Sometimes perfect doesn’t look right, and that’s where the word rustic can come in handy. But don’t get rustic mixed up with a recipe which has gone awry, there’s a huge difference! Can you imagine explaining a sunken cake at your kids birthday as rustic? I know my kids would see right thorough that one. Making this crostata gives you plenty of margin for error and will still look farmhouse fresh, in fact this tart cries out to be misshapen and a little rough around the edges because the taste is going to divert any questions about the way it looks.

I was curious about the difference between a crostata and a galette. Truth is there’s no real difference, galette is the French version and crostata is it’s Italian twin. I chose to go with crostata just because it makes me think of it as being crusty and crunchy and that’s how I’d like my pastry to be, thank you very much. Sadly this sounds like how I choose my wines, rhyming words and swank labels ensure I’m so not the wine connoisseur.

Making a flaky apple crostata 
Inspiration came from seeing a peach crostata in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine, yeah I read her stuff and laugh if you wish but I’m not shy! Anyway back to the dish, I’m peached out right now from prior posts so I picked up some giant Granny Smiths at the store and a chunk of aged cheddar. Apple and cheddar are a great combination, the tartness of the apple gets kicked out by the sharpness of the cheese leaving  a perfect balance. I loved how this tart tasted and I even found my new go to pastry! The buttery taste was freakishly good, I used Straus Creamery butter which is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s bright yellow with an 85% butterfat content compare to an average butter which contains 80% butterfat, you can totally taste the difference.

This is an easy and impressive dish to make, you could use any stone fruit and even mix them with blueberries or raspberries. Remember rustic is how this is going to go down.

Flaky apple and cheddar crostata pie

Making the crostata: Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Prep time- 40 minutes    Bake time- 50 minutes    Yield- 8 slices

For the pastry:

1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, cold and cut into small squares
1/4 cup of iced water, you may need a little more to bring the dough together

Place the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and pulse until crumbly and coarse. Add the water in while the mixer is going and carefully watch until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork it.
Take the dough out and wrap it in plastic. Let it rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

For the filling:

3 large granny smith apples, peeled and cut into thick slices
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt
1/4 cup of crumbled strong cheddar
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
1 large egg, beaten
Granulated sugar for sprinkling
Fresh rosemary for garnishing (optional)

Toss the sliced apples in a bowl with the sugar, lemon juice, salt, cheddar and cornstarch. Set aside.

Roll out the dough to about 12 inches wide, Use lots of flour for dusting and lift with your rolling pin often to prevent sticking. Once it’s at size, transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil and then parchment paper on top of that. Lay the dough out flat on the tray.

Take the apples and pile them in the center of the dough, It’ll look like a lot but they’ll shrink and get all friendly and close with one another. Pull up the edges of the dough leaving about a 2 inch space in the middle where you’ll still be able to see the apples.

Glaze the edges of the tart with the egg and sprinkle generously with the sugar. Finally sprinkle with a little chopped rosemary.

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes or until golden and crusty looking. Once baked, let it rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.