Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apples to Apples

Dear Mouse,

OK this is totally my third post in a row but A) this gives you more time to prepare The Honeymoon Post (!!) and B) I'll just be a second. Consider this a Breaking (or, Baking) News Flash.

Every once in a while I am lucky enough to discover/assemble/fall into something in the kitchen that sends me literally scurrying to the laptop like one of your kind to share it with the world.

It's the thick of autumn, and that means apples. And if you're lucky: apple picking.

Hard-Won Macouns.

This was a remarkable two-time orchard excursion week for me, with visits to Solebury Orchard in NJ and I-can't-remember-its-name in NY on Sunday and Monday. To pace myself, I decided to leave all the beautiful Solesbury winesaps and topazes with my friends in NJ... and then found myself cursing this restraint while shaking and climbing the nearly-bare NY trees for the paltry few Golden Delicious and Macouns still hanging on. (At least I know I can still climb a little, with the right incentive.) So.. the moral I guess is... gather ye winesaps while ye may.

Synchronized Fujis

I still brought home probably a good five pounds of rosy speckled globes. And the very first thing I made with them is, quite simply, the best apple-related dessert that I, personally, have made...

Rosemary-Apple Crostata. You heard me.

.. and made UP! On the fly!

Ok I am certainly not the first person to think of this flavor melange. However, while it there is nothing new under the sun and it turned out there was already in fact a recipe for 'Rosemary Apple Tart' on the very splendid Splendid Table web site, I didn't yet KNOW that when the thought of rosemary flitted across my brain. So I still feel a kind of proud ownership.

In the end, I conflated two recipes: the Splendid Table Tart with its bewitching rosemary-lemon-rubbed sugar, and the simple, rustic form of the Apple Crostata from Ye Olde Ina Garten. And let me tell you ... it works. Not only does it work, it makes me never want to eat apples baked without rosemary again. It's homey, sweet, classic, appley . It's woodsy, perfumed, autumnal, intoxicating.

And now I just need to do something with the other 4lbs.


The Boo

The Boo's Rosemary-Lemon Apple Crostata
(with love to Lynn Rossetto Kasper and Ina G.)

Ina's recipe sets you up with a crostata's worth of extra dough in your freezer! I rolled it out quite thin and wound up cutting away some of it, which I liked a lot ... but I'm not really a thick-crust kind of girl.

2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound very cold unsalted butter, diced
1/4 C ice water

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. **Note: I approximated this by hand as I don't have a food processor.** 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 2 discs. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate one of the discs for at least 1 hour. Freeze the rest.

1 lb (ie, 3 med apples or 2 large), peeled, cored, chunked

1/3 C sugar
2 tsp loosely-packed fresh rosemary leaves
zest from about a third of a lemon? Maybe a half, up to you
1 tsp cinnamon
somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 C flour
5 tbsp (a little more than a half a stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 450. Roll out crust to an 11 in circle and lay it on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a sprayed/floured pie pan (I liked the pan). Arrange the apples in the center of the circle leaving a 1.5-in border.

Put the sugar in a small mixing bowl. Grate the lemon zest directly into it and rub it in with your hands a bit (it will smell fantastic). Add the rosemary leaves and maybe squnch again (again with the fantastic). Add the butter and flour and rub in with your fingertips til it starts holding together. Sprinkle/distribute it evenly over the apples.

Fold in the edges of the dough in a circle, all around the apples, leaving it open in the middle a la the picture above.

Put it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden and apples are tender.

Let it stand for 5 minutes after you take it out. And then I suggest pouring a bit of cream over
the slice you cut for yourself directly afterwards.


Anonymous said...

yuummmmm - I see a cookbook in the making

sounds like a great thanksgiving dinner contribution...mouthwatering recipe, Boo.
can't wait to try this one.
lovely pictures btw
makes me wanna go out there for cider/donuts/apples/pumpkins
(is it tastier than your grandma's apple pie? is anything?)

CT Gramma said...

Okay, so what's that bottle of Maker's Mark doing in the picture? I didn't see that in the recipe. Not that that would be a bad thing. Is it an accompaniment?

The Boo said...

yes! suggested accompaniment. it felt fall-ish.