Apple Torte with Breadcrumb Hazelnut Crust

This recipe, which originally appeared in Bon Appetit magazine, was shared with us by CSA member Sharon Kitchens. The crust is phenomenal!

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 2 lbs tart apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 cup hard apple cider or dry white wine

Crust

  • 8 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crust-less Italian or French bread (finely ground in processor)

  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked

  • 10 Tbs sugar, divided

  • 4 tsp finely grated lemon peel

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 6 Tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

  • Whipped cream

Directions: 

(Note: both the filling and the dough for the crust can be made one day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)

Filling - Arrange the apples in an even layer in a large, heavy skillet. Sprinkle them with sugar, then pour the apple cider over them. Cover, and cook over medium heat until the apples are tender , 8 to 10 minutes, gently turning apples once or twice. Uncover; cook until juices evaporate, frequently but carefully turning apples to keep them from burning, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let the apples cool completely in the skillet.  Transfer to a bowl. Cover, and chill.

Crust - Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread the breadcrumbs on a large, rimmed baking sheet. (NOTE: The 8 cups of fresh breadcrumbs will bake down to about 3 cups.) Bake until dried and light golden, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool.

Finely grind the hazelnuts with 6 Tbs sugar in a food processor. Add 3 cups of breadcrumbs; process 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to large bowl. Stir in 4 Tbs sugar, lemon peel, and salt.

Combine the milk and butter in small saucepan. Warm over medium heat just until butter melts. Pour the milk-butter mixture over the breadcrumb mixture; stir until moistened (dough will be sticky). Let the dough rest in bowl until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Transfer 1 cup of the dough to a floured work surface. Gather it into ball; flatten into a 9-inch round disk.; wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour. This will be the top crust.

Transfer remaining dough to your work surface. Gather it into a ball; flatten it into a disk. Press the disk onto the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, pushing crust up to extend 1/2 inch above sides. Cover; chill at least 1 hour.

Assembly - Preheat oven to 375°F.

Fill the bottom crust with the apple mixture. Place the top crust over the filling. Fold the bottom crust overhang up over top crust edges, and press together to seal. Bake the torte until the crust is deep golden and begins to separate from the sides of the pan (top crust may crack), about 1 hour. Cool in the pan on a rack at least 2 hours. Carefully remove the sides of the tart pan. Transfer torte to a platter. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.