This Cranberry Apple Crostata is super easy to make and perfect for breakfast or dessert!
If you’ve been following along with my food adventures, you saw that when last we met on the Blog, we made Mini Pecan Pies. The recipe went into full detail of how to make the perfect pie crust, happily borrowed from Gesine-Bullock Prado. It’s the easiest, most delightfully flaky crust I’ve ever made.
A crostata is really the easiest version of a pie you can make. It uses a single crust, is called “rustic” giving you the freedom to make it look however you want it to look, and being a shallow pie, there is very little risk of a “soggy bottom”. Nothing but crispity, crunchity, pie deliciousness! Let’s get started.
Pie Crust (Makes enough for 2 single crust pies. Save one in the freezer for later!)
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt (I like to use fine ground sea salt in baking recipes. Its small grain mixes well with all the other ingredients)
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) frozen unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces, about 1/4 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 tsp lemon juice (this will "tenderize" the gluten in the dough, making it easier to roll out and giving a more tender crust.)
Apple Cranberry Filling
- 4 cup peeled and sliced apples. I like Gala apples or Honeycrisp. Granny Smith is a little too tart for my liking. Just don't use Red Delicious. They tend to get too soft and "mealy" or grainy when cooked.
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, plus more for pretty on top
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of half a lemon (put the other half in your iced tea or something.
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- A couple of scritches of nutmeg (whole nutmeg scratched about 5-6 times on a fine zester or 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, if you must. I hate the stuff.)
Other Stuff To Finish Things Off
- 2 tbsp butter in little bits, to dot on the top of the crostata.
- A handful of fresh cranberries to artfully dot on the top as well.
- 1 egg, whisked with a teaspoon of water, to brush on the crust before baking (an egg wash.)
- Raw sugar (also called turbinado) or large grain sparkling sugar to sprinkle on the crust after egg washing
Making Your Filling
- This is a tough part of the recipe. Best to get it over with first. Believe in yourself and push through. All the things listed under "Filling"? Mix them together in a bowl. Put that bowl aside and let's go make the crust. Phew 😓
- In the bowl of your food processor , pulse together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and frozen), 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal-like crumbs. Note: I like to make pies, so I always keep some butter in the door of my freezer for just such an occasion. I use a knife or a bench scraper to just hack it into bits.
- Whisk together your ice water and lemon juice and slowly drizzle into the opening of your food processor, pulsing until the dough just barely comes together. It won't even look like a lump of dough, just crumbs that wanna hang out together. You may not need to use all of the water/lemon juice mixture, so just stop the food processor and pinch some of the dough together in your fingers to check it. If it clings together, it's done.
- Dump all the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and use the plastic wrap to gather all of the crumbly bits together. Bring your hands together and form a ball under the plastic wrap. This will make it easy to see exactly how much dough you have. Don't I look like I'm really manhandling it? It's not hard to gather your dough, I just like to have an excuse to look impressively strong.
- Divide the dough into two even balls and wrap separately. Place one in the freezer to use later, and place the other in the refrigerator to chill and rest. After about 20 minutes, all the glutens will relax (you just got them all shook up with your muscliness), the moisture will have a chance to penetrate all the flour, and the butter will re-harden. All things key to a flaky, tender crust.
- Take your resting dough out of the refrigerator. Place the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper on your counter. The parchment paper will make it easy to transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of your dough and on your rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a 14 inch circle (conveniently, about the width of your parchment paper). It's okay if you get some raggedy edges when rolling. After it's rolled out to the right size, just take a small knife and just clean up the edges a bit. When rolling out your dough (see all my raggedy edges? They'll soon be history), you should see all the little bits of cold butter throughout. Those guys are gonna make your crusty delightfully flaky!
Constructing Your Crostata
- Spoon your filling onto the center of your dough, leaving about a 3 inch border all around. Just pile the filling up in the middle. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, leaving the center exposed. Dot the top with bits of butter and the extra cranberries, thusly.
- Brush the edges of your crostata with the egg wash and sprinkle with the raw or sparkly sugar. If you don't have/can't find either of those sugars, that's okay. You can use regular granulated sugar. The egg wash and the sugar will give you a nicely browned crust and a little bit of crunch.
- Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is delightfully browned and apples are tender. Allow to cool for a little bit and then dig in! Your crostata is delicious, just the way it is, o you can top it with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. However you choose to eat it, it won't last long. It made it less than a full day in our house!