Bon Appétit Magazine: October Cover Recipe

Apple Torte with Breadcrumb-Hazelnut Crust

Rating: 2 out of 5 (incredibly frustrating recipe, results were poor)

Initial Thoughts:
Oh goodie – another dessert! And this slice of apple torte looks like fall served on a plate. Yum…

The Test:
Because this dish looked so appealing on the cover of Bon Appétit, I decided to make this for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Whoa – did all of the entertaining gurus out there all just gasp in unison?! I know you aren’t supposed to try a new recipe when you have a bunch of people turning up to your house to eat; it’s too risky. But in this case I was sucked in by the pretty picture and the fact that famed Italian chef Lidia Bastianich developed the recipe. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything.

I didn’t get a chance to properly read through the recipe until the day of our Thanksgiving dinner. (Another faux pas when trying a new recipe for the first time and dinner guests mere hours away from descending upon your house). If I had read it beforehand I would have immediately noticed that the recipe is confusing and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense! The list of ingredients for the crust calls for 8 cups of fresh breadcrumbs, but in the directions it says to use 3 cups. Hold the phone; am I missing something here?! But the clock was ticking so I shrugged off my doubts and got to work.

Because the recipe calls for ‘fresh’ breadcrumbs, I bought two loaves of French bread. Slicing the crusts off fresh bread was not fun. Not to mention incredibly messy! I tore the bread into bite sized pieces and measured out 8 cups which I toasted in the oven. Then I ground the bread in my food processor and measured out 3 cups of crumbs. Ha! So that’s how they got 8 cups to make 3 cups. Lidia’s math wasn’t off after all…


After chilling my dough for the suggested amount of time I proceeded to press out 9 inch disks to fit my pie plate. Quickly I realized there was no possible way I was going to be able to shape this strange breadcrumb dough into a large enough size. What were they thinking?! The recipe describes the whole process as if you were working with regular pastry dough and offers no tips or advice. In the end I made smaller sized crusts which fit perfectly into my individual sized tart pans. They looked cute but how would they taste?


One for the torte…


…and one for the cook!

It was at this point that I grabbed a Tenderflake pie crust from my freezer, doctored up a can of pure pumpkin I happened to have on hand, and started baking my plan B.

Next I moved on to the apple filling which also proved to be a frustrating experience. The recipe dictates that you must cook the fruit until tender, but mine just turned into apple sauce mush. Tasty, but definitely not the structured filling one desires in a torte.

At this point plan B was promoted to plan A.



The Results:
I was beginning to develop a complex about my cooking skills until I went online and read other comments posted about this recipe. What made it a flop? Lack of clarity for one thing. I wish the recipe had provided more direction; in particular the differing amounts of breadcrumb quantities, tips for the crust preparation, and even husking the hazelnuts (for which absolutely no instruction was provided). If it hadn’t been for the fact that I recently made Gale Gand’s Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread I would have had no idea how to best go about this process.

Before taking my first bite of the torte I thought to myself that perhaps the taste would make worthwhile all of the sweat and tears I shed for its preparation. If it tasted good I would be happy. Course I would never ever make it again, but I would still be happy.

Unfortunately the taste was just another in a long line of disappointments when it came to this recipe. The texture of the crust was incredibly odd, and instead of holding a true hazelnut flavour it merely tasted like breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter. I would have preferred to have had the hazelnuts featured more prominently in the overall taste. The lemon zest in the crust was a little startling, and the filling was very ordinary.

In the end we all cast aside the torte and focussed on the pumpkin pie. Thank god for canned pumpkin and pre-made pastry shells!

(For a copy of October’s recipe, please click here)

As part of my culinary new years resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine. Inspired by a New York restaurant owner who has been making the magazine’s cover recipes each month for the last 25 years, I decided to attempt to do the same while blogging about my monthly experiences along the way.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Bon Appétit and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos toinfo@cookthatbook.com.

Bon Appétit celebrates the world of great food and the pleasure of sharing it with others. Every issue invites readers into a hands-on experience, engaging them in all aspects of the epicurean lifestyle—cooking, dining, travel, entertaining, shopping and design. For more information please visit www.bonappetit.com