A doable holiday dessert: Apple crostata

If dessert is your favorite part of the holiday meal, you’re in luck.

Five Connecticut restaurants and bakeries have shared recipes with us for festive confections, perfect for your holiday table this season. These creations may look fancy and elaborate, but the bakers and pastry chefs assure us you can achieve the same results in your home kitchen. We’ve also provided vegan and gluten-free options – a little indulgence for everyone. More recipes here.

Max Downtown’s pastry chef Warren Hardman calls the apple crostata the “peasant” of the apple desserts, as opposed to a more refined tarte tatin. But its rustic nature, with a “very forgiving” dough, as he says, makes this dessert an easy seasonal addition to any holiday table.

At the restaurant, the crostata is topped with caramel sauce and served with cinnamon ice cream from Grass Roots in Granby.

Dough

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 lb unsalted butter, chilled and small diced

1 each egg yolk

1/4 cup cold water

1 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter and pulse about 10 times, or until butter forms small kernels and resembles oatmeal.

Combine egg yolk, water and honey. Add liquid to processor, all at once, and pulse until dough comes together. Turn dough onto a floured board, knead into a disk, wrap and chill at least one hour.

Place dough onto a floured board and roll from the center out, turning a quarter turn each time, until dough is a quarter-inch thick. Cut 8-inch circles, stack scrap dough and re-roll until you finish the dough. (You can also make large tarts, by dividing the dough in half and making two 12-inch tarts.)

Apple filling

6 honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 pinch nutmeg

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cornstarch and flour. Add apples and toss and set aside.

Place the apple mixture in the center of each tart, leaving two inches all around. Lift the sides of the dough up and cover the apples, pinching and pleating the dough to surround the fruit. Leave a 2-inch hole in the center to display the apples.

Topping

6 tsp unsalted butter

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

6 tbsp sugar in the raw

Top each tart with a teaspoon of butter. Mix the eggs and milk together, and brush the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle each tart with a tbsp sugar.

Bake tarts in the center of the oven for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

4 oz sugar

2 tbsp water

1 tsp light corn syrup

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

Mix sugar, water and corn syrup in a pot on the stove top, then heat until lightly golden. Remove from heat. When the mixture becomes amber, whisk in butter and cream, then let cool. Keep refrigerated. Makes 2 cups.

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