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La Croustade. Think crusty, crunchy, and sugary pastry. Aux Pommes. Think juicy, sweet, and acidy apples. This is the one sweet French 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.

When I packed my carry on bag for this 3 week trip to Pigstock and Camp Charcuterie, I also packed my favorite recipe   For the 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. Her recipe for a Fast Feuilletage or rough puff pastry was the perfect jumping off point. Read it here. After several test drives, I made 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
    1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
    2. Using a small knife or your fingers, break the butter into chunks. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour leaving lots of different sized pieces. This should be a very coarse mixture.
    3. Make a well in the flour and butter and add the cold water. Mix quickly with a spoon until you can form a ball. the pastry will be very soft. Feel free to add more water as needed.

Apple Filling

  • 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)
    1. Peel and thinly slice apples (1cm or 1/4″)
    2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and armagnac together. Let sit while you roll out and shape the dough.
  1. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board or surface and knead just enough to form a smooth ball.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 laminated puff pastry.
  4. 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.
  5. Roll out the top and let it rest while you add the filling.
  6. Place the apple filling in a thin layer across on the surface of the bottom pastry then cover with the top pastry.
  7. 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!)
  8. Bake at 200’C or 400’F for 30 minutes or until very golden brown.
  9. 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.
  10. Let cool, cut into big squares, and serve with crème fraïche, 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.