Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Favorite Word

Crostata. Don't you just love that word?! When I say it in my head, I sound like Giada. When I say it out loud, I sound like a goob, because I am trying, unsuccessfully, to say it with an Italian accent. Total fail on my part. But, nontheless, I love saying it, love making it, and looove eating it. Did I mention that it is easy? I hate letting people in on how easy is it. There goes my cover once again....... Enjoy :)

Apple and Gorgonzola Crostata


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons ice water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the crust: In a food processor combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is finely chopped and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the mascarpone cheese and lemon juice and pulse a few times. Add the ice water and run the machine just until the mixture is moist and crumbly, but does not form a ball. Do not over mix. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Press into a disc, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the filling: Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the apple slices, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, walnuts, and Gorgonzola.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside of a 12 by 17-inch baking sheet and place on a work surface. Place the chilled dough on the parchment paper. Roll the dough out into an 11-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Lift the parchment paper and transfer to the baking sheet. Spoon the apple filling into the center of the dough. Spread the filling evenly, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round. Pleat the edge of the pastry and pinch to seal any cracks in the dough.

Using a pastry brush, brush the crust with the beaten egg. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. I served mine sliced on a bed of mixed greens.

Mushroom Crostata

Use same crust recipe from above.

For the filling :

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces diced pancetta
2 shallots, minced
1 pound assorted mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, and button
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (1 ounce) grated smoked mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup ( 1 ounce) grated fontina cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and golden, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked pancetta to a small bowl.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Add the shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until all of the moisture has evaporated, about 12 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cooked pancetta along with fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.
Unwrap the chilled dough and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Lift the parchment paper and transfer it and the dough to the baking sheet.
Stir the mozzarella and fontina into the cooled mushroom filling and spread in the center of the dough circle, leaving a 2-inch border.

Sprinkle the filling with Parmesan.

Fold the dough border up over the filling to form an 8-inch round, pleating the edge of the pastry. Brush the crust with beaten egg. Bake the crostata until the crust is golden about 25 minutes. Slice and serve.

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