I love apple season in Minnesota. Home of the Honeycrisp and the Zestar, we’re surrounded by orchards that offer the season’s finest. The fact that the season is relatively short makes the picking seem even sweeter. The only problem (if you can even call it that) with being surrounded by this much beautiful bounty is that I often get overzealous in my picking and buying, and the next thing I know, we’ve got bushels of apples pushing us out of the kitchen. I usually freeze lots of applesauce, and make some desserts as well. The apple crostata on p. 176 of Barefoot Contessa Parties! is going on the favorites list for sure. It’s like an apple pie, but easier, and I would even venture to say, tastier.
I’ve mentioned that I cooked as therapy in law school. During that time, I perfected the art of pie crust. Not surprisingly, I had several willing guinea pigs who helped me eat the not-so-pretty attempts at the perfect pie, but I found after a little practice that it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was, especially with the help of an electric stand mixer or better yet, a food processor. So, shortly after I graduated, I met my now-husband. To impress him for our first official date, I made him a triple berry pie. It was late spring, and the berries were perfect. I rolled out a beautiful homemade crust (when really, I should have been studying for the bar exam), and I must say, the results were impressive. The new-date-now-husband complimented the pie, and then proceeded to eat the filling and leave the crust on the plate. Had I known him better, I would have eaten up his leftover crust right then and there. Despite this obvious failing of character, he turned out to be a very nice guy, and needless to say, we went on more dates. I just learned not to make more pie unless there would be someone around who had the good sense to eat it. All of it.
This apple crostata, however, passed the taste test of the previous crust-waster. The dough is just ever-so-slightly thicker than a traditional pie dough, and the result is somewhat rustic. The apple flavor really came through, and we both gave the final product two thumbs up.