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
For the filling
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.
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