This Almond and Apple Crostata recipe combines apples, almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon in a super flaky, sweet pie crust to create a very special kind of Apple Crumble dessert.
3 Easy Steps
There are 3 parts to this Almond and Apple Crostata recipe
- The easy pie crust
- The easy almond and apple filling
- The easy crumble topping
See what I did there? Yup, this rustic yet classy dessert is easy. Each and every step.
Being easy isn’t generally a pre-requisite for me to enjoy a dessert but sometimes I just want something I can put together quickly because I have guests coming round, or I just need dessert, you know, stat! This is definitely a dessert I will turn to when those times happen.
The apple filling and crumble topping are super quick and easy to put together. There is no pre-cooking of any kind. Just slice up the apples, mix with the other filling ingredients and it’s done. The crumble is more of the same simplicity – just mix the ingredients and it’s ready to scatter over the top of the crostata.
There’s something so special about this recipe. The soft, sweet apples and cinnamon are a marriage made in heaven. The crunch of the almonds and crumble provide a perfect texture contrast and that buttery, flaky pie crust (which is my favourite to make) is so, so, so, so good (I think you get the picture). But seriously your house will smell like some kind of heavenly bakery as this cooks away.
Baking science geek-out time
Ok, so in the steps below, I’ll be banging on a lot about keeping the ingredients and therefore the pastry, cold, cold, cold but the reason is baking science. Allow me a little baking-geek-out moment.
Good, flaky pastry happens when the fat in the dough (butter in this case) melts in the oven, creating little pockets of steam that puff the layers of dough up. The only way to make sure that happens is to make sure the butter doesn’t melt before going into the oven. If you think about it, there is every chance that can happen – the friction in the food processor can heat it, the warmth in your hands can heat it.
Genius! The fact you want to keep it cold is also the reason it’s so quick and easy to make.
Here we go.
- Use all your ingredients COLD, straight from the fridge – I’ll often put my butter in the freezer while I’m weighing out the flour and in Summer, I’ll even put the flour in the freezer for 15 minutes before proceeding.
- Don’t pulse for too long in the processor – you want it to look crumbly, not like a solid dough. As soon as the sour cream has all been dispersed and it’s starting to clump you can stop.
- Use your hands as little as possible – just gently press the processed dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap before the next step.
- Make sure to place the dough in the fridge for half an hour before rolling it out. This gives that all important butter some time to get nice and cold again.
- Move quickly (especially in warmer weather) – I love, love, love making this pastry because it is the work of mere minutes. I swear. The whole objective is to keep everything as cold as possible so move quickly and confidently and get it back in the fridge. In 5 minutes you’ll have dough resting waiting for it’s delicious filling.
My parents are English so, growing up, we ate desserts (puddings 🙂 ) with warm custard but any of the usual dessert accompaniments would work just as well here – cold custard, cream or ice cream.
As it isn’t a heavy dessert you could also serve this in the warmer months of the year, with said ice cream, and not feel bleh by the end of it.
For the pastry:
- 115 g (1 stick / ½ cup) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 150 g (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) plain flour - (notes)
- 2 tablespoons caster / granulated sugar - (notes)
- Pinch of salt
- 100 ml sour cream (light or full fat)
For the Filling:
- 500 g granny smith apples, whole
- 50 g (1/4 cup) packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon plain (AP) flour - (notes)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Squeeze of lemon
- 1 tablespoon slivered almonds - (notes)
For the crumble topping:
- 10 g (2 teaspoons) unsalted butter, cold
- 1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar - (notes)
- ½ tablespoon flour - (notes)
- ½ tablespoon quick oats - (notes)
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 egg
- ½ tablespoon demerara sugar - extra (or granulated is fine)
- A few more slivered almonds and fresh whipped cream
To make the pastry:
- Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until it looks like wet sand. Add the sour cream and pulse until the dough just starts clumping together and the sour cream is completely dispersed (see notes). Turn the dough out onto a board and just gently pull it together – don’t knead it too much (see notes)
- Press the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
To make the filling:
- Peel the apples, then chop each apple into quarters. Slice out the core of each quarter and then cut each quarter into 4 thick slices. Each apple will give you 16 slices.
- Mix the other filling ingredients in a bowl and then toss the apples through the mixture to coat it. Set aside
Preheat the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 395F / 180C fan forced.
- To make the crumble:
- Place all crumble ingredients, except the egg, in a small bowl, then use your thumbs and first two fingers to press the mixture together until it is like wet sand with a few lumps.
Putting it all together:
- Lay out a sheet of baking paper and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Sit the dough on top and sprinkle just a little flour on top of it. Roll it out to about 4mm in thickness.
- Transfer the baking paper with the pastry on top, onto a baking tin or cookie sheet.
- Arrange (don’t pour) the apple slices on top leaving at least a 1 inch ring of pastry around the edge. Discard any remaining juice, otherwise your pastry will be soggy. Make sure to save any almonds though and sprinkle them over the apples.
- Gently gather the edges of the dough and fold over the edge of the apples, leaving the centre open.
- Sprinkle the crumble mix over the apples.
- Brush the egg around the edge of the pastry and sprinkle with the extra sugar.
- Bake for around 45 minutes until the edges of the pastry are golden and puffed up.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before sprinkling over extra almonds and serving with cream.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
- When adding the sour cream into the dough mix you want to pulse it until it is completely dispersed through the mix, however, you don’t want to process it so much that the butter also disintegrates. You still want to be able to see flecks of butter as when baking, this will cause the pastry to expand and become flaky.
- Likewise, once you turn the dough out onto a board you don’t want to knead it too much or you will cause the butter to melt.
- Tip: When baking, if weights are provided it is best to weigh out your ingredients. For instance, a cup of flour scooped out of your tub will always weigh much more than a standard cup (130g) as the flour gets compacted as you scoop. Similarly, a cup of brown sugar will weigh less when scooped than if firmly packed as most recipes call for. If you can’t get hold of kitchen scales, use the spoon and level method. Spoon the flour out of your tub into the cup measure, then without tapping, use the back of a knife to level it off. Kitchen scales are very affordable and invaluable when wanting to get perfect baking results.