|Serves: 8||Cuisine: Italian|
Sfogliata di Mele
Di Maggio ciliege per assaggio, di giugno ciliege a pugno
In May a mere taste of cherries, by June cherries by the fistful
A deeply flavorful crisp crust filled with slow-cooked apples and dark chocolate. The pie crust is actually multiple thin layers of dough, like the French millefeuille puff pastry, but made with olive oil instead of butter. Inside each layer is a sprinkle of aromatic homemade cinnamon sugar.
I wasn’t going to include Italian apple pie in this book because I’ve always assumed that American apple pies can’t be beat. Then I tasted this one made by a spry grandmother in Teramo, a region in Abruzzo and changed my mind.
Be sure to select a top quality olive oil. You’ll taste the difference! And here is a hint from the author: “I used only the weight of the flour in all the recipes. It’s really the best way to bake as cup measures of flour vary dramatically. Some people pack it tightly into the cup and get more in, some use a light touch and get a fluffy, but lesser amount in.”
- For the Filling:
- 4 pounds firm cooking Apples, such as Rome Beauty or Empire
- ½ cup granulated Sugar, plus more to taste
- 1 ounce Slitti Dark Chocolate, chopped
- ⅓ cup chopped Almonds
- Zest of ½ Lemon
- For the Pie Crust:
- 1 ½ cups dry White Wine
- 1 cup granulated Sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 16 ounces all-purpose Flour, about 1 ¾ cups, plus more as needed
- 1 cup of best quality Olive Oil, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 2-inch stick of Cinnamon
For the Filling:
- Peel, core and slice the apples, and toss them with the sugar in a saucepan. Cook, covered, over low heat, for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick applesauce-like filling. Allow to cool to room temperature and then stir in the dark chocolate, almonds and zest. Reserve.
For the Pie Crust:
- Combine the wine and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Put the flour onto a work surface, making a well in the center. Pour the oil, heated wine, and salt into the well and, using a fork, slowly incorporate some of the flour into the liquid until dough forms. Knead the dough, by hand, for about 10 minutes until very elastic and smooth. If you like, you can knead the dough by passing it through the thickest setting on a pasta maker until elastic and smooth.
- Meanwhile, in a mini food processor or coffee grinder, process the remaining cup of sugar and cinnamon stick until the cinnamon is pulverized and fully combined with the sugar. Divide into 4 parts and reserve.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch cake pan with olive oil.
- Divide the dough into 5 sections, 3 for the bottom crust and 2 for the top crust.
- On a sheet of parchment paper or on a lightly oiled work surface roll one section of dough to a thin disc, just large enough to cover the bottom of the pan. It does not come up the side of the pan as in traditional pies. Drizzle on a little olive oil and one-fourth of the cinnamon sugar.
- Take another section of dough and roll it out into a thin disc and put onto the first layer. Drizzle with olive oil and one-fourth of the cinnamon sugar. Top with a third disc of dough and spread on the reserved apple filling.
- The top crust is two-layers thick. Top the apple filling with a disc of dough, drizzle with olive oil and the remaining cinnamon sugar. Finish with a final layer of thinly rolled out dough. Pierce the dough with a fork all along the edge of the pie to seal all the layers. Note that the crust is flush with the edges of the pan, more like a cake, than our traditional pinched piecrusts. Also piece the top of the pie in several places.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.