I try a lot of recipes. I get them from all different sources – reading magazines, watching food shows, surfing my favorite blogs, googling random ingredient pairings. Obviously, not all of them are winners. But when I choose a recipe that I saw being made on television by Giada (who you know I adore), it’s a bummer if it’s not perfect. The good news is, it’s a totally fixable flaw.
I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at discriminating between a great recipe and a terrible one. It’s certainly easier to weed out the baddies by reading the ingredient list and deciding whether it makes sense. Is there WAY too much sugar for this to taste good? Are the spices enough to keep this from getting boring? So I make a lot more “wins” nowadays.
But sometimes, all the proof-reading in the world can’t save you from a so-so recipe. Now, don’t get me wrong. In theory, this crostata sounds great. In reality, I think the gorgonzola I had on hand was much too blue, and therefore, ridiculously strong. So while it should have been an unusual and interesting ingredient that makes this a memorable dessert, the cheese ended up being overly pungent and lending a note of sourness to the crostata. If you look at the picture above, you’ll probably also notice that I forgot the “brush with beaten egg” part at the end, hence my anemically pale crust.
So, would I make this again? For sure. The crust is deliciously light and buttery, and who doesn’t like apples and walnuts together? What I would do differently – go with a more mild and not-at-all-blue gorgonzola. Then I’ll be able to say that this recipe is a winner.
Apple-Walnut Crostata with Gorgonzola
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. mascarpone cheese (I used neufchatel)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3-1/2 tbsp. ice water
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
4 small Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/3 c. crumbled gorgonzola
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Start with the crust: Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until mixed. Add the butter and pulse until mixture is well combined – butter will incorporate and look like fine crumbs. Add the cream cheese and lemon juice – pulse to partially combine before adding the ice water. Turn food processor on and run until mixture forms moist crumbs.
Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on your cutting board and turn the dough out onto it. Press into a disc and wrap tightly. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
To make the filling: In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Toss the apple slices, sugar, and spices in the butter. Saute for five minutes or until the apples are softened slightly.
Allow to cool ten minutes or so before stirring in the lemon juice and zest, the walnuts, and the gorgonzola.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface (hint: make it a size that will fit in a large cookie sheet). Unwrap and roll the chilled dough to approximately 1/4″ thick and 11″ diameter. (See those rough edges? Next time, I would have trimmed them so they were smooth and even, making the crostata a bit more polished looking.)
Transfer the dough and parchment paper to your cookie sheet. Pile the apple mixture onto the dough circle, leaving 2 inches around the outside. Fold the dough over the filling, pleating as you work around it to help it seal.
Brush the crust with the beaten egg, then bake 25 minutes or until the crust is golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.