Apple Crostata

I have a 'Pink Pearl' apple tree which is an early ripening variety, so as early as July, the deluge starts. One of my favorite ways to get thru the bushels is The Barefoot Contessa's Apple Crostata. It's easier to make than an apple pie and I prefer a higher apple to crust ratio (hey, I'm trying to use up a lotta apples!).

To get the crispiest crust, I bake the crostata directly on top of pizza tiles, but if you don't have tiles, bake on a preheated cookie sheet instead.

Another thing I've discovered from baking a gazillion of these is, that freezing them, even for just 10-15 minutes, somehow makes the crust even better, especially the bottom. My usual process is to assemble the crostata, place in freezer, turn on the oven and once it's preheated, remove the crostata from the freezer and slide onto the heated pizza tiles.

If you have the time, I highly recommend doing this, but of course, if you're in a hurry, you can skip the freeze and bake straight away.

Apple Crostata
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten
Makes two 10-inch (large) or three 8-inch (small) crostatas

The crostata is baked at 425°F (or 400° convection), however, it's not necessary to preheat until later as specified in the recipe.
For the dough, place in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine
2 cup all-purpose flour (260g)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (50g)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Add and pulse additional 12-15 times until butter is size of peas:
14 tablespoons (1 stick + 6 tbs) butter, cut into 3/4" chunks
Run motor while pouring in thru feed tube:
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon ice cold water  
pulse a few more times, but stop before the dough comes together. It should still be a bit crumbly.

Turn dough out onto large sheet of parchment paper and bring edges of parchment paper together to squeeze the crumbles into a cohesive mound. Divide into either two (approx 300g ea) or three (approx 200g ea) equal size pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and mold them into round disks about 1" thick. Refrigerate for at least one hour or you can also freeze disks for later use.

Meanwhile, combine in a large bowl to make filling:
4 pounds peeled, cored, approx. 1" chunks of apples
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (98g)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Set aside while rolling out dough.

Take one disk out of refrigerator, unwrap and place on floured parchment paper.

Roll disk into approx. 14-inch (for large crostata) or 12-inch (for small crostata) circle, flouring if needed to prevent rolling pin from sticking.

Don't worry about the circle being the exact dimensions or perfectly round. This is a rustic dessert! Place rolled out crust on a cookie sheet or pizza pan and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Remove additional disks and repeat.

Remove a rolled out crust from refrigerator. I like to loosen the perimeter of the crust from the parchment paper either by flipping it over and peeling back the parchment or using a dough scraper or spatula and going underneath the crust. This will make it easier later to pleat the edge of the crust.  

Place half or 1/3 of filling in center leaving about a 2" border. Pile apples slightly higher around the outside, forming a bit of a well in the center. Gently fold the border over the apples, pleating to make a circle.

If you like, sprinkle on top and sides:
2-3 tablespoons sanding sugar

Slide the crostata (still on the parchment paper) onto a cookie sheet and place in the freezer.

Preheat oven to 425°F . Place a cookie sheet in the oven too if you're not using pizza tiles.

Once the oven is preheated, slide the frozen crostata, parchment paper and all, directly onto the pizza tiles or preheated cookie sheet.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

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