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Apple Crostata: An Italian-Inspired Recipe

An apple crostata a day might not keep the doctor away (this is one sugary dessert), but a slice of this beautiful dessert sure will keep your mind and stomach happy!

This classic Italian dessert is essentially an open-faced apple pie, and it’s delightfully easy to bake if you’ve already got a pie crust ready to go and a few leftover cooking apples looking for good use. 

In this article, we’ll take you through the ingredients you need to bake this delectable apple pastry, and then we’ll explain how to put everything together! Here’s how to make an Italian-inspired apple crostata!

What is an apple crostata? 

Before we get into the details, you might well be wondering: ‘what is crostata,’ exactly? Crostata is an Italian pastry dish commonly prepared in many more parts of the world, too, these days. Crostatas can be served for breakfast, enjoyed as a snack, or they make an excellent dessert. 

Their rather artisanal or rustic look characterizes them. These are homely pastries that are traditionally open-faced but can also have a light lattice of pastry over the top (but they are never enclosed). The crostata dough base is then filled with a fruity filling; in this case, we’re going for apples, but other seasonal fruit fillings can easily be used too. 

Apple crostatas are very similar to American apple pies, of course, with the significant difference being that crostatas are open. These are delightfully sweet, yet the tart cooking apples balance out the sugar with a welcome savory element. 

How to make an apple crostata 

You need to consider two major elements to an apple crostata when preparing this Italian dessert. These are the crostata crust and the crostata filling - simple, right?

Let’s take a look at them in more detail. 

Crostata crust 

Crostata crusts are light, rustic, and crusty! Traditionally, it’s often shortcrust pastry that’s used for the base, but puff pastry adds a wonderfully fluffy element to proceedings. 

You can prepare the homemade dough (the tastiest option) or purchase a premade pie crust from the store (the quickest option). Our recipe below assumes that you already have your dough or pie crust ready to go. 

You’ll need enough dough to fill a 12-inch pie dish or baking sheet (unless you’re planning on making a mini apple crostata). Remember, the dough only forms a crust; there’s no need to cover an apple crostata with dough, as it’s supposed to be an open-faced pastry. 

Crostata filling 

Once your pastry crust is sorted, you’ll need a filling to fill the crostata with. Crostatas are traditionally fruity affairs (these aren’t meat pies!), and they are perfect for using up seasonal produce.

Our choice of filling is apple, as always! These are deep pies, so you’ll need five large Granny Smith Apples to fill your apple crostata to the top. To make the apple crostata filling, use an apple peeler to peel, then core the apples before slicing them up. 

The thinly sliced apples are then mixed with flour, sugar, vanilla extract, and a teaspoon ground cinnamon for flavoring. It’s a lovely sweet filling!

Apple crostata recipe

The following apple crostata recipe prepares enough for a 12-inch pie dish or roughly 6-8 servings/slices.

Ingredients

  • 12-inch pie crust
  • Five large cooking apples
  • ½ c of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • One large egg white
  • 1 tbsp of sanding sugar

Directions

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line your baking sheet or pie dish with parchment paper to stop the pastry from sticking. 
  2. Next, peel and core the cooking apples before thinly slicing them. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, coat the apple slices with flour, vanilla extract, sugar, and cinnamon powder to create your apple crostata filling. 
  4. Use a rolling pin to flatten your pie crust into shape, so it’s wide enough to fill the baking dish with room leftover to fold the edges inwards.
  5. Pour your apple filling into the middle of the dough and spread it evenly over the pie crust. 
  6. Finish the job by folding the pie crust inwards and over the edge of the filling (around 2 inches or so, leaving most of the crostata open-faced). 
  7. Brush egg white over the pastry, and then complete with sanding sugar. 
  8. When the oven has preheated, bake the apple crostata for half an hour, until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool slightly, slice, then serve warm crostata fresh from the oven with your favorite toppings!

Apple crostata recipe FAQ

Is a crostata the same thing as a galette? 

Pastry lovers may well have already tried out very similar recipes to our apple crostata one above, but they may know this pie by a different name. A crostata is, in fact, almost precisely the same thing as a galette - although don’t say that in France or Italy!

The galette is the French take on the Italian crostata. They are both deep pies, with an open face and a wonderfully artisanal vibe to them. Both are generally sweet and sugary. 

What does the word crostata mean? 

The word crostata is an Italian word that is ultimately derived from the Latin word forcrustata, which means to ‘encrust.’ In this case, the dough or pie crust is used to encrust the apple filling. 

You will seecrostata di frutta (fruit crostatas) for sale in many pastry shops across the country in Italy. You might also seecrostata di ricotta, a popular ricotta-filled version of the fruit crostata. 

What can I serve with apple crostata? 

Warm apple crostata is delicious on its own, but you can make it that little bit better by serving it with your favorite dessert toppings. A few of our suggestions include: 

  • Whipped cream
  • Heavy cream
  • Ice cream
  • Applesauce
  • Applebutter
  • Caramel sauce
  • Chocolate sauce

How long does apple crostata last? 

A fresh apple crostata is going to last for up to 5 days once it’s been baked. While it’s best served fresh out of the oven, you can store leftovers in resealable containers in the refrigerator. 

To reheat apple crostata, place the leftovers back into a pie dish or on a baking sheet and allow them to warm up in the oven again. Try reheating for 10 minutes, at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, place the leftovers in a microwave-proof dish and blast it for 60-90 seconds to reheat. 

Can you freeze apple crostata?

Apple crostata leftovers can be frozen, too, for long-term storage. However, as with most pies, they aren’t anywhere near as fresh when they’ve been frozen, thawed, and finally reheated. 

In the freezer, apple crostata can last up to 6 months if stored correctly in resealable containers. It’s best to store individual portions in separate containers; then, you don’t need to defrost all of the leftovers in one go. 

Allow the crostata slices to thaw naturally on the side, if possible - if not, place them on low power in the microwave to defrost quickly. Once melted, you can reheat the crostata in the oven or in the microwave.

Apple crostata: the last slice of pie 

That’s all from our apple crostata recipe; now it’s your turn to have a try at baking this delicious, sweet pie at home. Apple crostata is easy to prepare if you’ve got premade pastry, but if you’ve got time, it’s also well worth trying to make your own!

Serve this sweet dish with cream, ice cream, or a dash of maple syrup to finish. If you’re looking for new pastries to try, then why not give our apple crostata recipe a bake?

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