Wish Upon A Dish: Apple Crostata with a Cream Cheese Almond Flour Crust {+ the Lowdown on Nut Flours}

November 18, 2013

Apple Crostata with a Cream Cheese Almond Flour Crust {+ the Lowdown on Nut Flours}

We interrupt this normally savory food post to showcase my first apple pie, EVER!

Yup, you got it right.
FIRST baked apple dessert.

There are other reasons than a traditional crust can be a no-no for a diabetic.
Forget that it's foolproof, according to the masses.
Forget that it takes only 10 minutes to make.
Forget that homemade is 150% better than cardboard crusts.
Forget that my mother made THE BEST Apple Pie I ever ate.
Forget that my sister refuses to give me her recipe (she's such a jerk that way).

There can be only one reason.
I am scared to death of a crust. Yup, a ball of dough. Flour, butter, water, salt and sugar.
Simple, right? Depends.
I made it harder by choosing to make a cream cheese & almond flour dough.
What was I possibly thinking?

My mom made these Swedish cookies that were more a pastry than a cookie and that is the crust I want for my first apple pie.
Today is a good day to make a cream cheese crust. It's right at 40 degrees and that is the perfect temp for keeping this crust firm while I shape it. We can not have a weepy crust, can we?

My goal was to use the least amount of AP flour as possible without compromising the structural integrity of the crust, but that meant it would be extremely tender. Tender crusts will crack, so use a bench scraper to fold over the edges of the crostata, pressing gently with your fingers to close up any large rips and then let the egg wash be the glue. 

Remember, it's a rustic pie and flaws make it more attractive, plus I will be drizzling a glaze over the top as well as sprinkling toasted almonds on top soon as it cools. That should help hide most of the flaws.

I bought a glass cutting board on sale (20x24") and it really helped keep the dough cold, plus it didn't hurt that I was also working outside on my patio table.

Let's get cooking.......

Apple and Blueberry Crostata
make one 10-inch crostata
* 3/4 cup AP flour
* 1/4 cup almond flour
* 1 tablespoon vodka
* 1 tablespoon cold water
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon Truvia
* 4 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, grated
* 2 tablespoons cream cheese or mascarpone
* Pinch of salt

1. Process flours, sugars and cream cheese. Add butter and pulse until the dough just starts to combine.
2. Add vodka and half the water and pulse the dough till it makes a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl, adding more water if needed.
3. Remove from the processor, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

* 3 apples, peeled and sliced
* 1 cup blueberries
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon apple or ginger brandy
* 1 tablespoon chia seeds
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest

* 1 egg + water, beaten
* 1 tablespoon finishing sugar
* sheet pan covered with parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Place all the filling ingredients in a large bowl to macerate.
3. Roll out the dough to a 14-15-inch circle.
4. Spoon the filling in the middle and fold over the edges, pressing the creases to stick together.
5. Carefully lift or slide the crostata onto the parchment paper, brush the beaten egg all over the crust and sprinkle the natural sugar evenly over. the whole top.
6. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
7. Remove and cool.

Serve with ice cream, or make a powdered sugar glaze and top with toasted almonds or whipped cream.

About nut flours:
These flours are available for purchase at nuts.com. Even if you don't want to order nut flours, they have the best prices on everything they sell. Opinion is my own and you will understand if you visit their site.

Almond flour (sometimes referred to as almond meal) - made from raw skinless blanched almonds that have been finely ground. Almond flour can be used as a gluten-free substitute in baking products such as cookies, cakes and pastries, and in other recipes that call for wheat flour. Almond flour should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for a longer shelf-life. Almond flour is nutrient rich and well-suited for carbohydrate-restricted diets.

Cashew flour - made from finely ground and raw cashews, and is perfect for gluten-free, low glycemic recipes. Cashew flour will bring a lovely, light flavor and aroma to your favorite dishes.
Cashew flour can be combined with other gluten-free flours like almond flour or coconut flour, or used on its own as a flour substitute. Cashew flour will have more fat, protein, and moisture than traditional all-purpose flour, and a light, nutty flavor. Cashew flour can be used in quick baking recipes like pancakes, some cookies, cakes and cupcakes. It can also lend an exotic and delicate flavor to savory dishes like currys, and will pair perfectly with coconut and lime flavors. Cashew flour can be used as a thickener for sauces, and can be un-baked into raw cookies, pies, or other desserts.

Chestnut flour - full of sweet, nutty flavor. The perfect ingredient for adding more flavor to all your baked goods. Substitute up to one-third of the recommended flour in your favorite recipes with chestnut flour. And unlike other nut flours, chestnut flour is remarkably low in fat and has a low glycemic index.

Coconut flour - consist of 14% coconut oil and 58% dietary fiber. The remaining 28% consists of water, protein, and carbohydrate. Ideal for baking, it has fewer digestible (net) carbs than other flours and it even has fewer digestible carbs than some vegetables. It is gluten-free and hypoallergenic with as much protein as wheat flour but 2x the fiber. Ideal for those who follow a low-carb eating plan, coconut flour works well as part of a weight loss program because it promotes a feeling of fullness.

Hazelnut flour - ideal natural addition to any baking adding a sweet and subtle nut flavour to enhance your cooking. Produced from cold-pressed hazelnuts following the removal of the oil. It is the ideal flour substitute to all baked goods from breads and muffins to cakes and cookies.  Hazelnut flour is usually ground including their skin, giving a rich dark colour and adding the extra benefit of the nutrition found in the skin.
Hazelnuts are proven to be high in protein, low in carbohydrates and a great source of dietary fiber.

Peanut flour - made from crushed, fully or partly defatted peanuts. Depending on the quantity of fat removed, is highly protein-dense, providing up to 31.32g per cup (60g). Culinary professionals use peanut flour as a thickener for soups, a flavor and aromatic enhancer in breads, pastries and main dishes.  Listed as being very nutritional and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol, it is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Folate, Potassium and Zinc, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese.

Pecan flour - baking flour made from pecan nuts. It serves as a popular alternative to traditional wheat flour, as well as other varieties of grain-based flours.
Pecan flour can be substituted for wheat flour and serves as a tasty ingredient in bread and cake recipes. This flour can be used to bread fish or chicken in place of traditional bread crumbs for those looking for a slightly sweeter flavor. One of the primary advantages of pecan flour is that it is free of the glutens found in wheat flour and it offers many of the same nutritional benefits as other grain flours. It also provides added nutrients like selenium, Vitamin E, and healthy fats that are typically associated with nuts. It's known for its coarse texture and dark color, as well as its slightly sweet and nutty taste.

Pistachio flour - baking enthusiasts love the versatility and flavor of gluten-free pistachio flour/meal. Often cold-pressed, pistachio kernels create a fabulous flour. Gourmet chefs prize it for its rich flavor and nutritional value in baked goods, plus it makes a wonderful breading for chicken, fish, or tofu. Or sprinkle it on your breakfast cereal for an extra protein and flavor punch.
Pistachios are nutrient-dense, providing a good balance of nutritional value per calorie. Like all nuts, pistachios are relatively high in monounsaturated fats, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol, possibly reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. What's more, pistachios are low in saturated fat.
Pistachios have no cholesterol making them an excellent heart-healthy snack! An excellent source of dietary fiber, one ounce contains 3.1 grams of fiber, potassium, protein, 5g carbs and significant amount of vitamins and minerals.

Soy flour - made from dehulled, roasted soybeans that have been ground into a fine powder. Rich in high-quality protein, soy flour adds a pleasant texture and subtle, nutty flavor to a variety of products. Soy flour is available in full-fat, low-fat, and de-fatted varieties. Full-fat contains less oil; de-fatted contains none. All three are good protein sources, but de-fatted has the highest protein content. Use soy flour to thicken gravies and cream sauces, make homemade soymilk or coat fried foods. Soy flour also works well as a baking ingredient. Frying with soy flour reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the fried food. Soy flour also adds significant protein to home-baked goods and keeps them fresh longer. Other benefits of baking with soy flour include the golden color, fine texture, tenderness and moistness given to baked goods. Since soy flour is gluten-free, it can only partially replace the wheat flour in a bread recipe. Using about 15 percent soy flour creates a moist, dense bread with a nutty flavor. Place two tablespoons soy flour in a measuring cup before measuring the wheat flour called for in a bread recipe. In baked goods that are not yeast-raised (quick breads, muffins, scones, etc.) up to 30 percent of the wheat flour can be replaced with soy flour. Recipes specifically developed for soy flour often call for it in higher amounts.

Walnut flour - ideal natural addition to your baking, adding flavour and texture by replacing some of the flour quantity in your favorite recipe. Replace 1/4 of the flour quantity in your favorite cake and biscuit recipe for an enhanced nut flavor. A delicious addition to your favorite crumble topping over fruit.
Walnut Flour is highly recommended in baking Bread for a full nut flavor and texture.
This natural ingredient is produced from cold-pressed walnuts following the removal of the oil.
As walnuts have a high oil content, this flour has a slightly moist consistency.
Storage in the fridge or freezer is recommended.
Walnut flour is a valuable addition to the Gluten-Free diet and is packed with nutrition.

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