Apples and caramel and gouda, oh my. An open-faced pleated pie of apples nestled in an aged gouda cornmeal crust drizzled with dark caramel sauce is like a plea for fall to arrive a little sooner. Sweet has the recipe.
Tips & Tweaks: Making crust pleats isn't the easiest thing, especially if you haven't done it before. Take heart in the fact that whatever you do to keep the apples and caramel from escaping means you've done it right. Before adding the apples, practice making loose pleats with the crust.
Excerpted from Sweet by Valerie Gordon (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Peden and Munk.
- Yield:makes one 9-inch crostata
- Active time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total time:3 hours
- 5 medium Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples (11/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
- Aged Gouda Cornmeal Crust
- 1 1/3 cups (6.65 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup (3 ounces) grated Aged Gouda
- 1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
- Caramel Sauce
- 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup warm heavy cream
Make the Dough: Pulse the flour, cornmeal, and sugar in the processor bowl a few times to combine. Add the grated Gouda through the feed tube, continuing to pulse, then drop the pieces of butter through the feed tube, pulsing until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Slowly add 2 tablespoons water as you continue pulsing a few more times, then add more water if necessary; stop when the dough just starts to come together.
Make the Caramel Sauce: Put the sugar into a medium copper or heavy stainless steel saucepan and set over medium heat. Pour the cream and corn syrup into a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat.
As the sugar heats, you will see it start to melt around the edges and then turn golden in color, in 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof silicone spatula, nudge the sugar lightly on one side. You will see liquid caramel slowly move out from underneath the granular sugar. Very slowly start to move the sugar into the liquid caramel. Do not rush this process - if the caramel starts to look grainy, you are incorporating the sugar too quickly. If the caramel starts to smoke or get very dark, remove the pan from the heat until the smoking subsides, or lower the heat.
Meanwhile, watch the cream: You want it to come to a boil when the sugar reaches the liquid caramel stage, so adjust the timing accordingly by raising or lowering the heat under the cream (if the cream comes to a boil too early, just remove it from the heat).
When the sugar has completely melted and is dark amber in color, remove from the heat and pour in the cream - it will bubble substantially. When the caramel has settled down, stir the ingredients together until smooth. Add the butter and salt and stir until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Pour the hot caramel into a heatproof jar or container and let cool completely.
The caramel sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Bring to room temperature or reheat gently before serving.
Make the pie:Line a 13-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner. Mix the apple slices with the brown sugar in a medium bowl.
Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured cool surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle: Start from the center of the dough and roll outward, rotating the dough 2 to 3 inches after each roll—this will help create a true circle. After every four to five rolls, run a large offset spatula under the dough to release it from the work surface. Add a little flour to the surface, rolling pin, and/or dough if the dough sticks or becomes difficult to roll. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Arrange the apples on the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around: overlap the apple slices as you arrange them in concentric circles, working from the outside in until you reach the center. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the apples.
Lift one side of the dough over the apples and press it down over the fruit, making 5 or 6 large pleat folds. Then continue around the crostata, pressing the pleats so they adhere. Refrigerate the crostata until the crust is cold and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes.
Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the fleur de sel over the fruit. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Let the crostata cool completely on the baking sheet, then, using an offset spatula, transfer to a serving platter.
The crostata can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.