Friday, October 17, 2014

Gluten-free baking in Anderson Valley { apple + fig crostata with polenta crust}

gluten free apple tart galette crostata polenta crust yellow corn meal

I have posted variations of this crostata recipe {a standby dessert favorite!} before ~ upon first discovering it in Umbria {cherry ricotta}, at last fall's orchard harvest in Anderson Valley {plum and fig} and earlier this summer at the Russian River {apricot}. Credit for baking inspiration and for the original crostata recipe goes to Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome, whose blog posts are a constant source of inspiring recipe ideas.

This fool proof crust can be whipped up from just a five pantry staples, takes almost no prep time {no kneading, no rolling, no chilling} ~ and turns out a buttery shortcrust every time! This time it's an adaptation of Elizabeth's recipe ~ with a gluten-free twist ...

Without flour in the pantry while house sitting for my friend Shannon earlier this summer, I discovered baking with yellow corn meal {basically swapping the all-purpose flour that the crostata recipe called for with polenta meal} - and absolutely loved the resulting crunchy golden crust!

While in Anderson Valley last week, we harvested the last of the summer's Mission figs for a golden fig crostata and picked tiny Wickson crab apples for sheets of fragrant apple crostata …

the ingredients.
2 cups yellow corn meal
{or substitute 1/2 cup with almond meal for more "crunch"}
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 stick butter {I like to use salted Irish butter}
¼ teaspoon salt

gluten free crostata galette apple tart
polenta crust apple tart galette crostata gluten free

Preheat the oven to 350ºF {180ºC}.

Place the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center of the mound: add butter cubes, sugar, salt and the eggs in the dent.

Mix the wet ingredients with your fingers, gently mushing it all together, eventually working in the rest of the flour.

Just use your hands and give it a few good shoves with the heel of your hand to work it all together.

Grease a tart pan generously with butter. I usually use my 9" round tart pan or a vintage French rectangular pan, but any pan {or even "freestyle" crostata on a baking sheet} will do.

Place the dough in the pan, slowly spreading it out with the heel of your hand and pressing up against the sides of the pan - et voila, you have a base waiting to get layered …

Slice the fruit of your choice and spread layers of fruit evenly on the crust.

Bake the tart for about 35 minutes, until the crust turns golden & the shortcrust smell starts to fill the kitchen. Let crostata cool to room temperature and serve ...

polenta crust fig crostata galette

Follow along on Instagram ...


all photos © dinners with friends

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