Sin(fully) Delicious Hvar: Discover the Dalmatian-Venetian Pie recipe with San Marco's Chef Igor Kurtanjek
Autumn is certainly a Pie season...
Yesterday was a cozy autumn day in Hvar and I took advantage of this relaxed island atmosphere. I was sitting on my porch overlooking the Paklinski islands, breathing sweet autumn smells and scrolling through my tablet when an article caught my eye, the Washington State University published a recent study regarding Granny Smith apples which may actually help prevent disorders associated with diabetes and obesity.
To celebrate this fact I decided to combine those great Granny Smith apples I just got from my friend in Kaštel Novi near Split (of course I always have to highlight it is organically grown/no pesticide) and added a dash of my own secret ingredient. How?
I’m an incorrigible romantic so I decided to make a slight retrospective on some ancient times when Dalmatia was under the patronage of Venice (which can be widely seen in Hvar's cultural heritage) and the time of an Dalmatian anthem – Maraschino.
The result? A sinfully delicious double-crust pie with an intriguing tart-sweet flavor.
But before getting our hands dirty, let’s do a small introduction to our main ingredients:
THE GRANNY SMITH APPLE
The Granny Smith green apple was discovered in Australia in the 60-ies of the 19th century as a chance seedling in a landfill for disposal. It is assumed that it is a hybrid of random European wild and domestic apples. Mrs. Maria Ann Smith, which discovered them, found that the apple selection is excellent for cooking and for consumption; she named the new variety Granny Smith and is responsible for the expansion of its popularity. Nowadays Granny Smith has become virtually a synonymous with the apple. This somewhat unusual apple attracts with its green grass color and has a versatility that consumers love. In Croatia it is grown as a variety in atypical areas such as Dalmatia, Istria and Baranja.
Granny Smith is one of the several apple sorts that are high in antioxidant activity, and they boast the highest concentration of phenols amongst the apple breeds. Granny Smiths are also naturally low in calories and high in dietary fiber and potassium, making them commonly recommended as a component of healthy and weight-loss diets.
Maraschino is a liqueur from the city of Zadar in Dalmatia, obtained from the distillation of Marasca cherries. The small, slightly sour fruit of the marasca cherry tree (cerasus acidior), which grows wild along parts of the Dalmatian coast, lends the liqueur its unique aroma. And here comes the history…in 1759, Francesco Drioli, a Venetian merchant, began industrial-scale production of Maraschino in Zadar, the capital of Dalmatia, then a possession of the Venetian Republic. Distilled from the traditional Marasca cherry it has been appreciated for centuries; in 1877 the Duke of York (the future George V) and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the factory, in 1804 the Austrian Emperor granted the factory the title Imperial Regia Privilegiata entitling it to use the Imperial coat of arms, the liqueur was bottled in Vetro di Murano glass bottles from Venice and Casanova considered it to have extraordinary potency - so who are we to disagree?
We had enough fun so now back on track, let’s start with the recipe.
"The Ingredients" for 8 servings:
- 2½ cups flour, sifted
- 2 tbsp. sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp. salt
- 18 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, quartered, and cut into ⅛" slices
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 2 tbsp. Maraschino cherry liqueur
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Put flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Working in 4 batches, add butter and pulse until the flour resembles coarse meal flecked with pea-size pieces of butter. Continue to pulse, sprinkling in a total of 6–8 tbsp. of ice water between pulses, until the dough begins to hold together. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in half, and form 2 dough balls. Flatten each dough ball slightly to make a disk. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 220˚C. Roll out each disk of dough on a lightly floured surface. Fit 1 round of dough into a pie plate; set second round of dough aside.
In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, Maraschino, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Transfer filling to the pie plate and use a spoon to distribute evenly. Brush edges of pastry with some of the egg and top with remaining pastry round. Trim edges with a knife and crimp with your fingers. Brush top of pastry with remaining egg and sprinkle with a little sugar. Using a knife, make 4 slits in pastry top and poke with tines of a fork. Transfer pie to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 170˚C and continue baking until crust is golden brown and a knife inserted into one of the slits slides easily through apples, about 40 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 2 hours before serving.
Bon Apetit from Igor Kurtanjek, Chef at San Marco Venetian terrace Hvar