Fresh cranberries have appeared in the local markets. Thanksgiving must be coming soon. Days become shorter, mild cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder kick up, and our appetites start to crave something more substantial topped off with dessert.
Cranberries’ super tart flavor brightens whatever you add them too. Every year, like a good little squirrel, I freeze several packages of the fresh berries, so that whenever the craving strikes I can make Pear Apple Cranberry Crisp, Cranberry Tangerine Sauce, Cranberry Upside Cake or any other cranberry thing.
To use up the last package of cranberries left from last year, and some Granny Smith Apples that were in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator, I made this easy crostata in individual serving size for dessert on Friday night. Now I am ready to buy this years crop.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup shortening (parave), I prefer Crisco, or butter (dairy)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6-7 tablespoons ice water
4 large Granny Smith apples
1 cup cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn starch
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 10 ounce package almond paste or marzipan
Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until the flour mix resembles small peas. You can cut the shortening in using your fingers, two knives, or a pastry cutter. Place the liquid ingredients in another bowl or measuring pitcher. Wisk the liquid ingredients together and then add them to the flour cut with shortening. Gently press the dough together without mixing.
Separate the dough into two balls. Place the dough in the refrigerator for a bit while you prepare the apples.
Roll out the almond paste log into a long rectangle that you can cut rounds out of, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 8 circles approximately 3 inches in diameter. Don’t worry everything doesn’t have to be perfect, this is a crostata after all.
Retrieve the pastry dough from the refrigerator. Scatter flour over your work surface to prepare to roll out the dough. Roll each ball of dough out into a large circle less then ¼ inch thick. Cut each circle into 4 pieces. Place an almond paste circle in the center of each piece of dough. Take a handful of apple cranberry mix and mound it over the almond paste circle.
Gather up the perimeter of the dough, bit by bit and fold it in, forming the crostata. Dust the individual crostatas with Demerara sugar, then, place each crostata on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake them in a 400° preheated oven for about ½ hour. Check for color and if they are getting too dark cover the baking sheet with foil and turn the oven down to 375. Bake another 15 minutes until the apples in the middle are bubbling.