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!
Ginger Apple Crostata
- For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp vegan butter like Earth Balance cut into 1-cm cubes
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Ice cold water
- For the filling:
- 2 large apples like gala or honeycrisp, seeds removed and cut into thin slices
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 lemon juiced
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 cup Cranberries and toasted almond or pieces
- 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 the 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 1-1/2 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.
There are tons of pie and tart recipes in the Holy Cow! archives, but here are a few of my favorites:
Some readers have requested my recipe for sourdough starter and I'll share it on Sunday so you can start along with me. This is a nearly week-long process, so we'll follow our progress together. I wanted to give those of you interested a heads up so you can be ready-- not that you need much to prepare. All you need is some whole wheat flour and water to begin the starter, and some all purpose flour to feed it during the week.
Finally, some Friday kitty therapy with Billy.
Ciao for now!