Still hoping your crazy banjo-playing cousin is going to bring over something a little more useful this Thanksgiving, say, a pastry chef? According to this week's Name That Pastry Chef Zoe Nathan, having a pastry chef in the family doesn't mean the Thanksgiving table is going to be filled with dozens of pies and tarts. “We are going to my mom's, and I am sitting on the couch,” announces Nathan as an assistant parades a tray full of freshly baked fruit tarts through Huckleberry Cafe's tiny kitchen in Santa Monica.

She's not doing a lot of sitting down now. Throughout the coming week, Nathan will be filling dozens of Thanksgiving To-Go orders for Huckleberry customers. There's turkey to roast, of course, but also vegetable potpie, savory bread pudding and apple crostata to bake. When asked whether she really isn't cooking a thing this Thanksgiving, she smiled. “Well, of course I will take some dessert to Mom's. Probably a crostata.”

Zoe Nathan's Thanksgiving Apple Crostata

From: Pastry chef Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry Cafe and Rustic Canyon.

Note: The apples in this recipe are cored but not peeled to lend more flavor and texture.

Makes: 1 large crostata, serves 8 to 10

For the Dough

4 ounces butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons ice water

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1. In food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and pulse until pea size. Add the water add water and pulse until the dough just comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic, flatten and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


8 Pink Lady apples, cored and sliced

1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar, depending on sweetness of the fruit

8 ounces unsalted butter, divided

Generous pinch of salt

1/3 cup sugar

1. In a large sauté pan, melt 4 ounces of butter. Add the sliced apples, brown sugar and salt and saute until soft and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 by 12-inch square. Fold in half and gently transfer to the center of a greased baking sheet. Unfold the dough and sprinkle with the cooked apples, leaving a 2-inch edge of dough free of apples all the way around the tart. Fold the edges of the dough partially over the fruit filling (a good deal of the center fruit will be visible).

3. Cut the remaining 4 ounces of butter into 6 slices and scatter them on top of the crostata. Sprinkle the entire tart with the sugar and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. liberally with 1/3 cup of sugar and put in the 375 degree oven to bake until golden brown (45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven)

4. Remove from oven and cool completely before carefully removing from the baking sheet. Serve with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

LA Weekly