Cranberry Apple Crostata

Cranberry apple crostata is so easy to make and so unexpectedly lovely to experience it may end up displacing the more familiar dessert offerings at your Thanksgiving table.

This cranberry apple crostata is rustic and charming for oh so many reasons. It’s essentially a warmly spiced apple pie filling punctuated with tartness that’s nestled in a profoundly crisp and flaky pastry and topped with buttery brown sugar streusel. As you glance at the recipe you’ll be wondering, is it really that easy? At first whiff of the spices, you’ll tumble head over heals in love. And upon your initial taste, you just may cry. Swear. We can’t stop craving it.Angie Zoobkoff

Cranberry Apple Crostata

A cooked cranberry apple crostata on a piece of parchment.
Cranberry apple crostata is so easy to make and so unexpectedly lovely to experience it may end up displacing the more familiar dessert offerings at your Thanksgiving table.
Josh Thomsen

Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 45 mins
8 to 12 servings
No ratings yet
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For the filling

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 2 1/2 lbs medium apples, any variety peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

For the crostata dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

For the streusel

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 large egg
  • Ice cream for serving (optional)


Make the filling

  • In a large heavy pot over moderate heat, melt the butter or coconut oil.
  • While the butter or coconut oil melts, whisk the apple cider and cornstarch together in a bowl to make a slurry.
  • Add the slurry to the pot and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla to the pot and stir to combine. Add the apples and cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the cranberries soften and maybe even begin to pop, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Make the crostata dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, and cold butter and mix just until pea-size pieces of butter remain. Add the cold water and vinegar and mix on low speed until the liquid is fully combined. This should only take a few seconds. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly into a disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before rolling out.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Place a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly flour it. Place the dough on the floured parchment and roll it out into a large circle between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (3 to 6 mm) thick. The dough should be up to 18 inches in diameter. (Yes, this makes a ginormous crostata!) Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a rimmed baking sheet. Check to make certain there are no cracks in the dough where the filling could leak out or the crostata could turn soggy. If there are cracks, gently press or massage them until the seam disappears.
  • Spoon the cooled cranberry apple filling onto the center of the dough. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the filling, letting the dough fall into pleats as you work. Refrigerate the assembled crostata for a few minutes while you make the streusel.

Make the streusel

  • In a large bowl using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingertips, mix the brown sugar, oats, flour, butter, and salt until combined but large chunks of butter still remain. Add the sliced almonds and mix briefly to incorporate, taking care not to crumble the almonds.
  • In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg.

Assemble the crostata

  • Sprinkle the streusel over the crostata filling. Lightly brush the exposed dough with the beaten egg. Bake the crostata until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving, if desired with a scoop (or maybe a couple scoops) of ice cream.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Who can resist flaky pastry enclosing sweet, spicy apple filling? Add a scattering of tart cranberries and a brown sugar streusel and I was sold. I made a half recipe for our family of 3 and it made 8 servings. I’m not totally ashamed to say that I ate 5 of those servings myself. Well, I am a little ashamed, but I spread the eating out over a couple of days, so it wasn’t that bad, right?

Even a half recipe made a crostata that easily filled most of the middle of a half sheet pan. I was awed at the potential size of crostata that a full recipe would make.

I used Gala apples. I spread the filling on a dinner plate and put it in the fridge to cool while I made the pastry. The dough was very easy to work with. I had to use an extra tablespoon of water to get the dough to come together. After baking for 40 minutes, the crostata was still pale and the filling wasn’t bubbling. After 10 more minutes, the apples were soft and the filling was bubbling but the bottom of the crostata was still pale. I moved the crostata to the bottom oven rack for 5 minutes, which lightly browned the bottom crust, for a total of 55 minutes baking.

This is a fabulous crostata recipe. I’m not the greatest at rolling out a crust and getting it to fit into a pie pan evenly and then crimping it to look the way that I want it to look. That’s why I’m a big fan of crostatas. They are very forgiving. You roll them out to any shape that works for the thickness you are aiming for, put on the filling, and then fold the perimeter of the pastry dough up and pleat it. You end up with a very rustic, and in my opinion, charming pastry.

This may well be the crispiest crust I have ever made. The finished product has a shatteringly crisp crust. Even the crust underneath the filling had layer upon layer of crispness. And the outer edges were divine. I used Pink Lady apples. The apples were nicely tender after 8 minutes. At that time, a few of the cranberries had softened and popped, but just a few. Most remained intact. I had made my streusel earlier in the day so I did not need to refrigerate the assembled crostata while making the topping. As soon as I piled my cooled filling onto the crust and folded the edges up, I sprinkled on the streusel and put it immediately into the oven. Perhaps that is why the bottom of my crostata was so crisp and flaky. It did not sit and absorb the filling and its juices.

This is a recipe that can be divided in half easily, which is what I did. Half a recipe very generously fed 4 people. I did have so much streusel that my filling was completely overflowing with the topping, but that can’t be a bad thing, can it? We ate this just like it was, without any ice cream, which was how we wanted to eat it. I did not want anything to take away from the crispy streusel and that shatteringly crisp crust. I think that I have found my go-to pie crust recipe. Can’t wait to try it with all sorts of pies.

It’s Christmas in the shape of a pie, foodie friends! The minute you add the spices and fruits, you’ll get a heady whiff of Christmas and you’ll already be in love with this pie. I relied on 3 Macintosh apples and 3 Golden Delicious apples and 12 ounces cranberries. I chilled the crust for 1 hour and then rolled it to 15 inches in diameter. My crostata was done in 45 minutes although it did leak a little. It’s the ideal festive dish! And the contrast of colors was stunning. Happy holidays, friends!

Originally published November 13, 2018


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  1. I have an apple tree and can a lot. I slice them and can in a light syrup. Do you think I can drain and dry the slices and use in the recipe? I think I’ll have to adjust the sugar, too.

    1. MaryAlice, I think if, as you suggest, you drain and pat them quite dry, you should be fine. Fresh apples exude a lot during baking, as you know, so I doubt your canned ones would throw off more liquid than fresh. Good luck and happy, happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Faye, typically crostatas and galettes are at their best served within a couple hours of coming out of the oven. If you need to make it ahead of time for a dinner party, I suggest you make the individual components ahead of time and assemble and bake them at the last moment. The streusel you can make several days ahead of time and freeze. The dough you can make a day or two ahead and stash it in the fridge before rolling it out. And the apple mixture you could make the morning of and simply let it at room temperature after you pull it off the heat for up to several hours. Then you can roll out the dough, spread the apple mixture over it, sprinkle it with the streusel, and refrigerate the assembled tart for up to an hour or so prior to sliding it in a hot oven. Good luck!

  2. Question: What apples are best for pies and crostata? I’ve always used Granny Smiths because they held firm and they have a nice tartness to them. The last two times I used Grannys they turned to mush. All suggestions are appreciated. Leslie

    1. Leslie, I’m sorta surprised as I bake with Grannys all the time and they don’t turn mushy. I’m wondering if perhaps you got a batch of Granny Smiths that had been in storage for a long time and hence turned to mush more readily than usual? At any rate, there are so many varieties of apples that work well for baking, including Jonagold, Jonathans, Honeycrisp, Rome Beauty, Melrose, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, and Gala. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it does cover a lot of apples that tend to be available at mainstream grocery stores. Obviously the sweet to tart profile will vary depending on the apple. Good luck!

  3. Sorry to say this was a huge disappointment — way way way too sweet. We actually threw it out, which is something I can’t remember ever doing with a dessert I have made. The cider plus the cup of sugar in the filling plus the sweetened topping is just too much. Glad I made a test tart before Thanksgiving — this will not make the cut.

    1. Candace, I’m really sorry to hear that. All our testers who tried it loved it and no one mentioned the extreme sweetness. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 20 years of editing recipes, though, it’s that each person has a very different palate. I’m so sorry this one didn’t suit yours.

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