A crostata is basically a free form pie or tart. By that I mean you don’t need go through the fuss and bother of lining your pastry into a pie dish or tart pan. You merely roll out your dough into a rough circle, dump your topping – in this case sliced apples, in a pile in the middle and bring up the edges of the dough to encase the filling. It really couldn’t be easier and this particular recipe from Ina Garten is made extra delicious by adding a generous sprinkling of buttery streusel on top of the apples. You can make crostatas with all sorts of fillings including berries and stone fruits and even savoury ones such as baked pumpkin and blue cheese, which I’ll try next. The only thing I would change from the original recipe is to slice the apples into finer pieces – the pie only bakes for 25 minutes and I like the fruit to be nice and soft and cooked through. This pie makes a great dessert served warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Ingredients Adapted from Ina Garten
For the pastry
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
125g very cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
3 large or 4 medium apples – I used granny smith
¼ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
60g cold unsalted butter, diced
For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few more times until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a piece of nonstick baking paper. Transfer the dough along with the paper to a baking sheet. For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into small pieces or thin slices (I cut mine a little too chunky and will slice them finer next time). Cover the tart dough with the apples, leaving a 1½ inch border. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle. Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.