Califonia Bountiful

Apple crostata with rum caramel

There's a reason caramel and apples are a classic flavor pairing: They're perfect complements! This dessert is a free-form pie of sorts, which chef Becky Reams says is easier than making a traditional pie in a pan and just as delicious. In addition, the rum caramel adds another layer of complexity to the finished dish.

Chef Becky Reams

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1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. rum
Salt, to taste

1 store-bought shortcrust pastry
1 1/2 lb. Granny Smith or McIntosh apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, beaten


For caramel: Add sugar and 1 tbsp. water to a small saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat until sugar melts and boils rapidly. Continue boiling until sugar begins to caramelize. Gently shimmy the pan during the process to help move the liquid around and brown it evenly. Once mixture reaches a deep amber color, quickly add heavy cream and rum, and remove from heat. Be careful, as it will spit and sputter. When boiling slows down, stir caramel until it's smooth and uniform in texture. Add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool while you make the crostata.

For crostata: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll pastry into a large circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

For filling, add sliced apples to a large bowl and add granulated sugar. Toss to combine, then pour into the center of the pie crust.

Separately combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples. Gently fold crust up over apples, folding on top of itself as you go around it to make a circle. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash all over the pie crust edges. This will give the baked crostata a beautiful golden color.

Bake crostata for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden and apples are tender. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve drizzled with rum caramel and a scoop of ice cream if you wish.

Makes 1 tart (8 servings)

Photo: © 2020 Becky Reams

Kitchen hack: Making caramel with insurance
"Sometimes while making caramel, the mixture may seize up and not caramelize properly because sugar crystals form on the edges of your pan. One way to help prevent this is to add a pinch of cream of tartar or a squeeze of lemon juice to the sugar at the beginning of the process."


Hungry for more recipes and hacks from chef Becky Reams? Here they are! 

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