- April 19, 2020
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Since apple season will be ending soon, I wanted to enjoy some baked apple desserts. I found an interesting recipe from Dorie Greenspan, one of my baking mentors. Dorie is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and an incredible teacher. I have followed her for years, enjoying her stories and detailed descriptions of her recipes. This is a recipe that she titled Apple Pie, Circus-style. She tells of watching the bakers at the Circus bakery in Paris and the intricate way in which they folded the dough up around the apples to create these lovely little pies. After trying to replicate the Circus process, I decided to just fold them how I liked, hence the crostada.
I am a big fan of the crostada…it’s a rustic-looking pastry that can take pretty much any filling; blueberries, peaches, pears, even tomatoes for a savory crostada. They are purposely not fancy, which is especially appreciated in stressful times.
And the dough has a heartiness to it…it’s easy to make, isn’t fussy, and won’t tear when you lift it. Needless to say, I make these often!
These individual crostadas are so nice to serve guests. You can also make one large one, if you’re feeling it! Happy baking!
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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour & 25 minutes plus chill time overnight
For the Dough:
- 2 & 1/2 cups (340 grams) bread flour
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) whole-wheat flour
- 4 & 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
For the Filling:
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 5 tsp bread flour
- 1 lemon, zested, then juiced
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 4 medium sweet apples (1 to 1 & 1/2 pounds), such as Golden Delicious, Fuji or Gala
- 1 egg, for finishing
- Demerara or sanding sugar, for finishing
Make the dough:
Put the bread flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and whir to combine. Drop in the chunks of butter, then process in 8 to 10 long pulses, scraping the bowl often, until the ingredients look like coarse crumbs and hold together when pressed.
Stir together the ice water and vinegar in a measuring cup, then pour the liquid over the dough as you pulse the machine, forming a moist dough. Scrape the dough onto a work surface, shape into a log and divide into thirds. Press each piece into a disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, working between sheets of parchment, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch circle that’s a scant 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece into a 7-inch circle, cover with the parchment and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (Leftover dough can be used to make a smaller pie or to make cookies.)
Make the Filling:
Stir the sugar, flour and zest together in a large bowl, then stir in the butter and lemon juice. Quarter and core the apples, leaving the peel on, and slice them very thinly; a food processor or mandoline works best here. (You want about 5 loosely packed cups.) Add apples to the large bowl, and use your hands to toss until they’re coated with the sugar mixture.
Assemble the Crostadas:
Working with 1 circle of dough at a time, peel away the top sheet of paper, and lightly score a 4-inch circle in the center of the dough. Pile apples inside the circle, pressing to make a compact mound about 1 & 1/2 inches high and leaving a bare border of about 1 & 1/2 inches. Fold a piece of the dough up over the apples. Repeat this all the way around the apples. The dough should not completely cover the apples. The beauty of a crostada is that it has a rough finish, so you don’t have to be exact in how you fold up the dough. Just be sure to press it together where it joins another piece of dough. Repeat with the remaining circles of dough and apples. (You may have some apples leftover.) Refrigerate the pies while you heat the oven. (You can cover and refrigerate the pies for up to 1 day.)
Center a rack in the oven, and heat it to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and transfer the pies to the sheet.Stir a splash of water into the egg, and brush a little on the sides of the crostadas, avoiding the top rim of the pie dough. Sprinkle the sides with Demerara sugar.
Bake the crostadas until the crust is beautifully golden and a knife inserted into the apples meets little resistance, about 45 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack, and allow the crostadas to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe inspired by Dorie Greenspan