Crostata season begin!

How can I turn down a special request? Rarely will I turn down a genuine request, especially when in the end I know the final result will bring a smile to someone's face and bring joy to their day.

This was such a request. One Apple Crostata hand delivered just the way the Birthday Girl likes. Flaky crust gently folded over seasoned apples with only the best ingredients to heighten the tastes and flavor.

Apples are peeled, cut and cored into wedge slices and tossed with cinnamon, brown sugar, Baker's sugar, vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and marinated in the fridge for 30 minutes. Next make the crust ...see prior Crostata posts or Giada De Laurentis's recipe. Chill crust in refrigerator for one hour.
Take the marinated apples out of the fridge and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon. I used Meyers lemon... tangy, but slightly sweet to help bring out the natural flavor of the apples. Pour the mixture in to a saucepan and a tablespoon of butter. Let butter melt and then add the apples. Simmer on low with the lid on to steam the apples for 2-3 minutes. Don't overcook the apples, you just want to make them slightly tender. Let the apples cool before you add them to the crust. Don't want to melt that cooled butter.
Take the crust out of the fridge and roll out and place the cooled apples in circular motion in the center of the rolled crust. Any juice at the bottom of the pan? Don't be tempted to drizzle the juice on top of the apples before baking... it will just make the crust soggy while baking.  Once the apples are in place, fold the edges over the apples and as seen below Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and crust is hollow to the touch about 40 minutes.
After the Crostata has cooked and while still hot place a dab of butter on the exposed hot apples. No is the time to take that reserved juice and drizzle gently (only on the apples) and watch them sizzle and glisten.
Wait for 10 minutes before you cut the pie. Or in my case before I deliver a piece of heaven to the Birthday Girl.
Cooking with love always makes any recipe taste better... and in this case also makes people smile. Happy Birthday Nakita!