There's no denying that a warm apple pie is a quintessentially fall dessert. The soft apples, warm spices, and flaky pie crust make for an irresistibly delectable treat. The only problem is that double-layered fruit pies can be notoriously tricky to pull off. Enter, the crostata. A crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart. Traditionally, it's made by preparing a type of shortcrust pastry dough, which is then filled with various fillings, most commonly fruit preserves, fresh fruit, or pastry cream.
A crostata is similar to the French galette or the English tart, though each has its own regional differences and variations. The distinguishing feature of a crostata, compared to other tarts or pies, is its rustic appearance. The edges of the dough are usually folded over the filling, partially covering it, in a free-form manner, rather than being fitted into a tart mold with neatly trimmed edges. Recipe developer Taylor Murray shows us how to make this cozy fruit dessert.
Read more: 30 Types Of Cake, Explained
Gather The Ingredients For Apple Crostata
Like any crostata or galette, the foundation is the pie dough. You can purchase premade pie dough at the grocery store, or you can make your own flaky pie crust at home. You'll also need a bit of extra all-purpose flour to dust the surface when you roll out the dough, though if you pie a store-bought crust that comes in a rolled-out circle already, you can probably skip this. For the filling, Murray chose granny smith apples. "This variety is very popular for making apple pies and tarts because the texture and flavor hold up well to the baking process," says Murray.
In order to give this pie a strong maple flavor, there's a combination of maple syrup in the filling and maple sugar dusted over the top. The filling also has a warming blend of brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. For added flavor, there's a touch of vanilla bean paste (which can be swapped for vanilla extract, if needed).
Start The Apple Maple Mixture
After preheating your oven, the first step is to create the maple syrup mixture that will flavor the apple filling. While some apple pie recipes have you simply toss the apples with sugar and go, this method reduces the time it takes for the pastry to bake and concentrates the maple flavor. Be careful not to overcook this sugar mixture, as it can burn quickly. When the sugars come to a simmer, fold in the butter, cinnamon, and salt.
Add The Apples And Cook
Add the apples to the pot and stir to combine. If the sugar seizes and turns hard, don't worry. Keep the mixture over low heat and continue to cook until the apples lose their water and the sugar dissolves again. Continue to cook the apples over medium heat until the apples are softened and the liquid reduces to a thick and glossy consistency. "Shoot for the liquid to be as minimal as possible so it doesn't make the dough soggy. Once it mostly clings to the apples, that's when I know it's ready," says Murray.
Roll The Pastry
Let the apple mixture cool slightly while you roll out the pie dough. The dough will be easier to work with if it is softened slightly from the refrigerator, but too soft, and it will be trickier to work with. Dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough to roughly 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Assemble The Crostata
At this point, the apple mixture should have cooled slightly and thickened. Transfer the apples to the dough and spread to the edges, leaving a 2 to 3-inch border. Fold the edges over the apples, pleating as you go, until all the edges are tucked over the apple mixture.
Add The Final Touches
Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the dough all over with the beaten egg wash. If the egg is thick, you can add a teaspoon or two of water to loosen it. Sprinkle the dough all over with maple sugar. Transfer the crostata to the oven and bake until golden brown all over, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Maple Apple Crostata Recipe
Prep Time: 20mCook Time: 40mYield: 6 ServingsIngredients
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 pre-made pie dough or homemade pastry dough (enough to make a 10-inch galette)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon maple sugar
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Set your oven to preheat at 375 F.
In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, dark brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste. Stir gently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to simmer.
Whisk in the butter, cinnamon, and salt, ensuring the mixture is smooth.
Add the apples to the skillet, ensuring they are well-coated with the syrup mixture. Cook for about 10 minutes or until they just begin to soften. The liquid should reduce to a glossy, thick consistency.
On a floured surface, roll out your dough into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Spread the caramelized apple mixture onto the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around.
Gently fold the edges of the dough over the apples, pleating as necessary to ensure a snug fit.
Brush the folded edges of the dough with the beaten egg wash. Sprinkle the entire galette, especially the edges, with maple sugar.
Place the galette in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the apple filling is bubbly.
Remove the galette from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Slice and serve warm. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.