Make Ahead

Cheese Plate Crostata (fig, hazelnut, apple, and pecorino crostata)

October  7, 2009
2 Ratings
Author Notes

My husband is notorious for volunteering “us” to bring a dish to a dinner party – usually at the last minute and without consulting me on the dish. This dish originated from one such occasion. It was 2:00 p.m. and we were headed to a dinner party at 7:00 and he “remembered” that we were supposed to bring the cheese course. I really didn’t want to just plop a few cheeses, nuts, and fruit on a tray. So, I made the fig and hazelnut jam, spread it on sliced apples, topped it with the pecorino and briefly broiled it. I really liked the contrast of the tart apple, sweet jam, and salty pecorino. Over the years, I have played with the recipe and it has evolved into this crostata. The pastry is based on a Martha Stewart recipe but you could use your favorite pastry dough (just decrease the sugar if there is a lot and add some rosemary) – I’m actually going to try the pastry dough used in the Savory Plum Tart recipe posted by JackieK the next time I make this dish. —melissav

  • Serves 1 crostata
  • Pie Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour + more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Butter (Unsalted) - Very cold and cut into pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons Ice Water
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
  • Filling
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 3/8 cup Sugar
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • 16 Dried Figs, Halved
  • 3 tablespoons Brandy
  • 1 Lemon
  • 3/8 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and sliced
  • approx. 2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano
In This Recipe
  1. Make the Dough: In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, salt, and rosemary to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 2 TB ice water; pulse until crumbly but holds together when squeezed (it won't look like it will hold together until you squeeze it). If necessary, gradually add up to 2 TB more water). Don't over mix. Flatten into disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 3 days.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the water, sugar, and sprig of rosemary. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolved.
  3. Add the figs and brandy to the simple syrup. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the rosemary sprig and discard. Remove 2TB of the syrup from the pot into a small bowl and add the juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Set aside.
  5. Pour the remaining syrup/fig mixture into the food processor. Add the hazelnuts and the juice from the remaining half of the lemon. Blend, pulsing a few times, until a coarse puree. Set aside.
  6. Roll dough into a round (or whatever shape it ends up in - this is rustic dish). Place on baking sheet (or silpat on baking sheet).
  7. Spread the fig/hazelnut mixture on the crust leaving a 1.5-2 inch border. You may have some jam left depending on how big your dough round ended up. Feel free to eat directly from the bowl or save for your morning toast. It holds up well.
  8. Toss the sliced apples with the reserved simple syrup/lemon juice mixture. Layer the apples over the fig/hazelnut mixture.
  9. Fold the dough border over the edge of the filling, pleating if you are so inclined. Brush the crust with the egg wash.
  10. Bake in a 350 degree over for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the pecorino evenly over the apples (again the amount of cheese may vary depending on how big the dough round ended up). Return to the oven for about 10 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.
  11. Cut and enjoy. I particularly enjoy the leftovers in the morning for breakfast!

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