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Apple Crostata (with a Pasta Frolla crust)

Apple Crostata (with a Pasta Frolla crust)

This rustic Apple Crostata is a great way to give your apple pie an Italian twist! A pile of cinnamony apple slices are baked in a short crust pastry called “pasta frolla” to create an amazing fall inspired dessert. Get all the comforting warm flavors of apple pie without fussing over the the perfect pie crust, in fact this doesn’t even have a top crust.

A slice of apple crostata on a black plate with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkles of cinnamon and sugar.

Crostata is basically an Italian tart. It can be made in a tart pan or as a free-form dessert, where the edges are simply folded up to secure the filling. The dough used to make the crust is called pasta frolla. It is a crispier dough then an American pie crust and has a cookie like texture. A crostata is typically filled with jam but you will also find recipes that use fresh or dried fruits, custard or even Nutella.

This fruit crostata is one of the easiest desserts you will make to celebrate the fall season. I promise this is as easy as my apple crisp and just as delicious!

A photo of all of the ingredients needed to make apple crostata with labels.

Ingredients you will need:

For the “pasta frolla” pastry dough

  • Flour : 00 flour is normally used, but AP will work as well
  • Sugar: Granulated
  • Butter: Cold, cut into cubes
  • Egg: Large and make sure it is at room temperature. If you need to warm the egg up quickly, just place it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Once it no longer feels cold to the touch it is ready.
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Lemon Zest: Add the lemon zest is optional but it brightens the flavor of the crust.

Apple filling

  • Apple jam or preserves, or another flavor you like.
  • Apples: Select apples that are best for baking. For recommendations see the section below on Best apples to use for baking. I used Honey Crisp in this recipe.
  • Sugar: Granulated
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice

For baking

  • Milk or cream to brush on the crust (this is optional)
  • Decorating sugar (optional) – this is optional, but the crust looks so beautiful with the sparkling sugar baked on.

Step by step instruction for making the pastry dough (pasta frolla)

4 Process photos of making pasta frolla.
    1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder salt and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor, pulse to mix
    2. Add the cold butter and egg, pulse until the mixture just comes together to form loose dough
    3. Gather dough together with your hands to form a round of dough,
    4. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Assembling the crostata

    4 process photos of assembling apple crostata.
    1. In a large bowl combine the apple slices with the lemon, cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
    2. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface or a sheet of parchment paper until it forms a 1/8″ thick round that is about 12 inches in diameter.
    3. Spread the jam or preserves in the center of the dough leaving a 2-inch border.
    4. Arrange the apples, without the liquid, on the preserves in the center of the crust and fold the dough over the outer edges of the apples.

    Baking the Crostata

    • Transfer the parchment paper with the crostata to a baking sheet.
    • Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the decorating sugar
    • Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 40-45 minutes or until the crostata is golden brown around the edges and the apples are tender.

    Recipe Tips:

    • Eggs should be room temperature so they blend into the flour easily.
    • If you don’t have a food processor you can use a pastry blender or your fingers to mix the dough. Use only your finger tips to work the butter into the flour mixture so that the heat from your hands does not melt the butter.
    • Don’t overwork the dough. Stop pulsing or mixing as soon as the dough comes together.
    • Rolling the dough out on a piece of parchment paper will make it easier to transfer the crostata onto a baking sheet.
    • When placing the apples on the dough, make sure not to add any of the liquid. This will keep the crust from getting soggy.
    • If you can, use a rimmed baking sheet so that any juices that might leak out of the crust don’t drip on to your oven. You can also place a piece of aluminum foil on the rack below the crostata to catch any drippings.
    A golden brown rustic apple crostata on a dark metal plate.

    Best apples to use for baking

    Fresh apples are in abundance this time of year, but when you are baking it is important to make sure that you select the right type of apples to make sure you create the best apple dessert. Based on this article from Bon Appetit here are some apple varieties that are won’t turn to mush while baking and provide amazing flavor.

    Granny Smith Apples: Firm flesh, tart flavor

    Braeburn: “bakes up juicy but not mushy”, sweet/tart

    Pink Lady: stays firm and maintains a rosy color, sweet tart flavor,

    Honey Crisp: stays a little crispy, sweet flavor

    Golden Delicious: not as firm, but will maintain some texture while baking, sweet flavor

    Jona Gold: firm, sweet/tart flavor

    Motsu (Crispin): Firm texture, sweet/tart flavor

    Crostata Variations

    • I like to add the lemon zest to the crostata dough, but you can leave it out or replace it with orange zest.
    • Add another spice (such as cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger) or flavor (vanilla or almond are commonly used) to the crust.
    • Mix sliced pears in with the apples.
    • Sprinkle some raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries into the apple mixture.
    • Substitute peaches for the apples.
    An apple crostata, on a black metal serving plate with a slice removed.

    Serving suggestions

    This simple apple crostata can be served at room with a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone cream on top. Or serve a warm apple crostata with a scoop of ice cream or gelato. Warm or room temperature a caramel drizzle would pair nicely with this rustic apple pie.

    FAQ’s

    What is the difference between a Crostata and a Galette?

    Although both can be similar free-form pie desserts that are filled with fruits or other fillings, the crostata is usually made with a cookie textured crust called “pasta frolla” and the French Galette is often made with a puff pastry or buck wheat pancake as a base.

    How do you store apple crostata?

    The crostata can be stored covered lightly at room temperature for up to 2 days.

    Can crostata be made ahead?

    You can make the dough a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll it out and bake it.

    Other Fall desserts you will love

    If you are looking for something else to do with all the beautiful apples that are in season, try my Apple Cinnamon Cake. If pumpkin is more your thing you will love this No Bake Pumpkin Pie.

    I love to get your feedback so if you tried this Apple Crostata or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below.  I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!

    You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest for more recipes your family will love!

    A golden brown rustic apple crostata on a dark metal plate.

    Apple Crostata

    This rustic Italian free-form apple pie is made with a crispy cookie like dough called pasta frolla. It is loaded with sweet cinnamony apples and baked to perfection. This will become your go to apple dessert!
    5 from 1 vote
    Prep Time 20 mins
    Cook Time 25 mins
    Refrigerate Dough 30 mins
    Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
    Course Dessert
    Cuisine Italian
    Servings 8 servings
    Calories 232 kcal

    Equipment

    • 1 Food processor You can use a pastry blender or mix by hand
    • 1 Rolling Pin
    • 1 Baking sheet
    • 1 Parchment Paper optional

    Ingredients
      

    Pastry Dough – Pasta Frolla

    • cups "00" Flour
    • ½ cup Sugar
    • 1 tsp Baking powder
    • ¼ tsp Salt
    • ½ cup Butter unsalted, very cold and cut into cubes
    • 1 Egg large, room temperature
    • 1 tbsp Lemon zest

    Filling

    • 4 tbsp Apple jam or preserves Can substitute apricot or other flavor
    • 2 Apples large, peeled and sliced ¼ inches thick
    • 2 tbsp Sugar
    • 1 tsp Cinnamon
    • 1 pinch Salt
    • 1 tbsp Lemon juice

    Decorating

    • 2 tbsp Heavy cream
    • 1 tbsp Decorating Sugar or coarse sugar

    Instructions
     

    Dough – Pasta Frolla

    • Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse several times to mix well.
    • Add the butter and eggs, pulse until the mixture begins to form dough. This may take a minute or two.
    • Pour the dough onto a work surface and press together to form a ball. Press down and form a disk. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes

    Filling

    • Combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and mix well.
    • Toss the apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the sugar mixture and mix to evenly coat the apples and set aside.

    Assemble and Bake the Crostata

    • Preheat the oven to 375°. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
    • Lightly flour your work surface or a sheet of parchment paper and the top of the dough. Roll the dough back and forth then turn the parchment paper or the dough a quarter turn and repeat until you have a 12" disk about ⅛" thick. Transfer the parchment paper with the dough (or just the pastry dough) on to the baking sheet.
    • Spread the jam in the center of the pastry leaving a 2" border. Mound the apples in the center of the dough and fold the dough border up to secure the apple filling.
    • Brush the exposed dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with the decorating sugar.
    • Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the apples are tender. Allow the crostata to cool for about 15-20 minutes before serving so that the filling sets.

    Notes

    Recipe Tips:

    • Eggs should be room temperature so they blend into the flour easily.
    • If you don’t have a food processor you can use a pastry blender or your fingers to mix the dough. Use only your finger tips to work the butter into the flour mixture so that the heat from your hands does not melt the butter.
    • Don’t overwork the dough. Stop pulsing or mixing as soon as the dough comes together.
    • Rolling the dough out on a piece of parchment paper will make it easier to transfer the crostata onto a baking sheet.
    • When placing the apples on the dough, make sure not to add any of the liquid. This will keep the crust from getting soggy.
    • If you can, use a rimmed baking sheet so that any juices that might leak out of the crust don’t drip on to your oven. Alternatively, you can place a piece of aluminum foil on the rack below the crostata to catch any drippings.

    Variations

    • I like to add the lemon zest to the crostata dough, but you can leave it out or replace it with orange zest.
    • Add another spice (such as cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger) or flavor (vanilla or almond are commonly used) to the crust.
    • Mix sliced pears in with the apples.
    • Sprinkle some raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries into the apple mixture.
    • Substitute peaches for the apples
    • Use an egg wash instead of the cream and sugar on the dough before baking.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 8servingsCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 235mgPotassium: 76mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 486IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 0.3mg
    Keyword Apples, Cinnamon, pasta frolla, crust, rustic
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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