La Croustade aux Pommes
La Croustade. Think crusty, crunchy, and sugary pastry. Aux Pommes. Think juicy, sweet, and acidy apples. This is the one sweet Gascon recipe you need to know when you are at home or traveling. With only 6 ingredients and a hot oven needed, you can turn this bébé out in a few minutes, pop it into the oven for 30 min, and then sit back and rest on your French laurels.
For this version of a flaky and butter rich pastry I turned to my old French books for the basics of a puff pastry. Then I did a little internet search. My friend Lucy Vanel of Plum Lyon popped up all over the place for a simpler version of the classic puff pastry- a recipe for a ‘Fast Feuilletage’ or rough puff pastry. I knew that this was the perfect jumping off point. Read Lucy’s original recipe here. After several test drives, I reduced the butter a bit to make my croustade pastry as simple as I could- equal parts flour and butter, water and a pinch of salt. The filling is half a dozen great apples with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon and a splash of armagnac. Ready. Set. Go!
La Croustade aux Pommes
Rough Puff Pastry
300 gr flour + extra for rolling
1 generous pinch of salt
300 gr unsalted butter (note:European butter is higher in butterfat)
150 ml cold water
100 gr white granulated sugar
6 sweet, juicy, and tart apples. Try old baking varieties: Jonagold, Winesap, Macintosh, Newton Pippin, etc.
50 gr. white granulated sugar
A generous sprinkle of cinnamon
Optional: A generous splash of armagnac (brandy, calvados, rum, etc)Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Using a small knife or your fingers, break the butter into chunks. and add to the flour. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour and salt leaving lots of different sized pieces- from almond size to peas to lentils. This should be a very coarse mixture.
Make a well in the flour and butter and add the cold water. Mix quickly with a large spoon until you can form a ball. The pastry will be very soft. Feel free to add more water as needed.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board or surface and knead just enough to form a smooth ball.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1 cm or 1/2″inch thick. Make sure to use enough extra flour for the board.
Fold the rectangle into thirds; roll out into another rectangle; fold the rectangle into thirds; repeat two more times. This is an easy version of puff pastry.
Cut the last rectangle in half using one half for the top and one half for the bottom. Roll the bottom half out until it is 6 mm or 1/4″- place on a half sheet or cookie pan lined with parchment paper.
Roll out the top and let it rest while you add the filling.
Peel and thinly slice apples (1cm or 1/4″)
Mix sugar, cinnamon, and armagnac together. Let sit while you roll out and shape the dough.
Place the apple filling in a thin layer across on the surface of the bottom pastry then cover with the top pastry.
Fold the bottom edges up over the top edge and crimp. Brush with a whole egg wash. Dust heavily with white sugar. (Note: expect that there will be sugary juicy leaks that run out and around the pan. This is delicious!)
Bake at 200’C or 400’F for 30 minutes or until very golden brown.
As soon as you can handle the pan, slide the whole croustade off of the parchment and onto a wooden cutting board. This helps keep the bottom pastry from getting soggy as the steam escapes into the more porous wood.
Let cool, cut into big squares, and serve with crème fraîche, vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of salted butter caramel.
Give this a try all you recipe testers and let me know how it turns out. You can substitute other seasonal fruit like pears or plums. Take a picture, Instagram it, and tag me @katedecamont.
There is a second croustade in this part of France- a Croustade Gasconne and is made with very fine layers of pulled pastry dough, apples and armagnac. If you want to learn how to make both these special regional desserts, join Molly Wilkinson and me for a 5 day Sweet Pastry Adventure at Camont.