Individual Apple Crostatas


Individual Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamThe Italians call them crostatas and the French call them croustades but they are basically the same item.  Individual Apple Crostatas with Pastry Cream is a meeting between the pastry worlds of Italy and France.

Traditionally, a butter crust that is pleated is used as the vessel for the apple crostatas  but in researching this, phyllo seems to be a second choice. When it comes to the restaurant, I stick with tradition when making the crostatas.   Tony’s serves them with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.  While I love this version, my accompaniment of choice is pastry cream piped into the warm crostata.  The chill of the pastry cream softening in the warm apple pastry is truly special and looks so much more difficult than it is.

As far as I am concerned, there is no crust for the crostatas that beats the French Pate Brisee a L’Oeuf Crust for this type of pastry .  Now don’t get me wrong, I love  American Pie Crust , but they are two different crusts, each with it’s own use.  I have seen cooked fruit used inside the crostatas, but because the baking time is fairly long to insure a crisp crust, I prefer a very simple filling of apples, butter and sugar.  Can you add cinnamon or other spices, raisins or dried fruit?  Of course, but sometimes I prefer the simplicity of purity.

The pastry cream has to be made ahead by at least a day to allow it to chill and set up.  However, it can be made and frozen for a month.  Just thaw it a day or so before using it and you are halfway through.

It is best to make the Pate Brisee a L’Oeuf Crust the day before you need it.  It can also be made a month before if you freeze it.  Portion it into the individual crusts, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them.  Gather them into a freezer proof bag or container when frozen and you are ahead of the game.  Simply thaw them in the refrigerator and you are ready to roll them out when needed. Even that can be done the day before so the butter is good and cold, firming the pastry.  I always roll the pastry for the crostatas out the day before using them at the restaurant.

The only thing left is to peel the apples and slice them.  I use one half of a medium size apple for the crostatas.  A bit of butter is put down first and covered with sugar followed by the apples on top.  I love pleating the pastry and after one or two times, it is a quick finish to a fine dessert.

Crostatas can be rustic or elegant and go with any menu.  They can be made early in the day and rewarmed to serve.  Just pop them into a 350°F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. The crostatas should be warm but not hot when eaten.

Pastry Cream – for how to photo’s click here.  Omit the gelatin and water used in this recipe.
1 1/3 cup milk, very hot
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup flour (35 grams or 1 ounce)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split

If using the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk along with the pod; heat the milk until hot but not boiling.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a non-reactive saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Remove the pod from the milk if using. Add the milk slowly, whisking well and scraping the corners of pan with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the egg yolk mixture is incorporated. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla (if using extract).  Pour into a storage container, cover the surface with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it.  Cool it and refrigerate overnight to chill or freeze.

Yield: 2 cups (490 grams or 17 ounces)

Lightened Pastry Cream
1/2 cup 40% or heavy cream

Whisk the cold pastry cream to smooth it out.  Whip the cream to fairly stiff peaks and fold into the cold pastry cream.  This can be made the day ahead and refrigerated.

Pate Briseeclick here for how to photo’s
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1/2 cup cake flour (70 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cold, cut in small pieces (2 sticks or 225 grams or 8 ounces)
1 egg well beaten
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 to 5 tablespoons ice-cold water

Place flours and salt in a processor bowl. Pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse to cut in until the size of peas. Combine egg, lemon juice, and water. Pour over the flour and butter. Pulse to wet the dry ingredients.  It should clump when pressed together.  Do not overprocess and do not let it form into a ball.

The pastry will divide into 5 balls of 105 grams each.  There will be one ball that will be smaller.  When you roll the crusts, save the scraps as they are trimmed and there will be enough to add to the smaller portion to make the sixth crust.  Flatten each ball into a disc.  Wrap each one in film and refrigerate several hours or preferably overnight.Pastry discs for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Cream

Roll each disc into a roughly  8” round.  Rolling out pastry for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamPlace an 8″ plate or cardboard circle on top of the pastry and cut around it.  (If I lose my green plastic plate, I’m in trouble.)  Trimming pastry for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamPlace the first one on a cardboard round or a plate.  Stack on top of each other with waxed, parchment or deli paper in between them.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.Pastry on a board for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamPastry rounds for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Cream

Apple CrostatasIngredients for the Apple Croustades with Pastry Cream3 medium size apple (I use Granny Smith apples)
Granulated sugar
6 small pats of butter
1 egg, beaten well
Pecans, chopped finely
Sanding Sugar

Peel the apples.

One at a time, cut the apples.Cutting apple for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamCutting apples for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamCutting apples for Apple Crostatas with OPastry CreamCutting apples for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamCutting apples for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamSlice them thinly Slicing the apples for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Creamand gather them together.  Sliced apples for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamChop them roughly. Roughly cutting apples for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamDivide each half of the apple into two piles. Repeat for the other two apples resulting in 6 piles of one half apples each.Piles of apples on a tray for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a half sheet with parchment paper.  Spray the paper.  Set aside.

Place one 8″ pastry in front of you.  Place the butter in the center and cover with about 1 tablespoon of sugar. Butter and sugar on pastry for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamPlace a pile of apples over the sugar.  Pile of apples on pastry for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamTurn the top of the pastry down and Pastry being turned down for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Creambrush the edge with water. Brushing with water for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamPull the pastry up around the apples, pleating as necessary. Brush with water as you pleat so the crust glues together. Leave an opening in the center. Pleating pastry for Apple Crostadas with pastry Cream

Unbaked crostata for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamTray of completed crostatas for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamBrush the pastry with beaten egg. Egg wash for Apple Croustatas with Pastry CreamBrushed with egg wash for Apple Crostatas with Pastry CreamSprinkle with pecans Pecans sprinkled on the Apple Crostatas with Pastry Creamand sanding sugar.Sugar sprinkled on for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Cream

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden to medium brown. Serve warm. If made ahead, warm in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.Baked apple crostata for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Cream

To Serve:  Pipe the Lightened Pastry Cream into the openings of the crostatas just as you serve them. Any unused pastry cream can be refrigerated to use with the remaining crostatas when served.Apple Crostata for Apple Crostatas with Pastry Cream

Several other versions can be found at:


Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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4 thoughts on “Individual Apple Crostatas

  1. Manisha

    Hi Helen

    Crostatas look delicious with the topping of pastry cream. Earlier when I attempted these I was left with soggy crust. I think what you did – putting butter with some sprinkled sugar in the middle of the rolled pastry and then top it with sliced Apple, should take care of it.


    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Manisha – It also depends upon the apples used. Some are very juicy. The big key is to bake the long enough that they are crisp and firm when taken from the oven.

  2. Rockyrd

    What a great way to open the new year. Another fabulous post and photos.
    Thank you.
    I love them! I normally do the crostatas flat, but these are so much more interesting. Almost like there is a whole apple hiding inside. And the addition of the pastry cream filling in the hole on top- perfect in many ways. Yum.

    My “house crostata” has only one difference in the filling that is I add a bit of lemon zest and juice. When people eat them they always ask what the secret flavoring is! Isn’t that odd? And they want to know about the apples.
    I guess most people are used to cinnamon added to apples which can be too much in a lot of cases.
    Your posts are always so interesting. I went back to the peach pizza to see the photos of your crust directions. I never saw that one before. Too bad peaches are not in season now. Have you ever tried those frozen peach slices. I have not, but I may try it with something else.
    I have to get off of this computer or I will fall into the “pastries like a pro” rabbit hole!
    :-))) Xo

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Thank you so much. I love the addition of lemon zest. It always goes so well with apple fillings. As to the frozen peaches, I have used them for some things and frozen fruit works well with a lot of recipes. In this case, I think the peaches may be mushy if thawed and then poached. Having not tried it, I would swear to it though. Happy New Year to you.

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