We went apple picking and we have A LOT of apples around here so I’ve been thinking of ways to use them up but keep it simple at the same time. I just don’t want to go to the trouble of baking a whole pie for two people. These mini apple crostatas are easy and quick to throw together with their fold-over crust. The apples are spiced with a little cinnamon and cardamom, one spice that is comfortingly familiar and the other is appealingly different. These crostatas are rustic and elegant and just the thing to treat yourself without over-doing it as you only get one. You have to share the other! 🙂
Using a mix of sweet and tart apples offers a perfect balance of flavors. I used Stayman Winesap and Red Delicious as that is what we picked on our apple picking trip to Terhune Orchards.
You don’t want the filling to be dry so to remedy this, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar and dotted butter over the crostatas.
Allowing the tarts to cool on a wire rack is the last small but significant step toward a crisp crust. This keeps the crust from steaming itself as it cools.
For the effort used to throw together these crostatas, the reward was amazing!
- 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
- 2/3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 small tart apple like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small sweet apple like Macintosh, peeled, cored, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons white sugar (plus one teaspoon for sprinkling over crostata before baking)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- Process the flour and salt in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds.
- Scatter butter over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. Continue to pulse, adding 1 tablespoon ice water at a time until the dough forms a ball, about 10 pulses.
- Transfer the dough to the counter.
- Divide dough in half, then form each half into a 3-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let chilled dough sit on the counter to soften slightly for about 10 minutes before rolling.
- Roll each disk of dough into a 7-inch circle between 2 small sheets of floured parchment paper. If the dough sticks, gently loosen and lift sticky area and dust parchment with more flour. Slide dough circles, still between the parchment onto baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, 15 to 30 minutes. If refrigerated longer and the dough is hard and brittle, let it sit at room temperature until pliant.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss apples, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon and cardamom together in a medium bowl. Remove top sheet of parchment from each dough round. Stack half of apples onto circle, leaving 1 1/2 inch border of dough around edge and reserving a few apple slices to fill in the the middle of the crostata.
- Fill in the middle of the crostata with the reserved apple slices. Fold outermost 1 inch of dough over the apples, pleating it every 1 or 2 inches as needed. Be careful to leave a 1/2 inch border of dough around edge of apples as this will help to keep the apple juices from leaking. Repeat with remaining apples and dough round.
- Lightly brush the top and sides of dough with the egg white and sprinkle crostata with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Dot crostatas evenly with the butter.
- Bake crostatas until the crust is golden and crisp and the apples are tender, 35-40 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
- Transfer the baking sheet with the crostatas to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then use the parchment to gently transfer the crostatas to a wire rack. Use a spatula to loosen crostatas from parchment and remove parchment paper. Let cool on the rack until apple juice has thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Wrapped dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.
We saw this cute dog on our way out of Terhune Orchards and I had to get a pic of him. <3
Key lime pie always reminds me of my wedding in Key West so Key lime pie always makes me happy! Key limes were actually the jumping off point for our theme. We had a Key lime cake and the florist used Key limes in some of the arrangements. We also sampled LOTS of Key lime pie while on our honeymoon. I can’t wait to go back! In the mean time I will console myself with these cute little individual sized Key lime pies. I wanted something that tasted like those pies in Key West but we also don’t need to eat a whole pie so these perfect little portion control pies for two really have that authentic taste I was looking for!
You can use regular grocery store limes in this recipe. I’m in New York so Key limes aren’t readily available. You won’t be able to taste the difference, I promise! IF you do have Key limes available to you, you will need 10 of them to get 1/4 cup juice. You will also need two mini pie plates, like these: Corningware French White III Mini Pie Plate. These are 5.4 inch x 1 inch. It’s also important to add the filling to the crust while it’s still warm so the filling “sticks” to the crust and doesn’t separate when you cut into it. If your crust does cool off though you can rewarm it in the oven for 5 minutes before adding the filling.
The filling is really simple. Just whisk the egg yolks and lime zest until the mixture has a light green tint, about one minute.
Next you’ll whisk in the condensed milk and then the lime juice of two limes to total 1/4 cup. Don’t be tempted to use bottled lime juice, it’s just so tart tasting and you won’t get a great tasting pie. Cover the mixture and let it rest for 30 minutes. This will thicken it.
While the filling is thickening make sure your oven rack is in the middle position and heat it to 325°. Process the graham crackers in the food processor, mix in the butter and sugar. Sprinkle crumb mixture between the two pie plates and using the bottom of a measuring cup press the crumbs into and even layer on bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake the crust until it’s fragrant and beginning to brown, about 13-18 minutes. Transfer the pie plates to a wire rack but don’t turn off the oven yet. Add the filling to the warm crust.
Bake pies until the center is firm but jiggles slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the pies cool on a wire rack for about an hour and then wrap them loosely and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Now we didn’t come all this way to put imitation topping on our cute little pies. This topping is super simple and quick. It’s lightly sweetened and perfectly balances the tartness of these pies so don’t skip it! Using your handheld mixer beat the cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl on medium low speed until foamy. Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form, about another minute longer. Spread over the top of the chilled pies and have a taste of Key West!
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup lime juice (2 medium limes)
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 4 whole graham crackers or a heaping 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk egg yolks and lime zest until mixture is light green, about one minute. Whisk in condensed milk until smooth, then whisk in the lime juice. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will thicken the filling.
- While the filling is thickening adjust your oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process graham crackers in the food processor to fine even crumbs or if you're using graham cracker crumbs that have already been processed measure out a heaping 1/4 cup. Add melted butter and sugar to crumbs and either pulse or stir to combine.
- Divide mixture between the two pie dishes and using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press crumbs into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake until crust is fragrant and beginning to brown, 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer pie plates to wire rack; don't turn off the oven. (Crust must still be warm when filling is added.)
- Pour thickened filling into the warm pie crusts, dividing equally. Bake pies until center is firm but jiggles slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let pies cool on a wire rack for an hour and then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is chilled and set, about 3 hours.
- Using a handheld mixer set at medium-low speed, ,beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Divide the whipped cream in half and spread on each chilled pie.
- If using Key limes you will need 10. Be sure to add filling warm crust. If it has cooled you'll need to rewarm it for 5 minutes before adding the filling.