This year for Halloween I created a monster. Behold, THE FRANKENCRUST!
This was my very first attempt at making a pie crust from scratch, and while it was not actually a horror show, it’s certainly not going to win any beauty contests. I think I made the right choice, starting with a rustic crostata, rather than a perfect lattice-top pie.
The crust recipe is from a summer fruit crostata by Ina Garten. The only change I made was to eliminate the sugar. I want to tell you that I did everything just right, but I honestly don’t remember – it all happened so fast.
Everything I’d heard about making pastry crust emphasized working the dough very little, and keeping the butter super cold. So, I made the crust as fast as humanly possible to keep everything cold and tender, stopping only to snap a couple photos.
I filled the crust with sautéed cremini mushrooms and leeks, blobs of herbed goat cheese, and fresh thyme leaves.
But I had this silly idea that having too much filling would make the bottom of the crust soggy, and, as Julia Child once said, “Nobody likes a soggy bottom.” So the filling was a little scant. The crust was crisp and delicate and buttery, but there was too much of it for the amount of filling. Next time I make this crostata, I’ll double the mushrooms, goat cheese, and thyme.
Recipe below the fold
Cremini Mushroom, Goat Cheese, and Leek Crostata with Fresh Thyme
Crust recipe adapted from Ina Garten
For the pastry (makes 2 crusts):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold butter, diced
6 tablespoons ice water
For the filling (makes 1 not-nearly-full-enough crostata):
1 tablespoon butter
1 small leek, chopped
4 ounces quartered cremini mushrooms*
1 teaspoon fresh thyme*
2 ounces goat cheese*
*I’d suggest doubling the amount of mushrooms, thyme, and cheese to properly fill out the crust.
Place the flour and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll it into a ball, cut in half, and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate one for at least 1 hour. The other disk of dough can be frozen for a future use.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes until they’re slightly softened. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and continue to cook for several more minutes. Stir in thyme.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the baking sheet.
Cut the goat cheese into small pieces onto the center of the crust, and top with the vegetables. Fold in the edges of the crust, and brush with a beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.