Welcoming Autumn with a Rustic Apple Crostata

apple crostata

 

Autumn is here and apple season is upon us so now is the perfect time to make a rustic apple crostata. A crostata is basically a folding of fresh fruit with a little sugar and spice into a buttery pastry dough. The crostata is the Italian version of the French Galette but in essence they’re the same thing.

The best thing I like about making a crostata is that the process is free form, easier than making a pie, and when you make them no two will look alike, but that’s the rustic charm of it.autumn apples

It really doesn’t matter what type of apples you use, use what you like, but look for large ones so you’re not peeling forever.autumn applesapple slices

I actually ended up using large Gala apples for this sliced about 1/8 inch, as opposed to quartering the apples and having them chunkier, the slices will lay better in the crostata and you’ll be able to fan them out and layer on top of each other which makes it look prettier.apple crostata

This is a dessert you can make in a pinch, especially if you have some store-bought pie crusts tucked away in your fridge like I do. I happen to love Trader Joe’s pie crusts, you can actually see pieces of butter in the dough. It’s looks elegant and tastes amazing and your house smells incredible while it’s baking in the oven.apple crostata

Apples, cinnamon and crust oh my!apple crostata

Serve it alone or with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, either way you’re going to love it.

Desserts don’t have to be fussy and complicated to taste awesome, cut into a piece of this apple crostata and see for yourself!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Rustic Apple Crostata
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 quality store-bought package of pie crust, room temp for easy rolling or homemade pastry dough (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 3 or 4 large apples of your choice, I used Gala, peeled, seeded and sliced into ⅛ inch
  • ¼ cup sugar plus a little more for sprinkling on crust
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon or to taste, I like alot. You can also add in some nutmeg to your liking
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon, melted butter
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • a squeeze of lemon juice onto apples so they don't turn brown
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment and heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place sliced apples into a bowl and add the sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, tossing gently until well coated, set aside.
  3. Un wrap your dough and smooth it out with a rolling pin, stretching it out and pressing together any breaks.
  4. Place dough onto parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Arrange the apple slices on top overlapping them and fanning them into a circle leaving a good 1½ inch border all around.
  6. Fold the dough over the apples in a rustic fashion, if the dough tears just pinch together.
  7. Drizzle the melted butter over the top of apples.
  8. Whisk the egg and brush all over the crust then sprinkle crust with sugar.
  9. Bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes or until it is nicely golden brown according to your oven temp.
  10. Let it sit before cutting, serve with ice cream or whipped cream
  11. Enjoy!

 

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Transition into Fall with this Vibrant Tomato Free Salad

transition into fall salad

In mid September you’re still able to find remnants of good summer tomatoes still available, but very soon they will be gone til next summer and so this salad is your perfect transition into fall. This vibrant and bold tasting salad is tomato-free and perfect for the fall season.transition into fall salad

Leafy greens, crunchy radishes, delicious haricot verts, sweet dried cherries with salty shaved parmigiano and pistachios, and the thing that ties it all together is the vibrant dressing. transition into fall salad

I love making salads, the combinations are endless and when using seasonal produce you can get really creative.transition into fall salad

Toss this together for your family and friends and I promise, you won’t even miss the tomatoes!

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Transition into Fall with this Vibrant Tomato Free Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 bag of leafy greens
  • 1 12 ounce bag of haricots verts, steamed tender crisp
  • 4 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • A good handful of dried cherries, or dried cranberries
  • Shards of Parmigiano Reggiano made with a vegetable peeler, a good amount shown throughout the salad
  • pistachios or sliced toasted almonds, enough to scatter about
  • DRESSING
  • good quality olive oil
  • grainy mustard
  • a rich, balsamic vinegar one that has been aged and thicker than normal. Trader Joe's has a nice one from Modena that says gold on the label
Instructions
  1. FOR THE DRESSING;
  2. Whisk together equal parts of balsamic and olive oil and a small glop of grainy mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Mix the leafy greens with the beans, toss.
  4. Add cherries, radishes and cheese, toss.
  5. Place everything onto a nice platter, sprinkle with nuts.
  6. Spoon dressing all around and toss gently to coat.
  7. Enjoy

 

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Cassoulet- Italian Style

cassoulet

What is a cassoulet? It a dish originated in France which is basically a rich, slow cooked casserole typically made with white beans and a meat of some sort. It’s a hearty dish and quite perfect for the cooler temperatures we’re experiencing now as fall approaches.

In place of the more traditional meats the French would use, I wanted to make mine Italian style by adding some good quality Italian sausage. I chose one that is nicely spiced throughout with a good amount of fennel seed which I feel compliments all the other flavors in this dish.cassoulet beans

 

I have to admit I don’t often cook with dried beans, I like the convenience of canned beans and they taste pretty good. But after making this dish I realized that there is absolutely no comparison to the taste and texture of cooked dried beans to canned.

Even though you could make this dish with canned beans I HIGHLY recommend you go through the process of making them from scratch. Dried beans are readily available but this specific brand, Rancho Gordo might not be so easy to find, especially this type of bean, so I would suggest to order them directly from their website ( and I’m not getting paid to say that). soaked beans

I went with the quick soak method, it helps the beans to cook faster. I also love adding aromatics after they’ve been soaking and ready to simmer, the beans really do take on the flavor and makes them taste even more delicious.

cassoulet

The cooked beans will get tossed in at the last ten minutes of cooking, just enough time to soak up all that luscious tasting juice!

cassoulet

It’s hearty, packed with flavor, simple and rustic and the perfect meal to make when there’s a chill in the air, you will love this!

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Cassoulet- Italian Style
 
Recipe adapted from Pam Anderson's Perfect One Dish Dinners
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb. Italian sausage with fennel seed or 6 nice size pieces
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion cut into large chunks
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • olive oil
  • thyme and rosemary
  • 4 cups of cooked dried beans preferred, or optional, canned beans
  • 1 lb. of dried beans, either cassoulet or cannellini
  • aromatics for beans to simmer in, such as onion, garlic and herbs
Instructions
  1. PREPARE BEANS, doing the the quick soak method.
  2. Rinse beans well and pick out any bad ones.
  3. Place them into a large pot and cover them with water three inches above the beans.
  4. Bring beans to a boil, turn off the flame and cover them and let them sit for 2 hours.
  5. After 2 hours you will see they have doubled in size, drain the water, return them to the pot and cover with water again.
  6. Add 3 whole garlic cloves, chunks of onion and a sprig of rosemary or thyme and simmer medium low for at least an hour but check for doneness, they should be tender and creamy.
  7. Add salt to taste after they're cooked.
  8. You'll have extra, but save and use for other recipes, (you won't regret it!)
  9. FOR THE CASSOULET
  10. Heat oven to 425F.
  11. In a deep baking dish drizzle the bottom with olive oil all over. Add the tomatoes, (whole), sliced garlic, onion and herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Nestle in your uncooked Italian sausage all around.
  13. Roast until sausages have a deep brown color and the tomatoes have released their juices and thickened up a bit, around 45 minutes.
  14. Remove the pan from the oven and stir in your cooked beans (without liquid) drizzle more olive oil on top and continue to roast for 10 more minutes until nicely heated through.
  15. Freshen up your herbs.
  16. Enjoy!

 

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