apple and blackberry crostata

You know summer is over when the fruit shop only has apples, pears and mandarins are on display. Blackberries also make an appearance at this time as do quince and pears.

When I was in Liguria a few years ago, a jam filled crostata was standard breakfast fare and I saw the biggest crostata ever in a local pastry shop in Santa Margherita Ligure. Ever since then I've wanted to make a crostata. About a month ago I received an email from Australian Gourmet Traveller which featured this recipe and the wheels were set in motion.

I decided to stick with my tried and true almond shortcrust pastry recipe, but made the apple and blackberry marmellata filling. If fresh blackberries are a bit too pricey where you live, frozen berries can be used in their place. 

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 10 x 33 cm rectangular tart. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Apple and Blackberry Crostata 
Almond shortcrust pastry
¼ cup (45g) icing sugar
¼ cup (30g) almond meal
1⅓ cups (200g) plain flour
Pinch salt
1½ tsp grated lemon rind
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

Apple and blackberry marmellata
30 gm butter
2 small royal gala apples (about 240g), peeled, cut into 1 cm pieces
2 small Granny Smith apples (about 250g), peeled, cut into 1 cm pieces
18 g ginger, finely grated
275 g blackberries
250 g caster sugar

Egg wash, for brushing
2 tbsp raw sugar, for dusting
Double cream to serve

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients and the rind in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 

Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes. 

Roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 4mm-thick rectangle and line a 10 cm x 33 cm rectangular tart tin, trim edges. Place in the fridge until required. Roll out remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface to 4mm thick, then place in the fridge until required.  

Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, when foaming, add both apples; cook, turning occasionally until lightly browned (4 minutes). Add ginger and blackberries, stir for 1 minute. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture gels when tested on a cold saucer (15-20 minutes). Spoon into a container and refrigerate until chilled (4 hours or overnight).

Place a heavy-based oven tray in the oven and preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Take the lined tin from the fridge and spoon in cooled jam mixture. Take the pastry sheet out of the fridge, then cut into 15mm-wide strips. Arrange the strips in a lattice pattern over jam, press pastry edges to seal and trim excess. 

Brush the pastry with the egg wash, dust with demerara sugar and place on the preheated baking tray. Bake until the pastry is crisp and golden (40-45 minutes). Cool in tin before serving. Crostata is best eaten on day of making.

I shared this with one of my neighbours and took the rest into work. My neighbour declared it some of my best work and I have to say, topped with cream, the crostata was delicious.

See you all next week, with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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