It seems too early for apple pie. Not sure why. I associate pies with deepest, chilliest fall. I love tarts, but don't like the idea of laying the apples in perfect overlapping rows. Fussy! So last weekend, crostata won out.
In a departure, I sauteed the Cortlands first, and when they were almost tender, tossed them with flour, let them cool, then tipped them into the crust. The method was something Vicki Lee Boyajian mentioned to me when I interviewed her a couple weeks ago about baking with apples.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons ice water
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and baking powder to blend them.
2. Add the butter and pulse to form crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse to mix well.
3. Sprinkle the egg mixture onto the flour mixture. Pulse just until the dough forms clumps (it should not form a ball). Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary to make the clumps.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly to shape it into a flat 4-inch disk. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5 tablespoons butter
5 Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons milk (for brushing)
Extra granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the apples. Cook, turning gently, for 2 minutes or until the apples are coated all over with butter. Add 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar and continue cooking for 4 minutes or until the apples are beginning to soften. Transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with flour, stir thoroughly, and set aside to cool.
3. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to a 12-inch round. It's OK if it's not perfect. Leaving 1 1/2 inches around the edge of the pastry, layer the apples, lemon rind, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and all but 1 tablespoon of the butter in the center. Sprinkle the top layer of apples with sugar and dot with butter.
4. Fold the pastry edges over the apples and press lightly. If the pastry looks floury, dust off the flour with a dry pastry brush. Brush the pastry with milk and sprinkle it with granulated sugar.
5. Bake the crostata for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. It's thick in places, so make sure it is cooked through. Set the sheet on a wire rack to cool. Transfer the crostata to a cake platter and dust with confectioners' sugar. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.