Apple season is here, can I get an amen! And this Warm Apple Crostada recipe, with its flaky crust and syrupy apple filling, brings all the cozy fall feels.
In this easy recipe, I’ll show you how to make a cinnamony apple crostata just like the one you’d get at Maggiano’s.
Messy bakers like me will love making a crostata. This free form pastry is like the opposite of an apple pie. If you’re making a crostata for the first time, you won’t have to worry about the edges being perfectly crimped or the lattice crust being impeccably arranged.
The whole idea of a crostata is to be rustic and imperfect. It’s the best kind of dessert for people who want all the glory of scratch baking with very little perfection!
Maggiano’s is our guilty pleasure. I don’t care what anyone says, their Chicken Parmesan rocks. It’s the best place for a comfort meal. And if you can pull me away from a massive slab of cheesecake for dessert, you can be sure I’m ordering a Maggiano’s Little Italy Apple Crostada.
Obviously, it’s a top secret recipe and there are many takes on it. But I think we’ve gotten pretty close to the real thing here! In fact, it’s my favorite of all the restaurant recipes I’ve recreated at home.
Let’s see if you agree!
What is a Crostata?
A crostata, pronounced “kro-stah-tah,” is a classic Italian dessert that is simple and rustic. This free-form tart is known for its flaky, buttery crust, which is typically rolled out into a circle and folded over the edges of the filling, leaving the center exposed.
The term “crostata” is derived from the Italian word “crosta,” meaning crust, and it’s a fitting name for a dessert where the emphasis is on its delicious pastry shell.
Unlike other pastries, a crostata is super versatile. It can be filled with any variety of fresh fruits, jams, nuts, or even chocolate. The dough is easy to make and, once you’ve mastered the recipe, you can fill it with anything you like.
What’s the difference between a crostata and a galette?
The short answer is not much. Both a crostata and a galette are free form pastry dishes, where the edges are partially folded over the filling in the center. A crostata is Italian and a galette is French.
Aside from the main difference being their name, the only other difference between a crostata and a galette is that while a crostata can have a variety of sweet fillings, a galette can have both sweet and savory types of fillings.
Ingredients for this Warm Apple Crostata Recipe
There are two parts to this copycat Maggiano’s apple crostata recipe: the crust and the filling.
Both are very traditional. We’ve got a butter pie crust that’s made with small amounts of ice water, and a cooked apple filling with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg.
And none of the ingredients are fancy. You’ll find everything at the grocery store. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tart apples. I wouldn’t normally use Granny Smith apples for baking because of their tartness. But they’re what Maggiano’s uses and guess what? They’re actually perfect in this recipe. Because of the acidity in the apples, we won’t need to use lemon juice or lemon zest in this recipe.
How to Make this Apple Crostata
First, Make the Dough
Grab your food processor and pulse the flour, sugar and salt together. Then, take your cold butter and cut it into small pieces.
When you add the cold butter cubes to the flour mixture, it should start to look like coarse sand. Then, pour a little ice water into the mixture and you’ll have a crumbly dough.
Be sure to refrigerate the crostata dough for at least one hour. Cold dough is much easier to work with and won’t stick to your rolling surface as much as dough at room temperature.
Then, Make the Filling
Before we start cooking the apples, we’re going to melt the butter and sugar together. Be sure to stir constantly so the mixture won’t burn.
You’ll see it go from yellow to darker amber color. That’s when you’ll know it’s ready for adding the apples.
Don’t worry if the butter and sugar mixture starts to look clumpy. Just get the apples, cinnamon and nutmeg in there and it will all smooth out.
Adding a little slurry of cornstarch helps to thicken the apple filling perfectly.
Form the Crostata
Roll out your chilled dough into a round circle. The shape does not need to be perfect. Remember, imperfection is totally allowed here!
Then, spoon the apple mixture into the center of the circle, spreading it out and leaving a 2-inch perimeter of dough all the way around.
Now, fold the dough towards the center. Take pieces of dough and fold them in an overlapping pattern. You want the dough to only cover about a half inch of the filling. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
To get a beautifully golden crust, brush the dough with heavy cream and sprinkle it with turbinado sugar before baking.
How to Serve this warm apple crostata
This delicious apple crostata is best served warm or at room temperature. Slice into this delicious dessert the same way you’d cut into a pizza. Vanilla ice cream is traditional and – dare I say – necessary. But if you can find cinnamon ice cream, that would be amazing too.
In addition to a scoop of ice cream, Maggiano’s also serves their apple crostata with a drizzle of warm caramel sauce. So delicious.
If you like nuts, you could also try sprinkling crushed walnuts or pecans over this dessert for a textural twist.
Variations on this Apple Crostata Recipe
Although apple is a classic, there are lots of ways to get creative with a fruit crostata. Try these ideas:
- Mixed Berry Apple Crostata. Give your apple crostata a burst of color and flavor by adding a medley of mixed berries to the filling. The combination of apples and berries creates a cool contrast of textures and tastes.
- Ginger and Pear Crostata. Swap out apples for pears and infuse your crostata with the warm, spicy notes of ginger. This variation keeps with the fall vibes in a totally different way.
- Maple Walnut Apple Crostata. Incorporate the earthy flavors of maple syrup, walnuts and brown sugar into your apple crostata. The sweetness of the maple syrup complements the tart apples, and the toasted walnuts provide a delicious crunch.
- Apple Cranberry Crostata. Nothing says “holiday dessert” like combining apples with tart cranberries. The cranberries add a burst of color and a tangy kick to the apple filling. A hint of orange zest can elevate the flavor profile further.
- Apple Dumplings. Divide the pie dough into 4-6 equal parts and roll them into small circles. Place the apple filling in the center and wrap the dough around the filling like a cute little package. Single serving desserts, anyone?
- Nutella and Banana Crostata. Take your crostata in a different direction altogether by incorporating Nutella and sliced bananas into the filling. The creamy hazelnut spread and sweet bananas provide a luscious and decadent alternative to the traditional apple crostata.
- Add a Jam. Before spooning your apple mixture onto the pie dough, spread a layer of fig jam down. The fig and apples together are a perfect match.
How to Store Leftover Apple Crostata
Wrap your leftovers in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container. Leftovers will keep for 3-5 days. This apple crostata will reheat easily in the microwave.
When you try this Warm Apple Crostata recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more apple recipes, try these:
- Apple Cinnamon Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Apple Butter Baked Brie Puff Pastry Twists
- Ultimate Fall Salad with Apples, Pecans and Honey Dijon Dressing
- Apple Cider Ice Cream Floats
- Cinnamon Apple Ice Cream Pie
For more fall desserts, try these:
- Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chai Spice Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
- Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (No Butter)
- Best Ever Cowboy Coffee Cake Recipe with Buttermilk
Warm Apple Crostata Recipe (Just like Maggiano’s!)
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter 1 cup
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- 3 tart apples peeled, cored and sliced
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Make the Crust
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt to combine. Cut the cold butter into cubes. Add the butter to the food processor and process until grainy.
- With the motor running on low, pour 5 Tbsp. ice water through the feed tube until a crumbly dough forms.
- Remove the dough and press it into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Make the Filling
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the sugar. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes an amber color. Don't worry if it gets clumpy.
- Stir in the apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of water. Pour the mixture into the apples and stir until thickened. Remove from heat.
Form the Crostada
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll out the dough into a large circle on a floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spread the apple mixture in the center of the dough, leaving a perimeter of dough about 2 inches.
- Fold and gather the dough in towards the center, slightly overlapping other pieces of dough and overlapping the apple mixture by 1/2 inch.
- Brush the dough with heavy cream. Sprinkle it with turbinado sugar. Bake 50 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet before transferring it to a serving plate.