An Ina Garten Classic: Apple Crostata
Happy autumn, everybody! This crisp fall weather has me in the kitchen baking like crazy, which I love. My family loves it, too, of course, because when I’m developing new recipes, “taste-testers” are in high demand around here.
This week as I was reviewing my “tried and true” collection of Ina Garten recipes in preparation for a Best of the Barefoot Contessa class, I came across one of my absolute favorites, an Ina classic: Apple Crostata.
Apple Crostata is the perfect fall dessert, hands down. It’s the free-form, open-face version of pie: rustic, simple, gorgeous. Pair it with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and I’ll bet you can’t stop with just a single helping.
Eating crostata is fun, too, since you can cut off a crusty wedge and devour it right from your hand (often seen at my house, a tall cold glass of milk in their other hand), or, if the setting is more formal, serve it dressed up on a plate with a fork for special guests — it’s totally your call.
If your neighbor lady was kind enough to pick you a bushel of apples, why not showcase them in crostata form? She will love your tasty thank you gift and what delicious treats to have in your freezer stockpile, especially since crostatas are fun and easy to create, freeze perfectly, and can be baked from frozen – something warm and yummy you’ll love this winter when the snow is blowing across the Kansas prairie like it always does.
Below is a quick and easy version of this dessert. Unlike Ina’s, this recipe calls for store-purchased pastry, but feel free to make it from scratch like she does. (If you get that urge, by all means, don’t ignore it!) And please don’t skip the orange zest in this recipe – it brings such a nice burst of brightness to the apples – you’ll see. Sometimes I sneak in a few toasted pecans into the topping for added texture.
Chef Alli’s Caramel Apple Crostata 1 refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust 3 medium Granny Smith Apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin ¼ tsp. fresh orange zest ¼ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar ½ tsp. kosher salt ¼ tsp. allspice ¼ tsp. cinnamon 4 Tbs. unsalted butter 1/3 cup caramel topping, warmed
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment placed on a baking sheet, roll out pastry to a 12 inch circle. In a mixing bowl, toss apple slices with orange zest, then place onto center of pastry, leaving about a 1 ½ inch border around the entire edge of pastry. In the bowl of a food processor, place flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, allspice, cinnamon and butter; pulse this mixture until crumbly. Place mixture over the top of apples, rubbing with your fingers to get mixture to hold together, spreading evenly over apples; fold pastry edge up over the apple mixture, pleating as you go, leaving center of crostata open, with apple filling exposed.
Place crostata, uncovered, onto center rack of preheated oven; bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apples are fork-tender. While crostata is still warm, drizzle with caramel sauce. Let crostata set for 5 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.
Now You’re Cookin’, Chef Alli