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Apple Crostata with Oat Crumble Topping

(post, Patricia Conte)

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From Grab a Plate

When someone says “as easy as pie,” they’ve never baked with my mom. This Apple Crostata with Oat Crumble Topping is easy to make…it was just hard to pin down!

Makes enough dough for 2 crostatas. Filling enough for one.

The Perfect Mixture
If you’ve seen any of my other posts, you’ve read that my family is filled with bakers and non-recipe followers. I love to bake but I’m also a recipe follower. I’m trying to break that habit a bit, but I’m just not ready to be a free spirit in the kitchen!

This recipe is really a cross between a pie and a crostata (“pietata,” anyone?). Whatever you call it, it’s my mom’s hard-captured recipe, worth every bit of the wrestling I had to do to get it down in print.

A Little of This and a Little of That
So imagine the scene when someone who is a stickler for directions (me) gets together to bake with someone who isn’t (my mom). Literally, the entire time we were working on this, I was trying to restrain my mom from adding pinches, dashes, and simply eyeballing everything, and get her to use measuring cups and spoons instead, so I could capture all the precise measurements and steps for an actual written recipe!

I should have captured it on video for a good laugh. Then you’d have entertainment to go along with your dessert!

Whether you call this pie or crostata, you’ll probably use “delicious” to describe it.

This recipe makes enough dough for two, 9.5-inch pie pans (or crostatas). You can freeze the dough for up to two months.

If you don’t want to use a pie pan for this recipe, roll out your dough into a large circle (about 11-12 inches) then place it on a baking sheet. Add the apple filling to the center of the dough, and fold and pleat it all the way around as you would if you were following the instructions below.

For the dough:
 3 cups all-purpose flour
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 tablespoon sugar
 2/3 cup Crisco
 3/4 cold water
 Extra sugar for dusting the crust before baking
While the dough is chilling, you can make your apple mixture for the filling.
For the apple filling:
 6 small apples, peeled and sliced thinly (use Jonagold, Gala or Lady apples)
 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
 3/4 cup water plus another 1/3 cup water
 1 tablespoon cinnamon
 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
 1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces
For the crumble mixture:
 1/4 cup oats
 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
 1/4 cup flour
 2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

For the dough:
# Add the flour to a large bowl along with the salt and sugar and sift together.
# Add the Crisco to the dry ingredients. With your fingers or a pastry blender, mix the ingredients together. Add the water to the dough, a little at a time, and continue to mix until it looks like a course meal and there are several pea-sized clumps that form.
# Continue to mix the dough until it’s soft enough to form a dough ball.
Split the dough into two equal portions and form them into disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for about an hour.
For the apple filling:
# Add the apples to a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar and 3/4 cups of water and coat well. Strain the liquid from the apples and place the liquid in a small saucepan.
# Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 1/3 cup of water until smooth.
# Bring the liquid in the pan to a boil. Once boiling, add the cornstarch mixture, a little at a time, until the liquid thickens. Remove from heat.
# Pour the thickened mixture over the sliced apples and mix well to coat. Allow this mixture to stand for at least 30 minutes.
Begin preparations to roll out your pie dough:
# When you’re ready to form your crust, lightly flour your work surface and then the top of the dough, too. Start rolling out the dough with a rolling pin, moving it in one direction, starting at the middle of the dough, away from you. Rotate the dough a few times and continue the same rolling motion. The dough should be about 1/8-inch thick and about 3 inches larger than the size of your inverted pie pan.
# When you’re ready to move the dough to the pie pan, roll it over your rolling pin and unroll it over the pie pan. Let the dough settle to the bottom of the pan and gently press it down with your hands (you can also lightly bang the pan on your counter and rotate it). There should be about 3 inches of extra dough around the edges.
# Add the apple mixture evenly across the bottom of the pie pan. Dot the top of the mixture with the 1 tablespoon of chilled butter pieces.
# Fold the overhanging dough toward the center of the pie, pleating it all the way around. There should be a portion of the filling (in the middle) that will be exposed. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
For the crumble mixture:
# In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add in the pieces of chilled butter and mix well with your hands to incorporate it.
# Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the exposed filling, mounding it slightly. Use your fingers to press the crumble down a bit.
# Lightly moisten the top of the crust with a bit of water and dust it with a little sugar.
# Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F., then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. and bake for 45 more minutes, or until the crust is golden and the apple mixture is bubbly.