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ERIN SULLEY: The apple of my pie

Hey, foodie friends. Guess what season it is in foodie land? Comfort food season. A most delicious time of year.

“Baking is love made edible.” – Unknown

When you think of comfort food, you often think of heavy dishes like casseroles, lasagna, mac n’ cheese or hearty soups. A plate of tasty goodness that is essentially going to fill that blah feeling that settles in with the changing of the seasons. Yeah, I went there. Imagine, food soothing the tummy and the mind. It is almost like a reward system for yourself.

I’m not suggesting you avoid comfort food — oh heck no. Fill yer boots. It is just that I have to keep from going back for seconds and thirds. The result is the heaviness feeling. Insert the following hashtag: #sorrynotsorry

When thinking about what comfort food to make, don’t forget about dessert. Given its harvest time, the warmth, sweetness and smooth texture of baked apples with cinnamon sugar quickly comes to mind. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. One of my fav recipes comes from my home girl, Martha (Stewart) — Apple Crostata with Cheddar Crust.

“Food is the most primitive form of comfort.” – Sheila Graham

Crostata is described as an Italian baked tart. A freestanding pastry that is filled in the centre like a pie but left open on top. Apple Crostata with Cheddar Crust is one of many varieties of crostata. You can make crostata with strawberry, peach, Nutella (for the chocolate lovers) and mango coconut or an assortment of fruit for that matter. I would consider it your fruit intake for the day. OK, I might be stretching it there. It’s really just a reasoning for going for that second or third piece without the guilt. Every nutritionist just yelled at me.

“Sometimes you just need to eat pie and get over it.” - Unknown

Oh my dear heavens in the garden. You will love crostata. Just think about it — warm pastry, cheddar cheese, baked apple mixture topped with an apricot preserve spread. You might read this and think, “such a weird combination of ingredients”. Let me tell you, it is a delicious combination of autumn flavours. They blend perfectly together to give you a mixture of that much loved grouping of savory and sweet.

If you Google the recipe, you’ll see that Martha calls for homemade cheddar pie dough. Girl, I’m good, but when I don’t have time on my hands for the homemade stuff, I break out the good ol’ frozen PC puff pastry. Does the trick every time. I think I actually like it better as it is flaky and light.

Baking is certainly like a science. Depending on the recipe, you can easily screw it up. Thankfully, Crostata isn’t hard. I enjoy the type of baking where you can experiment with flavouring and add ingredients that you enjoy most. For those of you reading this who say, “I can’t bake”. You really can’t screw up Crostata. Especially if you buy the pre-made pastry.

Here’s the layers: Roll out two packs of pastry dough, put one on top of the other, spread the cheddar cheese around the perimeter and fold it over the cheese. Use old cheddar cheese. In my humble opinion, anything below old lacks flavour. Once complete, layer the middle with cinnamon, cinnamon sugar and a mixture of thinly sliced Macintosh and granny smith apples. Then, drizzle lemon juice on top and brush egg white over the exposed pastry. Bake the crostata in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes. Once the pastry is golden brown, take it out and brush the entire crostata with a tasty apricot preserve. Once you have your desired amount spread over the crostata, place it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

“Good apple pie is a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” – Jane Austen

As I sit here writing this, I’m already on my second sliver (as my Nan Sulley would say) and I feel zero guilt. Apple Crostata with Cheddar Crust is definitely fit to eat.

Happy baking!

Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email erinmsulley@gmail.comTwitter: @ErinSulley Instagram: @erinsulley


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