FoodGirl and the kitchen

Crumbly and Sweet for the Soul – Rustic Apple Crostatas

On a recent cold and windy Thursday night 14 “students” and I warmed up the kitchen and our souls in my Rustic Tuscan Cooking Class at the Sur La Table (Northbrook). In a sudden turn of events I had decided to take my cooking classes to a grander scale and introduce some of my favorite recipes and techniques to the vast public. One of the more difficult tasks was making the choice of what recipes to introduce to my loyal apprentices. I wrecked my brain for weeks and came to the conclusion that every rustic cooking class needs to have something as simple and incredible as a crostata!

A crostata is essentially a very rustic and quickly thrown together pie. It does not require much technique in rolling out the dough or cutting out intricate shapes. It does require though very cold ingredients and… to make it simple a food processor. Flour, cold butter and cold water are pulsed together in a food processor to create beautiful dough. A few simple steps later beautiful crumbly flower emerges from the oven, enveloping your whole being in sweet and buttery goodness…

Our cooking class finished on a very sweet note, when these beautiful crostatas emerged from the oven all golden brown and crumbly. We finished the decadent dessert with a scoop of vanilla gelato and savored each and every morsel!



1 cup butter, cold (2 sticks)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 ounces ice water



3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/4 tsp orange juice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water

heavy cream, optional




1. With a knife, cut the butter into 1/4″ cubes and keep cold.

2. Mix flour, sugar and salt together in the food processor.

3. Add the butter to the dry ingredients in the food processor.

4. Pulse or mix briefly, until butter is in small pieces, the size of peas.

5. Add the ice water and mix. Stop before it is a solid mass. NOTE: It is better to be a little crumbly.

6. Press the dough together and form into one large ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap.

7. Refrigerate at least one hour.



1. In large sauté pan melt butter until foaming and add sugar. Cook about 5 minutes over medium heat until light brown. Add the apples.

2. Cook until apples are slightly soft, and then add spices and zest – mixing well with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

3. Add the cornstarch and mix well, cook for one minute.

4. Remove filling and cool completely.



1. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.

2. Cut the crostata dough into 4 equal balls.

3. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into about a 9 inch circle.

4. Place the rolled out dough onto the baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

5. Using an ice cream scoop fill with 4 1/2 oz. apple filling.

6. Fold the dough onto the filling creating a rustic looking flower.

7. Place into refrigerator for 30 minutes.



1. Brush the crust of the crostatas with heavy cream.

2. Sprinkle crust with crystallized sugar

3. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven until brown and crisped (about 35-40 minutes).


Make sure you check Mila’s blog at for more tips and tutorials.











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