Apple-Cranberry Crostada

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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!

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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 2 lb. Granny Smith apples (or other firm, crisp apples), peeled, quartered, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 lb. Macintosh apples (or other soft-textured apples that fall apart when cooked), peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. dried cranberries
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold (follow pkg. directions)
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • Ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream (optional)

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Directions

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples, 1/2 C. 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 Tbs. sugar. Bake until pastry is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with optional ice cream or whipped cream.

Yield: 8 servings

Originally featured by columnist Pam Anderson in USA WEEKEND article

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