Apple, Pear, Cranberry Crostata
First things first. Happy Election Day! I hope everyone is voting today no matter who you choose to vote for. Second, I hope everyone stayed safe and dry last week through hurricane Sandy. What a storm! I decided to play things safe and worked from home that day, even though my office was open for business. One of the great things about working from home is the ability to bake during my lunch break! I was flipping through some recipes and this Apple, Pear, Cranberry Crostata caught my eye for a couple reasons.
For starters, it has seasonal fruit in it! Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year to bake. I wish it was the fall baking season all year long.
Second, I had all of the ingredients on hand. I love it when that happens. No quick run to the store to grab just one ingredient. No waiting until the weekend to make a recipe. I can just fulfill my urges and make it right away.
And last, I needed a dessert to contribute to a get together I was going to. You see, a bunch of my friends all live within a few block of my place. Since we were all working from home last Monday, we got a little stir crazy. We decided to get together in the early evening for some games and dinner.
After an intense day of working from home, catching up on storm updates, checking in on friends and family from across the East Coast, my friends and I had a relaxing fun-filled evening together. Everyone really enjoyed this crostata and I came home with only one piece leftover. I served it with freshly whipped cream. Vanilla ice cream would be another great option here.
The crust is flaky and light, a perfect vehicle for the fruity filling. The apples and pears mingle together nicely, providing a subtle contrast in taste and texture. But those cranberries are what really make this crostata special. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough of a cranberry flavor when I read the recipe, but it turns out I was wrong. There are just enough cranberries to add a punch of tartness that balances out the sweetness from the other fruits.
One of my friends even picked up on the aroma of the orange zest in the filling. I have a tip for you about using citrus zests in baked goods like this. Any time that you’re mixing a citrus zest with sugar, combine the two in a small bowl and use your hands to rub them together. By using your hands, you’ll release the oils from the zest that provide the flavor. It will dispurse the flavor from the zest throughout the sugar and thus throughout the entire dish. It is a simple step that provides a big payoff.
Also remember that ground cloves are stronger than you think. An eighth of a teaspoon is not very much, but it really goes a long way. See those specks in the pictures? Those are from the ground cloves. You really can taste them in every bite. If you’re looking for a dessert to take to an upcoming holiday gathering that isn’t a traditional pumpkin or apple pie, consider this Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Crostata.
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