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Apple Crostata

This recipe is part of the “Celebratory Goose Dinner” miniseries. For the complete menu, timetable, and printable shopping list, see the introductory post.

Apple crostata

In my world, the true hallmark of a good recipe is one that gets made more than once. With so many exciting new recipes to try amidst the sea of cookbooks, magazines and Pinterest links I’ve surrounded myself with, it seems a shame to repeat a recipe if it isn’t a family classic or one of Mr. M’s favorites. After all, while it would be foolhardy to try a new Italian meatball recipe (this one is the ONE), it would likewise be wasteful to limit yourself to a single pie when so many options abound!

Yet I’ve made this recipe not once, not twice, but three times now since I first discovered the recipe fifteen months ago. That’s high praise. My favorite part is the crust: delicious and — stay with me here — easy. Yup, easy pie crust. If Julia Child can embrace the food processor, then so can I, with no shame. Let me explain…

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I love baking, but tend more toward the cake/brownie/gooey/quickbread/cookie end of the spectrum. Pies and pastry, meringue and custards…well, they’re generally not very chocolately, so what good are they? I may fuss with appetizers and enjoy gourmet treats, but I want my desserts rich, fudgy, and messy. I suppose this makes me fairly American.

Not all menus can support such rich desserts, however, and the goose dinner menu falls squarely in that category. So what does any red, white and blue-blooded American eat for dessert if there’s no chocolate? Apple pie, of course.

But…crust. Pie crusts are notoriously finicky. If your family is anything like mine, usually one or two folks take on the role of designated family pie maker, and the rest of us are off the hook. Who wants to deal with the fuss? And while I’ll take a cue from Julia and embrace the food processor, I will NOT take a cue from a certain unnamed family member who recommends using Pillsbury dough. (Clearly not one of the designated pie makers). 

So there’s got to be something special about a pie recipe that begs a novice to make it three times. The appeal is twofold: First, the dough is whizzed together in the food processor. Hard for the butter to start melting if you aren’t even touching it with your hands, and there’s no fussing with pastry cutters and forks. 

Second, as you probably picked up on from the title, this isn’t truly a pie, it’s a crostata. A rustic crostata. If “cozy” is the real estate market code-word for “sardine can,” then “rustic” is the gourmand’s short hand for “sloppy.” As for “crostata?” One crust, no pan. One less crust to mess up. No crimping, no blind baking… Now, that’s my kind of pie! And yes, it tastes most excellent as well.

Apple Crostata
Recipe from Mitchell Kaldrovich of Sea Glass in Cape Elizabeth, ME, via Bon Appetit

Crust

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes

Filling

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2½ pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 5 large), peeled, halved, cored, cut into ¼”-thick slices (about 7 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave syrup
For crust:
Place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to blend. Add butter; pulse just until coarse meal forms. Add ¼ cup ice water; pulse until dough forms clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic and chill 1 hour. NoteCrust can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.
 
For crostata:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Roll out dough disk on parchment paper to 15″ round (some of dough will extend over edges of paper). Whisk sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Add apples and lemon juice to bowl with sugar mixture; toss to coat apples evenly. Transfer apples to crust, mounding in center and leaving a 3″ plain border. Scrape out any juices from bowl and drizzle over apples.
 
Fold crust edges up over outer edges of filling, crimping dough and folding and pleating as needed to fit. Slide crostata and parchment onto a large baking sheet. Crack egg into a small bowl. Using a fork, beat egg just to blend. Brush crust edges with beaten egg, then sprinkle crust with raw sugar.
Place crostata in oven and bake until juices in center are thick and bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool for 5 minutes. Run a long, thin knife or offset spatula around edges of crostata to loosen from paper and to prevent it from sticking to the paper. Transfer baking sheet with crostata to a wire rack. Brush apples generously with maple syrup, or drizzle with agave syrup. Let crostata cool. Serve warm with Brown Butter Ice Cream.

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