Chez Madeleine

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Goodbye Apples, Hello Asparagus


Today is the first official day of Spring. I'm ready for it. But I'm not ready to say goodbye to apples and comfort food. Braised meats and risottos are giving way to arugula salads with berries and pansies. Winter hang outs give way to giant patios and misters.

Its Festival time. Dogwood. Inman Park. Summerfest. Time to adorn your walls and spend your salary on framing.

As a last hurrah, I'm sharing this recipe for apple crostada that I made for the Oscars. Its the most simple, divine, rustic thing I know. Before the apples disappear (although they never do now due to cross-continental flights), make this crostada. You will be in heaven.

The recipe has a pastry component, but Pillsbury works just fine, and I don't think that anyone can tell the difference.

Apple Crostada
1.5 lbs of McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples
1/4 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick) diced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Unwrap the pastry onto a lightly floured surface; transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

for the filling, peel, and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter into 3 chunks (this is crucial-the chunks contribute to the rustic-ness of the tart). Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks, leaving a 1.5 inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until 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 of the pastry over the apples, pleating and pinching it to make a circle.

bake the crostada for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Let the tart cool for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack.

Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


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