Apple Cinnamon and Vanilla Crostata
Serves 8 to 10
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup shortening or unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
6-8 cups apples - pared, cored, sliced (1/4 inch thick)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
2 to 3 tablespoons milk or half and half
Sugar (granulated or coarse)
Spray a 10-inch cheesecake pan generously with non-stick cooking spray.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place pan on it.
For the crust, add the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds to blend. Then, drop chunks of butter on top and pulse to cut butter into flour mixture. Stop machine, add egg yolk, lemon juice and most of ice water. Pulse, then process until you have a soft mass of dough, adding additional ice water, as required, to make sure it holds together.Knead dough briefly on a floured work surface. Pat into a disc. Wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to three days).
Prepare apples and place in a large bowl.Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice and toss together. Preheat oven to 425. F.Roll out dough to fit springform pan. Allow for a very large overlap. Press pastry onto
pan sides and bottom. Place fruit mixture inside. With a paring knife, trim off excess dough so that dough is flush with pan edges.
Roll excess dough a little more thinly on a lightly floured pastry board. Cut into 2 or 3-inch triangles, or squares, or odd shapes, with a pizza or serrated pastry wheel.
Brush edges of bottom pastry with some additional milk or cream. Arrange pieces in patchwork fashion, to cover surface of tart. In a small bowl, mix milk or half and half together with egg yolk. Brush top pastry with this. Dust generously with sugar.
Place baking pan on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F. and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes (until pastry is golden brown and juices run).
Cool well (several hours) before removing from pan.Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving if desired.
A rich pastry crust lines a cheesecake panwhich is then filled with mounds of apple slices, kissed with pure vanilla and fresh lemon juice. Strips of pastry, cut in odd shapes with a serrated pastry wheel create the unusual top crust. Any way you patch together the pastry over the fruit will yield a beautiful finished crostata.The cheesecake pan helps whip the crostata, otherwise a free-form pastry, into shape for fine dining.