While a good pie crust ought to be a part of every cook’s repertoire, sometimes there just isn’t the time. But why leave the baking to the grocery stores or bakery when puff pastry is a simple, high-quality stand-in for the original? In this Crostada, the sheet dough is baked free-form with ingredients piled on top. Couldn’t be easier!
3 tablespoons butter
2 pounds Granny Smith apples (or other firm, crisp apples), peeled, quartered, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 pound Macintosh apples (or other soft-textured apples that fall apart when cooked), peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
½ cup sugar
½ cup dried cranberries
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold (follow package directions)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup Optional: Ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples, 1/2 cup sugar and cranberries; cover and cook until apples release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until soft apples fall apart and juices thicken to a thin-syrup consistency, about 5 minutes longer. Pour onto a large-lipped cookie sheet or jellyroll pan and cool to room temperature. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 5 days.)
Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Open puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a rectangle, about 10 by 16 inches. Transfer to a large cookie sheet. (I suggest lining the sheet with parchment paper; this ensures the crostada doesn’t stick and allows easy cleanup.)
Spread cooked apples over pastry, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold up pastry borders over apples. Unfold corners and form ruffled creases to keep dough from overlapping. Brush pastry border with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tb. sugar. Bake until pastry is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with optional ice cream or whipped cream.
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