Torta di Sant’ Antonio – Red Wine and Apple Crostata

    Ciao a tutti! 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 (Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library).

    Crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart, and a form of pie. It is traditionally prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the top of the jam/marmalade filling, creating a more “rough” look, rather than a uniform, circular shape. The jams that are traditionally used as a filling are cherries, peaches, apricots, berries. The crostata can also be filled with pieces of fresh fruit and pastry cream (crema pasticcera), but then it is called torta di frutta.

    The December 2010 issue of Saveur arrived in the mail in the nick of time for Thanksgiving and the November Daring Bakers’ challenge. When I saw the photograph of this gorgeous apple, red wine and cinnamon crostata, a traditional Occitan dessert from the northern Italian village of Oulx, I knew it was destined to appear on the Thanksgiving dessert table next to an encore presentation of Bobby Flay’s Throwdown Pumpkin Pie. I also felt it would be a striking contribution to the array of Daring Bakers’ crostate going to press on “reveal” day.

    The base of a crostata is pasta frolla (or pastafrolla), sweet short crust pastry (or sweet tart dough) made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Pasta frolla is versatile: it provides the base to make crostata with fruit preserves, pastry cream, fresh fruit, ricotta, and other ingredients, and, by itself, it makes very nice cookies.
    Kitchen Toys R & M Industries 5920 Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer
    Peeled, cored and sliced
    Granny Smith apples stew in red wine, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest until the apples have absorbed the deep burgundy of the wine.
    A tart pan with a removable bottom is used to hold the crostata, and the edges of the dough are folded over the top of the apples to achieve a rough, rustic look.
    To make the garnish, dough scraps are rolled out and cut into grape and leaf shapes.
    A pastry tip provided the right size “grapes”
    Torta di Sant’ Antonio
    Slightly adapted from Saveur, December 2010
    Serves 8
    2 cups flour
    7 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    1/4 cup milk, plus a few tablespoons more if needed
    2 egg yolks
    1 1/2 cups red wine
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Zest of 1 orange
    1 egg white, lightly beaten
    In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and baking soda. Add butter and pulse until pea-size crumbles form. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and yolks. Add to flour mixture and pulse until it just starts to hold together. Add another tablespoon or two of milk if it seems too dry. Transfer to a floured surface; knead into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
    In the meantime, bring the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, wine, cinnamon and orange zest to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until wine is reduced to a syrup, 25-30 minutes. Let cool.
    Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place dough on a floured surface and roll out to 1/8″ thickness. Transfer dough to tart pan with a removable bottom and press into bottom and sides. Trim dough edges and reserve scraps. Spoon apple mixture into tart shell and fold the edges of the dough over the apples.
    To make garnish, roll out scraps to 1/4″ thickness, cut out leaf and grape shapes, and arrange on top of apples. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
    Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes.
    Serve plain, or with whipped cream or ice cream.

    The Saveur pastry recipe differs slightly from the Daring Bakers’ pasta frolla recipe. You can find the complete Daring Bakers’ Crostata recipes and links here, along with a slideshow of the creative and exquisite variations prepared by the DB chefs. You can also go to the Daring Bakers blogroll, for links to our members’ blogs. Grazie, Simona!

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