Grigliata Umbra

Umbrian Apple Tart

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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    12 to 15

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

When I first saw a grigliata Umbra, in the window of the Bottega del Pasticciere, in Assisi, I was slightly appalled that the little card proclaiming the ingredients included cocoa as part of the filling made with apples, raisins, and walnuts. One taste and I was a convert. The cocoa is used in small quantity and adds color and richness to the filling, rather than a strong chocolate flavor.

The name of the pastry derives from the strips of dough placed on the filling in the form of a grill.

The variation that follows this recipe substitutes cornmeal for the cocoa for a pastry called brustegno — a bit heavier than the apple grigliata, but an interestingly rustic dessert.


    Pasta Frolla

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk or water

    Apple Filling

  • pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith
  • cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • cup or 1 small jar apple jelly for the glaze


For the pasta frolla, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Rub in the butter until it is absorbed, making sure the mixture remains cool and powdery and does not become pasty. Beat the egg with the milk or water and stir in with a fork. Continue stirring until the dough holds together, then knead it briefly, just until smooth. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until firm.

For the apple filling, peel, core, and grate the apples coarsely by hand or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Combine with the sugar and water in a nonreactive saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Place over medium heat. When the mixture begins to simmer, lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook 5 minutes, until the apples are swimming in water. Uncover, add the remaining filling ingredients, and cook over low heat, stirring often, about 15 to 20 minutes, until the filling is reduced to a thick paste. Cool the filling in a bowl at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

To assemble the pastry, butter a 10 × 15-inch jelly roll pan. On a floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the dough into a rectangle about 12 × 17 inches, roll up on the rolling pin, and unroll into the pan. Press the dough well into the pan and trim the edges of the dough so they are even with the top of the pan. Refrigerate the lined pan until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

Spread the filling evenly over the dough. Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle 4 × 15 inches. Cut into long strips, ½ inch wide. Arrange the strips on the filling, 4 in each direction, to make a “grill,” or perpendicular lattice. Trim away the excess dough at the edges. Bake the grigliata at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, until the pastry is baked through. Cool in the pan on a rack. When it is cool, cover with the back of another pan and invert to remove the pan in which it was baked. Place a cutting board on the pastry and reinvert, removing the other pan.

For the glaze, place the apple jelly in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the glaze until it is sticky. Brush on the filling and cool a few minutes to allow the glaze to set. Cut the grigliata into 3- or 4-inch squares to serve.