A favorite fall/winter dessert at our farmhouse is la rocciata – a rustic apple roll stuffed with pine nuts, walnuts, cinnamon & golden raisins. Don’t me mislead – the translation (the rock) has little to do with the consistency of the dough (as it is actually very light & flaky) but more to do with the word for ’round’ in dialect. It is very similar to a strudel (and may even originate from it)-but better!
La rocciata may be most well known as a dish from our neighbors in Umbria. (Here’s a fun fact- if you look across the ‘street’ from our farmhouse there is literally an island of Umbria in our front yard!) And since we love to share the little know recipes of our area, we’ll let it slide this isn’t traditionally known as Marchigiano – because it’s just so delicious & simple! (Don’t let the long ingredient list turn you off – half of it you just toss into the food processor.)
To really enjoy this spicy flaky treat buy a bottle of vin santo (wine of the saints or holy wine) & dunk your pieces in this rich woody-smokey dessert wine.
Rustic Apple Roll with Pine Nuts
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 green apples, peeled, cored & chopped (cut to about the same size as the raisins)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cut pine nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Sambuca, anisette or brandy
1 egg, beaten
Pulse the flour, sugar & salt in a food processor. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time. Pulse. Add butter. pulse until in tiny pieces.
With motor on, add oil & mix until dough forms.
Turn out dough & kneed for about 2 minutes until smooth, adding a little flour if needed.
Wrap in plastic & refrigerate for 1 hour
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit or 185 Celsius
Toss apples, nuts, sugar, raisins, spices & liquor in a bowl.
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.
Roll dough between parchment to form 4 12×8 rectangles. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Return the dough to a lightly floured surface. Spoon a cup of the apple filling onto each rectagnle in a thick stripe about 1/2 inch up from along the edge. Roll up the pastry to enclose the filling, pressing the seams to seal. Transfer the rolls to a large cookie sheet, seam sides down & brush the tops with the beaten egg.
Bake until golden brown – about 35 – 40 minutes.
Serve warm & cut in half or into chunks.