I should have heeded the above warning before I gathered ingredients and spent a couple of hours struggling – in the end, unsuccessfully – to duplicate the Apple Torte with Breadcrumb Hazelnut Crust pictured in all its supposed gorgeousity on the cover of October’s issue of Bon Appetit magazine.
This dessert is featured in an article called “Lidia’s Friuli”: a piece about Lidia Bastianich, the New York chef and restaurateur beloved and respected by so many, including me. Its credits attribute the text to Nina Elder – and a well-written text it is – and recipes to Bastianich herself.
I detected trouble early on in the game when the recipe’s dough instructions called for 8 cups of freshly made breadcrumbs. I tried to tweak things by not using all of them and removed the apples that were swimming in their cooking liquid using a slotted spoon to avoid another disaster. Long story short, the so-called torte wound up being a lame crumble with a dry topping and bland filling. Its final destination was the garbage bin that was later attacked by squirrels. Perhaps this sad failure was to their taste.
Checking the Epicurious web site and adding my comments to those of others, I realized I was not alone. There were many similar reports.
How could this happen in a magazine like Bon Appetit? With 24 years as a food editor/columnist for two major Canadian newspapers under my belt, I have long lived in terror of making mistakes in published recipes. My hunch is that this one somehow escaped being tested by the magazine’s staff who should know better than to let this happen, especially when the recipe is from a chef since chefs are notoriously bad at giving correct amounts and describing techniques in a way that home cooks can understand.
To put a seductive picture of Lidia’s torte on the mag’s cover is a last straw. All I can say is “Oy vey” and please do the right thing by publishing a correction.