Apple-licious Crostata

Apple-licious Crostata

This casual, almost free-form tart is deliberately without a lot of bells and whistles, designed to do no more—and no less—than celebrate apple season and the straight-ahead pure, sweet flavor of fresh apples. It’s pretty perfect as is, but also nice with a little ice cream or whipped cream. (See this post for more about apples in season.)

Serves 8 to 10

  • FOR THE CRUST
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

  • FOR THE FILLING
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 2 pounds apples (about 5 medium), peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (see notes)
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar, decorator’s sugar, or turbinado sugar (optional)

To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the water and vinegar and pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls as necessary. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a 3/4-inch thick disk, and cover in plastic wrap. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 1 day or freeze for up to several months (thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding.)

To make the crostada: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Meanwhile, remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and set aside at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12- to 14-inch circle (don't worry about it too much—this is supposed to be rustic-looking). Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. (This is easily done by folding the dough into quarters, lifting it from one surface to the other, then unfolding it.) Sprinkle the flour onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the apples on top, then sprinkle the sugar mixture over the apples (see notes). Fold the dough edges up and over the fruit, tightly crimping every 2 inches or so, creating a crust border around the fruity middle. If you like, use a pastry brush to brush the border with the egg white, then sprinkle the sparkling sugar on top.

Bake until the crust is deeply browned and the apples are tender, about 40 minutes.

Serve warm or room temperature.

NOTES There's no "right" apple here. Choose one with pure, clean apple flavor and a nice balance of sweet and crisp, whatever that means to you. Change your choice as availability changes.

To give your crostada a look similar to mine, keep the apple quarters together as you slice them, then arrange them, one quarter at a time, on top of the rolled-out dough, ever-so-slightly fanning each out. Alternatively, you can toss the apples, sugar mixture, and flour together in a large bowl and then arrange the jumbled mixture on top of the dough. One version will look fancier, but they’ll both taste delicious. :)