autumn happiness

Yes, I am still blogging.  I apologize for being MIA for the last few weeks.  The craziness of being a student teacher has started to kick in.  I am enjoying it, but it feels as if I get more and more tired every day!  The long Rosh Hashana weekend has brought some much needed relaxation and celebration, and I finally got to really enjoy my favorite season.  Besides welcoming in the Jewish new year, Mike and I celebrated five years of our wonderful relationship by renting a cabin in Montauk for the night.  It was perfect.  We enjoyed some cheese and crackers, chips and dip, and pumpkin beer with a cinammon sugar rim (as seen above) in the cabin while it rained outside.  It cleared up just in time for a walk to the beach around sunset and then we ate a late dinner at Dave’s Grill (arancini with smoked mozerrella and chipotle tomato sauce, monterey jack and goat cheese quesadillas, and chocolate banana bread pudding).  It was a short, sweet, and delicious escape from reality.

   

As I said, autumn is truly my favorite season.  I love the crisp weather, the hearty food, and the occasions that fall into the months of September, October, and November.  So, I will leave you with my first seasonal recipe of autumn: cinammon apple crostata — a fall twist on this summer fruit crostata.

Cinammon Apple Crostata

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water
 
For the filling:
  • 2 1/2 lbs. apples (I used a mix of Gala and Granny Smith) 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
 
For the crumb topping:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced

Method

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine.  Ad the butter and toss with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a flat disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

For the filling, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, cinammon, and nutmeg. Add the apples and lemon juice and toss to coat the apples.

Transfer the apples to the crust, leaving a 3-inch border. Fold outer edges of crust over apples, pleating as needed.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, and oatmeal in a large bowl. Add butter and combine with fingers until butter is evenly distributed and crumbs form. Sprinkle topping over the crostata.

Bake until juices are thick and bubbling, about 1 hour. Let crostata cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

Recipe inspired by Ina Garten’s summer fruit crostata and Bon Appetit’s apple crostata

How I eat it: right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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summer fruit crostata

If you haven’t yet deduced from my blog thus far, I am a huge fan of fresh produce.  Although I am usually chocolaty dessert person, I do like baking pies and crisps and crostatas and such with fresh seasonal fruits. I made this crostata for the first time last summer and it is one of my favorites fruity recipes. The best thing about it is that you can use the basic shell and crumbly topping and fill it with any fruits that are in season!  I’m thinking some apples, cranberries, and cinnamon may be nice in the autumn…

I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten who is my favorite Food Network star.  Her food always utilizes fresh ingredients and is entirely homemade – two of my main criteria when I go recipe-hunting.

I took over 50 pictures when baking the crostata, so I am going to try a bit of a new format with the recipe portion of this post.  I liked putting the ingredients and instructions in a table and inserting it as an image so it would be printable, but in this case I think that seeing the pictures at each stage of the baking may be nice.

Summer Fruit Crostata

Ingredients

For the pastry:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ tsp. kosher salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced

3 tbsp. ice water

 

For the filling: 

1 lb. firm ripe peaches, peeled and cut in wedges

½ lb. firm ripe nectarines, peeled and cut in wedges

½ pint fresh blueberries

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ tsp. grated orange zest

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

 

For the crumb topping:

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp. kosher salt

4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced


Method

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine.  Ad the butter and toss with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a flat disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

                                           

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a baking sheet.

For the filling, mix the peaches, nectarines, and blueberries with the flour, sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.

Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1-inch border.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and rub with your fingers until it starts to hold together.  Sprinkle evenly over the fruit.

Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge.  Press the pleats with the prongs of a fork if you desire.

Bake the crostata for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature. (Although, I’m a little strange and I also like it cold right out of the fridge too.)

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

How I eat it: fresh out of the oven with a tall glass of milk.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the format!