This Ginger Apple Crostata is a recipe I threw together one cool Fall evening last year when Desi, Jay, Opie and I were holed up in a cottage in the West Virginia woods. I had a kitchen with limited resources that, fortunately, included plenty of apples, sugar, a jar of ground ginger and a crock of flour. It was such a hit for so little effort, it's been on our dinner table often since.
A crostata is a free-form and rustic Italian pie and therein lies its attraction: while I love baking up a fancy tart or pie sometimes, I also love it when I can bring all the deliciousness together in this light tart and serve it up fast.
Rustic though it may be, this crostata is a looker. The golden crust folded over the apples and strewn over with cranberries and almonds always draws gasps of admiration from my big kid and my little one, and from guests. And the ginger in there adds the perfect holiday flavor without making the crostata heavy or cloying.
This is a great recipe for any pie lover, but it would also work very well for someone who doesn't have too much baking equipment. All you really need is a baking sheet or a large baking dish, and you are good to bake. I like to line the baking sheet with some parchment paper so the crostata can easily be lifted off the baking sheet and transferred to the rack to cool, but you can also line the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
This Ginger Apple Crostata would be the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, with its festive look and colors. Happy baking! And if you absolutely love ginger in dessert recipes, be sure to check out these vegan chocolate ginger cookies.
More vegan pie recipes
Vegan Ginger Apple Crostata
For the crust
- 1 ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoon vegan butter (cold, cut into 1-cm cubes)
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Ice cold water
For the filling
- 2 large apples (like gala or honeycrisp, seeds removed and cut into thin slices)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 lemon juiced
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoon nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans are all great. Toast the nuts lightly and chop roughly)
Make the crust
- You can do this in a food processor or in a bowl. If using a food processor, place all ingredients except water in the food processor and pulse a few times, drizzling water in a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. You don't want a wet dough because that will encourage gluten formation, making your crust chewy. Err, if you will, on the side of using less water than more.
- If you're doing this by hand, place all the ingredients except water in a bowl and, using a fork, cut the pieces of butter into the flour until they break down into smaller bits but don't melt.
- Drizzle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing with your fork, until the dough just comes together. Again, try not to add too much water.
- Wrap the dough in cling wrap, patting with your fingers to shape it into a disc. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
Make the filling
- Place the sliced apples in a bowl with the sugar, lemon, and ground ginger. Mix well.
- Set aside for 15 minutes.
Assemble the crostata
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with some parchment paper or foil.
- Flour your rolling pin and the kitchen counter. Roll the dough into a disc about 12 inches across, trying to keep it as round as possible. If the edges start to fray, knock them back into a cleaner line by tapping with your fingers.
- Be sure to keep turning the dough as you roll to ensure it doesn't stick to the surface, and dust with more flour if needed.
- Fold the crust once and transfer to the baking sheet. Unfold.
- Arrange the apple slices inside the crostata, leaving a 1-½ inch border. You can either overlap them in a circle, as I did, or you can just pile them in and spread them so they are in an even layer.
- Fold the edges of the crostata over. You can be as precise or casual about this as you like: it's going to look great either way. If there is some juice left at the bottom of the bowl with apples, reserve it.
- Place the crostata in the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the crostata, brush the crust and the tops of the apples with the reserved juice from the apples.
- Put the crostata back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes. The crust should be golden.
- Remove the crostata from the oven and, using a wide spatula, transfer immediately from the parchment lined sheet to a rack. Be careful because the dough still feels pliable at this time-- it will firm up as it cools.
- Scatter cranberries and almonds on top.
- Serve after the crostata has cooled thoroughly.
Friday kitty therapy with my gorgeous Billy!
Ciao for now!
Hello from a rather cold Sunderland in the north east of England. Just reading your dessert recipe apple and ginger crostata, which sounds gorgeous. Now, being more of a savoury lass, my thoughts quickly turned to, “ Oh, I could substitute the sweet ingredients for sliced onions, roasted peppers and courgettes etc. Would this work or is this really what we call pizza?!” Ann ( p.s. love all your recipes yummy!)
Hi Ann, a savory pie sounds perfect for the cold weather. This crust would work with a savory pie, but be sure to use a base, like tomato sauce, and since the veggies you mentioned would cook fast, you would want to cut down baking time to around 20 minutes. Maybe prebake the crust a little bit, so it doesn't remain undercooked.
Could this work with gluten free flour?
Yes! Use a premade gluten-free pie crust or mix your own crust using the same directions with an all-purpose gluten-free flour.
Would I need to add xanthan gum to the gluten free flour (I use Trader Joe's brand)? Thank you! I'm new to gluten free baking and this looks perfect for Thanksgiving.
If you use a gluten-free all purpose flour you should be fine without xanthan gum.
thank you, what a beautiful pie! is it possible to sub the lemon for apple cider vinegar in this recipe? there are not many stores selling organic lemons close by, but i have lots of apple vinegar from this falls harvest. do you think its possible?
Hi Louise, yes! Sub away -- use 2 tbsp. Cheers.
Awesome recipe even for a nonvegan like me. So I substituted store bought pie crust and added an extra half an apple for more filler. The ginger and lemon combined well to create a nice mixture of sweet and sour tang with the apples. I also used brown sugar instead of white and added a touch of cinnamon and a hint of clove. I also put the dried cranberries and broken pecans in to the Apple mixture before baking. Pecans work as well as the almonds if you don't like the latter. This is a great dessert recipe I will gladly make again and serve to dinner guests. Thanks! Russ Barkley
Made this today. It was SO good! I live with serious dessert eaters - non veg, non vegan - and they asked for seconds. I am not a dessert person, instead preferring tart, sour flavored desserts, so this was perfect for me too.
I substituted all purpose whole wheat flour for some added nutrition. The crust wasn't as flaky as your pic, but turned a slight bit crunchy which everyone liked. I think I worked the butter into the dough a bit too much because I added water a bit too slowly. (OCD anyone?).
This is my first year eating vegetarian diet at Thanksgiving with my non-veg family and they will love this. Thanks.
Hi Todd, that is so great to hear. So happy you tried this and thanks for letting me know! 🙂
Never heard of a crosata before! Looks rustic & lovely + you don't need any molds or stuffs which I don't have anyhow. Just made a big batch of apple crumble. Will try this next time when I want to bake with apples.
Billy Cat is gorgeous <3 Give him a kissy from my side 🙂
Thanks, Namrata, Billy sends a friendly purr! 🙂