Galette, crostata, galette, crostata…
Tomato, tom-ah-toe? With my Blueberry Galette, I was channeling my French roots. I thought I’d give a nod to my Italian roots with these Caramel Apple Crostatas. Galettes and crostatas are essentially rustic free form pies. In baker speak, that means less stress to me. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just roll out your dough and top with some sweetened fruit and fold up the sides. Couldn’t be easier, right? Unless you’re going to fret over making pie dough, but there’s no need for that.
I shared my easy pie dough in my Blueberry Galette post (check it out for some extra photos of the process.) Why is it so easy? Basically, you mix up your flour sugar and salt, cut in your cold butter and then add ice cold water until your dough is moist enough to hold together. At this point, you would normally refrigerate your dough so that it can rest and hydrate.
Instead, we bring the dough together into a ball, place it between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll it into our desired shape, in this case, a circle. The plastic wrap makes it a piece of cake to roll out…no additional flour, no mess, no sticking. You do need to lift up the plastic every once in a while so that the dough edges aren’t getting trapped by two pieces of plastic sticking together. But that’s it. I swear it’s almost as easy as rolling out play dough. When I’m done rolling, I just pick it up in the plastic it’s already wrapped in, making sure the edges are sealed so it doesn’t dry out, then it goes right into the refrigerator to rest until I need it. I usually leave it in for about two hours but I prefer to refrigerate it overnight for the best texture. (This give the dough time for the gluten to relax and will keep your crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
For this recipe, I decided to make individual servings, so I divided the dough into 8 equal pieces and rolled each into a 5″ circle. This size makes for a thin dough that will bake up with a nice crispy, but tender crust. When I finished rolling each circle, I stacked them up on a tray and put them into the refrigerator.
For the apples, I decided I would dice them up. If I were making a large crostata, I would have done slices or bigger chunks. The smaller cut makes for an easier bite; you won’t have a giant chunk of apple you’re trying to bite or cut through. (This is especially helpful should you decided to forgo the fork and decide to eat this like a hand pie.)
When your dough has had time to rest, peel and chop your apples. I kept it simple and tossed them with brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, salt and apple pie spice. Then, leaving the rest of the dough in the refrigerator, I took one piece out, peeled off the plastic wrap, topped it with the apple mixture and folded up the sides. I repeated the process with each piece of dough. These are small pieces of dough and they warm up quickly, so make sure you only take one piece out at a time.
Once I finished filling all of the crostatas, I put the tray back into the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, to rechill until the butter in the dough was firm. Cold butter is so important to the texture of your crust. When I was ready to bake, I brushed the crusts with a beaten egg and sprinkled them generously with raw (turbinado) sugar. This adds a nice crunchy sweetness and gives the dough a little sparkle.
You know I love caramel, so you know I had to make some caramel sauce to top these babies. Homemade caramel is easy to make. You can make 10 Minute Buttermilk Caramel Sauce or you can make Salted Caramel Sauce (in the recipe below.) I decided to make the Salted Caramel Sauce. The 10 Minute Buttermilk Caramel Sauce is super easy, rich and buttery and it’s really delicious. It will crystallize when you store it in the refrigerator, but a couple drops of milk and a quick reheat will bring it back to it’s original creaminess.
The Salted Caramel Sauce takes a bit longer and has a slightly deeper flavor (and of course the extra salt.) I’m giving you slightly different proportions for the ingredients, but you can see photos of the exact process in the Seaport Salty Swirl Ice Cream post. This sauce is also extremely delicious and so far, it’s never crystallized on me. It’s always creamy and wonderful. Or, you can use your favorite caramel sauce recipe or pick up a jar at the store. (Make your own at least once though. It’s sooooo good!)
The little Caramel Apple Crostatas bake up in about 30 minutes and once they cool, you can just pick them up and eat them. Orrrrr, you can drizzle some warm caramel sauce over them and really get the whole caramel apple thing going. Even better, serve them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then drizzle warm caramel sauce over the whole darn thing! Yes. That’s definitely what you should do.
Caramel Apple Crostatas…
A pie by any other name would taste as sweet!