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
Growing up in Florida I never saw an apple tree, I saw plenty of orange trees but always wished I could go apple picking. I would see images of people on fun apple picking outings and feel instantly envious! I wanted fall leaves and crisp cool autumn days! While everyone up north was wearing cozy fall sweaters I was still wearing my shorts and flip flops and blasting the air-conditioner! (I have to admit though that when there’s so much ice on the ground in the winter that I can’t walk my chihuahua I wish for Florida weather! ) Ack! We wish for what we don’t have sometimes! 😛
I didn’t get to see a real live apple tree until I moved to New York six years ago. Since picking my own apples was something I always wanted to do, when I got the chance I picked way too many for two people to ever eat! We gave some away but still had too many so I started making spiced apples in the crockpot for spooning over vanilla ice cream and stirring into oatmeal but I wanted to try a recipe that just lets the flavor of the apples shine through. I think this upside-down cake recipe really showcases my gorgeous apples without hiding behind a lot of spices although if you really wanted to you could certainly throw in some apple pie spice if you like.
The cake part of the recipe is really just a quick bread so it comes together easily plus the addition of cornmeal in the batter helps the cake hold up to the weight of the apples. Pre-cooking some of the apples before putting them in the bottom of the pan infuses the apples with caramel-like buttery goodness!
I definitely recommend using firm apples like Granny Smith so that your apples hold their shape during the cooking process. I did mix it up with what I used but all the apples I had were pretty firm.
You will need a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides for this cake. If you don’t have one you could use an 8-inch square pan. Give this easy cake a try and let me know what you think!
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, plus extra for pan
- 4 Granny Smith apples or firm red apples (about 2 pounds), peeled and cored
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- FOR THE TOPPING
- Generously butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch round, 2-inch-deep nonstick cake pan; set aside. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut all apples in half, then cut 2 of the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices; set aside. Cut remaining 2 apples into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
- Heat butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add 1/2-inch-thick apple slices and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until apples begin to caramelize, about 6 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Add 1/4-inch-thick apple slices, brown sugar, and lemon juice; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and apples are coated, about 1 minute longer. Transfer apple mixture to prepared pan and lightly press into even layer. Set aside while preparing cake.
- FOR THE CAKE
- Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs together in large bowl until thick and well mixed, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly over apples. Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Cool pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Place a wire rack over cake pan. Holding rack tightly, invert the cake pan and wire rack together; lift off cake pan. Place wire rack over baking sheet or large plate to catch any drips. If any fruit sticks to pan bottom, remove and place it on top of the cake. Let cake cool for 20 minutes and then transfer to a serving platter.
So, desserts have always been my thing and everyone is asking…”Where are your desserts?!” Scaling down desserts for two isn’t the easiest thing in the world but this one was super easy! So here it is, my first dessert on the blog and I promise many more to come!
Now I know that they say that an apple a day will keep the doctor away but what about an apple crumble?! I kind of doubt it, but this recipe is still great because of it’s perfect little sweet portion control size! You only get one and it really is just the right amount! Everything in moderation, right? 🙂
I love everything apple. Apple pie a la mode is one of my favorite desserts but most of the time I don’t want to fuss with making a crust for apple pie. That’s why I love apple crumble! I have had some crumbles that ended up with a soggy topping and flavorless filling until I tried this recipe with a simple way to make crisp, crunchy crumble and an apple filling that tastes like apple!
Another thing I love is caramel. Caramel and apples just go together! I decided that I wanted to have that caramel flavor with my crumble so I made a quick no-stir Salted Butter Caramel Sauce to drizzle over the top! Yeah, I don’t know when to stop. As if that wasn’t enough, I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Maybe that’s gilding the lily but so what, I like my lilies gilded!
The trick to keeping your crumble crisp is to bake it for 20 minutes on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet before adding it to the apple filling. This step insures perfect crumble every time!
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, (approximately 1/2 lemon)
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
- 1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup) or any sweet apple
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch table salt
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsps granulated sugar plus 1 tsp
- 2 Tbsps packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- Pinch table salt
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and very soft
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- Adjust oven racks to lower and middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine cornstarch and lemon juice in medium bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Add apples, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; toss to combine. Divide apple filling between two ramekins, cover with foil.
- Combine flour, sugars (reserving 1 tsp granulated sugar), and salt in workbowl of a food processor; drizzle vanilla over top. Pulse to combine, about five 1-second pulses. Add butter and half of pecans; process until mixture clumps together into large, crumbly balls, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle remaining pecans over mixture and combine with 2 quick pulses. Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into even layer. Place topping mixture on middle rack in oven and apple filling mixture on lower rack. Bake topping until lightly browned and firm, about 20 minutes. Remove both topping and apples from oven.
- Remove foil from apple filling and gently stir. Slide topping over apples and spread into even layer with spatula, packing down lightly and breaking up any very large pieces. Sprinkle remaining tsp sugar over top and place on middle oven rack. Bake until well browned and fruit is tender and bubbling around edges, about 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm, at least 15 minutes; serve with Salted Butter Caramel and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- I noticed that my apples were a bit too done and next time I will leave off the first 20 minute bake time with the crumble and will only do the second bake time but that's because I like the apples to still have a bit of firmness, that's just my personal preference.
- You can also easily double this recipe.