by Cat, May 2009 (Photo from Food Network.com (1))
Includes: 1. Apple Crostata
Tarts are the ancestor of American pies. French tarte are very sophisticated (see Tarte aux Poires for an example); Italian Crostata and French Galettes are rather rustic and homespun. (Crostata/Galette are basically the same, just a different name in different language). But from one extreme to the other, and also in-between, they are simply delicious.
The rustic tarts are formed by rolling out the pastry, arranging the mixture of fruit, starch and sweetener on top, leaving about 2″ exposed pastry all around, then carefully folding that exposed pastry over the filling, and then baking. Small, single-serving tarts make wonderful treats for packing in a lunch bag; larger, multiple-serving tarts are a great presentation at a picnic or informal buffet party.
The rustic tarts do not require a pie pan for baking, though I find that forming and baking the tart in the pan with its slanted sides is easier than forming it on a flat baking sheet, and helps keep the tart’s juices from spreading out and burning.
After testing, I find that my favorite pastry for rustic tarts tea the rich short crusts (Pasta Frolla (Italian), Pastry Sucrée (French) and Galette Rustic Tart Pastry (French); all of these use egg instead of, or in addition to, water to hold the pastry together. The Crostata Rustic Tart Pastry (Italian) is basically a standard American Pie Crust with sugar added, and just doesn’t work as well as the more authentic European pastries.
(photo, right, from Food Network (1))
This recipe is adapted from the Food Network (1), and serves 6 or more. Macoun or Empire apples can be substituted for McIntosh.
However, I like to use a mix of tart and sweet apples (like Macs and gala) for the complex flavor.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 ½ recipes: Pasta Frolla (Italian Rich Short Crust), Galette Rustic Tart Pastry or Pastry Sucrée (French Rich Short Crust) (or 1 recipe Crostata Crust)
- 1 ½ pounds McIntosh apples or mix of tart and sweet apples (3 – 4)
- ¼ tsp grated orange zest
- ¼ cup unbleached white flour
- ¼ cup Rapadura sugar (or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder)
- ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
- ¼ cinnamon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground allspice
- 4 Tbsp (½ stick) cold, unsalted butter, diced
- medium bowl
- small bowl
- pastry cutter or pastry fork
- baking sheet
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Prepare pastry.
- Peel, core and cut apples into 8 wedges. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss with zest in medium bowl. Spread in mound over tart dough, leaving a 2″ border.
- Combine flour, sugar (or stevia), salt and spices in small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Rub with fingers until it starts holding together. sprinkle evenly on the apples.
- Gently fold the border over the apples, pleating as necessary, to make a circle with the apples showing in the center.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until crust is golden and apples are tender. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Assembly or Serving ideas
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream