This Warm Apple Crostata recipe is comforting and quick to prepare. Slices of fresh apple mixed with cinnamon wrapped in a buttery crostata dough then baked until crispy and served with a quick caramel sauce.
This simple Warm Apple Crostata is like an easy-to-make, rustic apple pie. Crisp, buttery pastry encasing a filling of soft cinnamon apples is totally comforting and perfect with caramel sauce drizzled all over the top.
It’s one of the easiest desserts to make and the perfect way to use up loads of apples.
What is crostata?
Crostata is the Italian name for a tart or pie and is often a rustic style dessert where the pastry is wrapped around the filling around the edges.
This style of tart is very easy to make for the fact that the crostata dough is topped with fillings before being pulled up and over at the edges to hold the filling in place.
Crostata vs Galette
Crostata and galette are basically the same thing – just free form tarts. Crostata is Italian while Galette is the French term.
- The crostata dough starts with a few basic ingredients being blitzed together in a food processor just until the dough starts to clump.
- Let it rest in the fridge for ½ an hour before rolling out into a large circle.
- Mix some sliced apples with lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour then arrange them over the dough leaving a 1.5 inch edge all the way around.
- Now just fold the edge over the apples, brush with a little egg wash and scatter over some demerara (turbinado) and flaked almonds.
Now just bake the crostata until the edge is crispy and golden.
If you notice the edges getting dark too quickly, just place a little foil over them until the cooking time is finished.
The quick caramel sauce
This caramel sauce is made in around 5 minutes on the stovetop. Make sure to let it cool just slightly before serving as boiling sugar can cause burns very easily.
- Simply add butter, brown sugar and cream to medium heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Whisk it constantly until the sugar dissolves.
- Only once the sugar has dissolved, let it come to a bubble, then let it bubble constancly, stirring every 20 seconds or so, for a total of 3 minutes.
While it’s cooking, I like to heat a glass preserving jar in the microwave, then as soon as the caramel is done, pour it into the warm jar. This will stop it cooking immediately and if you pour it into a cold jar, the glass may crack.
Let it cool just a few minutes before pouring over the crostata.
Why is this caramel sauce so quick?
It uses brown sugar which already has some caramelisation, meaning you don’t need to cook it so long to get a caramel flavour. You can read more about the different types of in my Types of Sugar in Baking post. While this is not an ‘authentic’ caramel, it is a version of caramel and a very delicious one at that.
The best apples for baking
Some apples will be juicier than others though so the flour in the filling is there to help thicken up any juices and prevent a soggy bottom to your tart. If you notice lots of juice during the baking process, you can use some paper towel to remove a little of the excess moisture.I grew up with comforting fruit pies and crumbles and there’s nothing better than a crisp and buttery crust filled with soft, warm fruit.
How to make flaky pastry
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.
- Keep cold ingredient cold right up until you use them. In fact, if it’s summer time, I’ll often put everything (including 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 rest 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.
I grew up with comforting fruit pies and crumbles just like this, minus the caramel sauce but the classic combo of apples and caramel here works a treat.
I would serve this Warm Apple Crostata with ice cream in the warmer months but a warm custard, or crème anglaise, during the cooler months. Either way, it’s a luscious dessert you’ll make time and time again.
Other apple recipes you’ll love
- Apple Frangipane Tart
- Apple Plum Cobbler
- Caramel Apple Pie Bars
- Rustic Almond Plum Tart
- Sautéed Cinnamon Apples
Warm Apple Crostata with Quick Caramel Sauce
FOR THE SOUR CREAM PASTRY
- 150 g (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) plain (all purp) flour (notes)
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar (notes)
- Pinch of salt
- 113 g (1 stick / ½ cup) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1/2 cup sour cream (light or full fat)
FOR THE FILLING
- 3 medium granny smith apples, whole
- 50 g (1/4 cupacked light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon plain (all purp) flour (notes)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- squeeze of lemon
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds (notes)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons demerara (turbinad) sugar
QUICK CARAMEL SAUCE
- 1/2 cup (113g / 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup thickened (heavy) cream
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
FOR THE SOUR CREAM PASTRY
- Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter 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.
- Turn the dough out onto a board and just gently pull it together – don’t knead it too much. Wrap it in plastic wrap or baking paper and place it in the fridge for 1/2 an hour to rest.
FOR THE APPLE FILLING
- Peel the apples, then chop each apple into quarters. Slice out the core of each quarter and then cut each quarter into 4 or 5 slices.
- Place the apples in a bowl and add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 395F / 180C fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Sprinkle some flour over the bench top, place the dough on top and sprinkle the top with a little flour too. Gently roll it out to about a 10 inch circle (about 4mm thick).
- Place the rolling pin near the furthest side from you, wrap the top of the dough over the rolling pin and roll it back towards you, rolling the dough around the rolling pin.
- Roll it back out in revers onto the prepared baking tray.
- Arrange the apples in the centre of the disk of dough, making sure to leave a 1.5 inch ring clear around the edge. Discard any remaining juice that may have come out of the apples in the bowl.
- Gently gather the edges of the dough and fold over the edge of the apples, leaving the centre uncovered.
- Brush the egg around the edge of the pastry and sprinkle with the demerara (turginadsugar and almonds.
- Bake for around 45 minutes until the edges of the pastry are golden and puffed up.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
QUICK CARAMEL SAUCE
- Add butter, brown sugar and cream to medium heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Whisk it constantly until the sugar dissolves.
- Only once the sugar has dissolved, let it come to a bubble, then let it bubble constantly, stirring every 20 seconds or so, for a total of 3 minutes. Stir through the salt and take off the heat.
- While the caramel is cooking, heat a glass preserving jar in the microwave for 1 minute, just so that it's not cold, to prevent it cracking when you pour the caramel sauce in.
- Transfer the caramel to the warm jar, and let it cool just a few minutes before pouring over the crostata.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- The caramel sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge in a sealed jar (I love these Weck jars). Reheat it until pourable.
- This tart is also lovely served with Creme Anglaise
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