July 4th 2004: I made this recipe 30 times in a row for the annual buffet held by Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell at the Federal Reserve. Washington D.C. is a great (as in, interesting, fun, dramatic,) place to work with a fantastic catering company, as I did, and the Federal Reserve has a view of the fireworks display. Did I mention this was my first cooking job? It wasn’t my actual first event, but I had certainly never been in charge of dessert for 350 people before.
The theme was American food. There were ’stars n’ stripes’ blueberry cobblers from the Joy of Cooking, bite-sized pecan and fruit tarts, lemon squares, mini whoopie pies, and brownies (from a box, like we do it in America when we’re short of time). This apple crostata, rather than a traditional lattice or covered pie was the off-speed impression of pie that I wanted to share with the audience at that moment in time. I remember being really impressed with tossing orange zest throughout the apples, and how it made the apples smell and taste so exotic. That morning, by 8 a.m. I had already made this recipe about 14 times. I loved every apple chunk, flake of zest, and crumb of crumble! I’ve been making this crostata ever since, even though Mr. Greenspan told me that night that his favorite was the blueberry cobbler.
This treasured apple crostata recipe from the barefoot contessa (http://barefootcontessa.com/) involves both a rustic short-dough crust, AND, a crumble topping! Oh, and a food processor.
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ c. sugar
½ t. salt
½ lb. butter, very cold
¼ c. ice water
Use a food processor to pulse the butter into pea sized pieces and then pulse while adding the ice water to bring the dough together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Then divide into two discs for rolling out (makes two 11 inch discs). Toss apple chunks (or other fruit works too, in pieces) into the middle of the disc, top with some citrus zest, and fold 1 ½ inches of the disc into a border.
Top with: ¼ cup all purpose flour, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ t. salt, ¼ t. cinnamon, pinch of allspice, 4 T. butter, diced
Ang again, send the mixture, pulsing, through the food processor-
pack on top of the apples before baking, 450’ on a lined sheet pan until golden (20-25 minutes).