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Caramel Apple Cranberry Crostata

This is my first month as a Daring Baker!  If you are unfamiliar with this group, a recipe is chosen on the first of each month and everyone posts their results on the 27th.  They usually choose recipes that are out of most people’s comfort zones, which was very appealing to me!  Daring Cooks are also part of the Daring Kitchen, and neither group seems to have a limit if any of you are interested in joining. :)

Caramel Apple Cranberry Crostata

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I used version 1 of the pasta frolla recipe, which can be found here.

dry ingredients mixed

Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.

frozen shredded butter butter cut in

Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. I used a pastry cutter for this!

adding the eggs and lemon zest pasta frolla!

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour the eggs in the center. Add the lemon zest and mix with a fork, then your fingertips. Knead the dough lightly until it forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

rolling out the dough pasta frolla in the pan

After chilling, unwrap the dough. Lightly sprinkle flour over the top and roll out over the plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, flip the dough over the tart pan. Trim the overhang and press the dough into the sides evenly.

apple mixture ready to go

Caramel Apple Cranberry Crostata
adapted from Bon Appétit

We were free to choose whatever we wanted to fill our crostate with, even savory ingredients!  I decided I would make mine for Thanksgiving (to go along with the pumpkin cream pie), and that apples and cranberries would be perfect.  Caramel makes everything better!

Caramel sauce:
1 1/2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
5-6 large McIntosh or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, thinly sliced
about 1/2 cup cranberries, rinsed

Note: I used a mix of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples, but only used about 2/3 of the apple mixture. I think this is because I sliced my apples thinner than the recipe called for.

Caramel: In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, cream, and butter to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves.  Boil for about 10 minutes whisking frequently until the mixture coats a spoon.  This will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.

Filling: In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cardamom.  Add the apples and toss until they are evenly coated in the dry ingredients.

Assembly: Heat the oven to 375F.  Remove the pasta frolla from the fridge.  Unwrap it, lightly flour the top and roll it out on top of the plastic wrap.  Keeping it on the plastic, flip the dough into the tart pan.  Peel off the plastic, trim off the excess dough, then press the dough into the sides of the pan into a uniform thickness.  Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.

Arrange the apple slices snugly in a circle around the edge of the pan.  Repeat for the inner circle, then place cranberries around the border of each.  Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs.

Bake the tart for 25 minutes, check on it, then continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue.  When done, remove the tart from the oven and let cool. If you have used a tart pan with a removable bottom, then release the tart base from the fluted tart ring. Make sure the tart is completely cool before slicing and serving.

Before serving, heat some of the caramel in a liquid measuring cup.  Brush the caramel over the apples and cranberries to coat them, then drizzle caramel over the whole tart.  Let people add more caramel to their slices, if desired.

ready to be baked
Caramel Apple Cranberry Crostata

I served this with some spiced whipped cream: beat 1 cup heavy cream, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom until soft peaks form.

slice with spiced whipped cream

This was a very delicious crostata!  In fact, it didn’t even get to see the sun set. ;) The sweetness of the caramel and tartness of the cranberries were a nice balance, and who doesn’t love baked apples?

The pasta frolla was very bright with the lemon zest, and I would definitely make it again.  I had only made pie dough once several years ago, so this was a good challenge for me.  The edges were more crisp than flaky, so I think I may have overworked the dough a little.  Guess I should make some more crostate…darn!

Can’t wait to find out about next month’s challenge!