If making pie from scratch intimidates you then start with making an apple crostata . A crostata (or galette) is free form pie so no fancy crimping of the edges is needed here. This easy apple crostata made with toasted pecans is so much simpler to throw together than an apple pie and just as delicious. Top with ice-cream and caramel sauce for a real treat.
Oh pie. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
Is there anything that is homier than apple pie? I think not. A couple weeks ago I took a cooking class at Sur La Table where we learned to cook this scrumptious Tuscan dinner complete with this easy apple galette at the end.
If you’re new to making pies. Or they have you running scared, than a crostata is a great place to start. It’s the like the 5k version of pie marathons. You have to start somewhere right?
What’s the difference between a crostata and galette?
A crostata and galette are basically the same thing. Which is that they are basically a rustic free form pie.
To make a crostata you don’t need a pie plate, so on less piece of equipment you need in your kitchen. You just simply fold the dough edges up around the filling.
For the pie crust: flour, sugar, salt, cold butter, and ice-cold water
For the apple filling: apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, salt, walnuts (or pecans)
Make the pie crust
Now you could make an apple rostata even easier by buying store bought pie crust. But I beg you to try it one time on your own to see just how easy it is. Making pie dough requires just a few pieces of equipment – flour, salt, some sort of fat (butter, shortening, or a combination of both), water, and a little bit of sugar.
You can make the pie dough in your food processor or in a mixing bowl. Here is a full step by step tutorial on making pie dough.
- Combine the flour and salt. In a food processor combine the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine.
- Add the butter. Scatter the butter over the top. You want to make sure it’s cubed and COLD.
- Pulse. Pulse until the butter and fat are pea-sized.
- Add water. Sprinkle in the water with the food processor running and stop until the mixture comes together and is crumbly. You want to then dump the contents onto plastic wrap and wrap up into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the apple filling
For the apple filling, you want toss your sliced apples with the sugar, flour, and spices.
Once you have the filling made, you want to roll out your pie dough and top with your toasted pecans. I tried topping the crostata with the toasted nuts but I found that they began to burn while baking.
You can also use walnuts instead of pecans! I’ve made this with walnuts and it was wonderful.
Then top with your filling. You want to mound the filling up in the center and still leaving a border of the dough like such…
Shape the apple crostata
And then fold the crust over the filling. I simply overlap the dough.
Then dot the top with butter and a sprinkle of sugar!
Make sure to egg wash the top of the crust before baking. The egg wash helps to brown the crust as its baking.
- Start with cold ingredients. Cold water, cold butter, some even say cold flour. Cold ingredients will result in a flaky pie crust. Cold ingredients will inhibit the formation of gluten. Gluten = tough (or chewiness). You want the butter solid until it hits the oven where it will melt, and the water create steam pushing apart the layers of flour.
- Handle the dough as little as possible. Again, we are aiming for tender flaky crust. So the less we handle the dough the better. This will keep the butter solid and not melt into the flour.
- Let the dough rest. Again, you want your dough cold and handled as little as possible. This will help firm up the butter.
Yes you can freeze this baked or unbaked for up to 3 months. Just place this dessert on a cookie sheet on parchment paper, then freeze until solid. You can then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a zip-loc bag! You can then let the baked dessert thaw overnight, and re-heat in the oven until warm again! If baking from frozen, no need to thaw. Just bake frozen and add a few extra minutes of baking time!
You can make the both the pie crust and filling up to 3 days ahead of time. Simply keep separate and then assemble and bake as directed.
You can really use any variety but my favorites are: Granny Smith, Cortland, and Honeycrisp. Check out my article – Which Apples Are Best For Baking?
More Recipes To Try
For the pie crust
- 1 1/4 cups (150 g) all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 g) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 3 large) sweet tart apples peeled, cored and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (62 g) sugar
- 1/4 cup 50 g,) packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/4 cup (31 g) toasted pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
For the pie crust
- Place flour, sugar and salt int the bowl of a food processor or large mixing bowl. By pulsing or using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of of small peas.
- Sprinkle ice water, a tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. Pulse or stir the mixture until large clumps form. When enough water has been added to allow the dough to hold together, transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Gather the dough together to form a ball. Flatten the dough into a disk about 6 inches wide, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
To Make The Crostata
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and place a rack in the lower third. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Generously flour a work surface and place the chilled dough disk on the floor. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll chilled dough into a circle, turning and flipping the dough as needed with a bench scraper to prevent sticking until the circle measures 14 inches wide and 1/8-inch thick. Starting at one edge, roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to baking sheet. Chill crust while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Peel, core, and slice apples in 1/8-inch thick pieces. Transfer apples to a large bowl, and add 1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, flour, spices, and salt. Toss evenly to coat.
- Remove the crust from the fridge. Top with the toasted pecans.
- Mound the apple filling in the center of the chilled pastry crust, leaving a 3-inch border, and dot filling with the butter. Fold the border up and around the fruit. Working around the border, pinch the dough together to make an attractive pleat. Brush the top of the pleated dough, with the beaten egg and sprinkle border with walnuts and remaining tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake crostata until is golden brown and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Use a metal spatula to lift the crostata slightly and check the underside of the crust, which should be golden brown like the top. Transfer the crostata to a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm topped with vanilla icecream and caramel sauce.
- Making ahead: You can make the both the pie crust and filling up to 3 days ahead of time. Simply keep separate and then assemble and bake as directed.
- Freezing: Freeze for up to 3 months. Just place this dessert on a cookie sheet on parchment paper, then freeze until solid. You can then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a zip-loc bag. If baking from frozen, no need to thaw. Just bake frozen and add a few extra minutes of baking time.
- Apples: I love using Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Cortland, but any variety will work.