|A rustic, free form tart made with apples, pears and a cream cheese and grape filling.|
Fresh Apple and Pear CrostataI was watching the Food Network channel the other day and saw Sandra Lee making a crostata - which is really pretty much just a tart. Well, a free form tart. Okay, if we're gonna get authentic here, I think it's an Italian low-rise free form tart, though technically I think the authentic Italian crostata has a totally different type of pastry crust and is presented a bit differently than this one here or what Sandra Lee was doing.
Although Sandra's was more of a jam tart since she did not use any actual fresh fruit - only the grape jelly with some ricotta cheese - I thought I could work with this general idea and use up some leftover fruit I had on hand. So apples with pears and a bit of grape with some cream cheese sounded like a match made in heaven to me!
I didn't feel up to making up a pie crust, though I don't know why, because they really aren't all that hard, but I remembered that I had run across a premade frozen pie crust while digging around in my freezer. I thought I would find that and use it to make a crostata. Now I remember why it was stuffed in the back of the freezer.
This was one of those generic pie crusts, and I have to say that while it is convenient to have premade pie crusts on hand for times like this, I will never and I repeat never buy the generic ones again. There is a reason why my preferred commercial crust is Pillsbury - because those crusts have never failed me when I have used them. I can't say the same for the generic version. The generic crust was just too dry and even though there was a significant amount of leakage from my tart due to the breakdown of the crust, I have to say that this tart was really tasty. I loved it and even The Cajun who is not a big fruit eater, said it was delicious, so I'm certain I will try one of these again!
Here's how it came together.
First, lay out the pie crust on a piece of parchment paper on a jelly roll pan and spread a cup of grape jelly all over it, leaving about a 1-inch border for folding in the edges. Then cut up 2 ounces of cream cheese, and put dollops of that all around on top of the jelly.
Then, wash, peel and core the apples and pears and cut them up into slices. Mix all of that in a bowl together with the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.
Lay the apples out on top of the cream cheese jelly layer, placing them in a circular pattern all around the dough, with each apple slightly overlapping each other. I had originally intended to alternate the apples and pears, but my pears were a bit overripe and didn't hold up well, so I just piled all of the pear pieces up in the middle instead, once I got all the apples laid out.
Then, take a small section of the pie crust and fold it up over the apples. Rotate the pan and fold up another section. Continue rotating and folding the pie crust up until you've gone all the way around the tart.
Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle granulated sugar all over the top of the tart. Bake at 400 degree for 20 minutes, drop temperature down to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.
I loved the grape jelly base with the apples and the pears and the layer of cream cheese was just delicious - you can just see it peeking out in that picture up there. I will definitely be making one of these again!
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©Recipe: Fresh Apple and Pear CrostataFrom the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
- 2 baking apples
- 2 pears
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- Homemade pie crust or commercial pie crust
- 1 cup of grape jelly
- 2 ounces of cream cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Peel and core the apples and pears and cut up into thin slices and place into a bowl. I used Granny Smith apples; can also use all apple if you like. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour and toss.
Place the pie crust on a piece of parchment paper on top of a jelly roll pan. Spread one cup of grape jelly on top of pie crust leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges. Cut up the cream cheese into little dollops and spread them randomly on top of the jelly. Fan the apples and pears around the crust, again leaving the border around the outside of the pie crust.
Pull a small section of the crust up and over the fruit, turn the pan and pull up another section until you have gone completely around the pan. The middle section of the tart will be open.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the tart in the freezer or refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes. Just before baking, beat the egg and brush the outside of the crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle all over with granulated sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and crispy.
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