Leaves are falling, days are shorter and the temperature's dropping, the time right now is perfect to celebrate Fall and grape harvest. Make one large tart or two to share with friends using roasted grapes with just a touch of sugar.
Grape Crostata with Ricotta Cream for (1) serves 8
2 cups unbleached white flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
8 ounces very cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
¼ cup ice water
½ cup sweet orange marmalade
2 pounds seedless grapes, washed and halved
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
In a food processor, combine flour with sugar and salt. Add cold butter and egg and pulse 5 times until the mixture is crumbly. Add 1-2 tablespoons ice water at a time, or more as needed, and pulse again until a dough ball has formed. Remove and flatten the dough, wrap and chill for 30 minutes. (This will make it easier to roll out.) On a clean work surface liberally sprinkled with flour, begin to roll out the pastry to a 12-inch wide and ¼-inch thick circle, using the rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in awhile, add flour and turn the pastry a quarter turn so it rolls out uniformly. As the edges fray, pinch them with your finger and continue rolling. Lift the pastry and put onto a large parchment paper–lined baking pan. It's important to put your pastry on the baking pan before filling.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the marmalade over the pastry base leaving a 3-inch edge around the outside of the circle. Toss the washed grapes with brown sugar and cornstarch, then spread the grapes all over the base, piling them towards the center, and dot with the butter. Fold in the sides of the pastry towards the center leaving the center uncovered. Use a pastry brush to dab water all over the top edge of the pastry and sprinkle the pastry with granulated sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, until the pastry edges are golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm with dollops of chilled ricotta cream.
for Ricotta Cream: 1 cup ricotta cheese mixed with 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 teaspoon orange zest.
Roasted Squash Tart serves 4
Whenever I make this tart it reminds me of Holland. Not that this dish is particularly Dutch, but the use of Gouda cheese somehow brings back memories of my travels around the Netherlands. Gouda, or "How-da" as the locals say, is a cheese named after the city of Gouda. Did you know It is one of the most popular cheeses in the world? Accounting for 60 percent of the world's cheese consumption. Who knew? Aged Gouda, like Old Amsterdam, with its brittle, crumbly, crystalline texture and complex burnt-caramel flavor, is an excellent choice to use for this recipe. You can use your favorite types of Gouda, goat’s milk Gouda and smoked Gouda are good options here. This recipe makes great use of butternut squash, for those who don't like all things pumpkin.
4 cups mushrooms, cremini, chanterelle, oyster, sliced
2 large leeks, white to light green parts, see chef’s note
3 cups butternut squash, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of chile flakes
1 cup grated aged Gouda cheese
Fresh chopped herbs (parsley and chives), for garnish
Heat the oven to 400°F. On a large parchment paper–lined baking sheet, toss the mushrooms and leeks with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread out evenly. On another large parchment paper–lined baking sheet, toss the squash with 2 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread out evenly as well. Roast both pans, for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges. Don’t let the vegetables get too brown or overcooked, as they will be cooked again. Set aside to cool. To prep ahead, you can roast the vegetables earlier in the day.
Lightly oil a large baking sheet. Roll the puff pastry into a rectangle to thin out the dough to ¼” thin, then transfer to the oiled baking sheet. (It does not have to be perfectly shaped)
Spread the mushroom-leek mixture onto the dough, sprinkle with fresh thyme and chile flakes, and top with the grated cheese, followed by the roasted squash. Sprinkle lightly with salt and drizzle with some olive oil. In a 400°F oven, bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown all over. Serve warm, with more fresh chopped herbs