Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vincent Price's Crostata di Mele (Apple Tart)

This book eluded me for a long time.  I don't remember where or when I first read about Vincent Price and his love of food, but I knew I had to have a copy of the cookbook.  Unfortunately, every time the prices would come down to my cheapskate level, someone in the blog world would write about it and the prices would head back up.  I finally found one I could buy without needing an antacid, so I pounced on it!

While thumbing through the book, this apple tart recipe caught my eye, so I bookmarked it with the handy built-in ribbon bookmark.  Fancy!

It seemed simple enough - a tart crust, apples, apricot preserves and powdered sugar.  And mostly it was simple.  Except for the crust.  Well, the crust seemed simple, until I tried to move it to the tart pan.  It fell into at least a hundred pieces, all over the kitchen counter.

I gathered the crust fragments and re-rolled them.  I veeerrrry gently lifted the crust onto the rolling pin using a lefse stick, but when I moved it over to the pan, the crust broke apart again.  I would guess it was more like fifty pieces this time, so Pollyanna might call that progress.  I, on the other hand, broke out the "magic words" and proceeded to just mash the broken pieces together in the pan (while still muttering some magic words).  I didn't even try to make a lattice top - I just cut the top crust into 2" strips and placed them on the top in something slightly resembling a pattern.  Slightly.

The recipe wasn't terribly clear on how to place the apples in the crust, so I stood them on edge as best I could.  I had three large Granny Smith apples and was able to get almost all of the slices into the crust.  I only had a ten ounce jar of preserves (the 100% fruit type), but that seemed to be a good amount for the tart.

I was afraid that it would be tough after being rolled a second time, but miraculously, the crust ended up being tender and tasty and the combination of apples and apricots is fantastic.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Vincent Price's Crostata di Mele (Apple Tart) (Printable recipe)
from A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price (1965)
  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick butter, sliced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • grated rind of one lemon
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 12 ounces apricot preserves
  • powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 425F.

Sift the flour onto a pastry board.  Make a well in the center and add the sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt and lemon rind.  Work the center ingredients into a paste, then knead in the flour.  Form dough into a ball, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured board, roll out 2/3 of the dough and transfer to an 8-inch tart pan.  Trim overhanging edges.  Fill about 2/3 full with the apple slices.  Spread with the apricot preserves.
Roll out remaining pastry thinly and cut into strips 1/2 inch wide.  Arrange 10 strips lattice-fashion over filling and trim overhanging edges.  Place a strip all around the edge of the filling and flute this with the bottom layer of pastry.
Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for 30 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve warm.


  1. I may just have to make this it looks so delicious. I actually think your topping looks prettier than a lattice. What are you going to bake in honor of this book's 50 yr. anniversary?

  2. It is really good! Since it has no added spices, the apple flavor comes through pure and strong. I usually try to foist my leftovers off on other people, but I smuggled the last slice home and then sent my nephew a text the next day before I ate it, just to taunt him. heh heh - good times! ;)

    As for the 50th anniversary, I am leaning toward the Luchow's sauerbraten with potato dumplings. Something about fall makes me really want German food and it's been a long time since I had sauerbraten. It has to marinate for four days, so I need to plan ahead a little (and not eat all the gingersnaps before day 5!).