Mary's Apple And Pear Crostata*

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Easy

A crostata is an Italian style free-form tart. It has a rustic appearance and the method for assembling makes it easy even for those not expert at making traditional pie crust. It's best right after baking.

Ingredients for Pastry:
1 c. A/P flour
2 T. superfine sugar
¼ t. kosher salt
¼# (1 stick) very cold, unsalted butter, diced
¼ c. ice water

Ingredients for Filling
1 ½# total combined firm, tart apples and ripe but firm pears (about 6 medium)
¼ t. orange zest
¼ c. A/P flour
¼ c. superfine sugar
¼ t. kosher salt
¼ t. cinnamon
Pinch allspice
4 T. cold, unsalted butter (1/2 stick) diced

Instructions for Pastry:
Place flour, sugar and salt in bowl of food processor with steel blade. Pulse a few times. Add the butter and toss quickly (and very carefully!) with your fingers to coat the butter with the flour mixture. Pulse about 12 times until butter is the size of peas. With machine running add the ice water all at once through the feeder tube. Use the pulse button to combine but stop before the dough forms a ball. Remove dough to a floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll the pastry on a floured sheet of parchment into a round about 11” across. Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet.

Instructions for filling and assembly:
Peel, core and quarter the fruit. Cut each quarter into 3 chunks. Toss the cut fruit with the orange zest. Transfer to the dough leaving a 1 ½” border around the edge. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and spices in a clean food processor. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Pour mixture into a bowl and working quickly rub with your fingers until it starts to hold together. Sprinkle over the fruit. Carefully fold the border up over the fruit, pleating to make it fit. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Cool in the pan about 5 minutes. Using pizza peel or 2 large spatulas transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

*Adapted from “Cucina Simpatica” Cookbook

Mary Schlueter is the chef/innkeeper for Amber House Bed & Breakfast. Amber House is located in the village of Rocheport, Missouri, recently name one of the “Ten Coolest Small Towns in America” by Frommer’s Budget Travel.

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