Crostata, Apple


Washington, DC got off lightly compared to what the Polar Vortex did to the Midwest but it's still pretty chilly here.  The only acceptable attire for the commute was coats that look like sleeping bags and duckboots with goretex AND thinsulate AND those Lithuanian wool socks you stole from your mother (am I the only one stealing Lithuanian socks from their mother?).  After bundling myself into work and back again it seemed like the sort of day for potatoes.  Potatoes and roast carrots and maybe brussel sprouts and definitely, definitely apple crustada and caramel sauce.

My baby brother has descended once again for a round of job interviews in DC and so we roasted a chicken, mashed some potatoes, and ate dessert.   Apple crostata, vanilla ice cream and cardamom caramel sauce.  Give it a go, it's so easy and perfect for this week.  Warming and lovely.


Apple Crostata with Walnuts

For crust: 
1.5 cups flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into wee pieces
5ish tablespoons of ice water

For filling:
4 apples (I used a variety, whatever you have on hand), peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmug
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 egg yoke
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Combine the flour sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse to blend.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.  Add a bit of water at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture starts to hold together.  Turn out the mixture on to a clean surface and form it into a 1 inch round, wrap it in parchment paper and pop it in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Combine all the filling ingredients except the egg and cream. 

Roll the dough out to a 13 inch round, about 1/4 inch thickness (you really don't want to roll it too thin, it has a tendancy to leak delicious juices out the bottom).  Move the dough to a cookie sheet.  Load all the lovely filling in the middle of the crust and bring the dough up around the filling.   Mix the egg yoke and cream and brush it all over the crust.

Bake until it's all lovely and brown and delicious, about 40 minutes.

Cardamom Caramel Sauce
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of water
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Place the sugar and water in a sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, it takes about five minutes, swirling occasionally.   Once you can't see anymore sugar, increase the heat to high and cook without stirring until the mixture turns a medium brown.  Don't walk away. Seriously,  don't.  It will magically burn as soon as you turn away.   Once it turns brown, pull it from the heat and stir in the cream.  It will foam and bubble all over but just whisk until it looks all smooth and yummy.  Then add your cardamom and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.  YUM.