[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

A crostata is an Italian tart which starts with a sweet short crust known as pasta frolla. From there, they vary pretty widely. Single, double, or lattice crust. Filled with jam or fresh fruit. Served as dessert, for a snack, or sliced thin at breakfast.

In the winter, I habitually make costata di marmellata as a way to use up half eaten jars of jam. Or, on the flip side, to showcase jam that's way too good to hide on my personal triangle of breakfast toast. But while crisp, crunchy apples are in all their peak seasonal glory, I make sure to bake at least one crostata di mela, or apple crostata.

The dough is easy to make, and ridiculously so if you have a food processor. It's a little more prone to crumbling than pie dough, but it's also easier to patch. I like to weave the top crust into a lattice to show off the pale yellow slices of fruit.

I find it's best to use a combination of sweet and tart apples—Honey Crisps, Galas, and Granny Smiths are a nice mix— and spice them with just enough cinnamon and nutmeg to add depth without weighing the fruit down. To that end, there is a good amount of lemon in the recipe to keep it feeling relatively light for a giant, double crusted pie. The pasta frolla has lemon zest in it, and the apples are tossed with lemon to add flavor in addition to keeping them from browning. The filling is fresh tasting and very apple-y; you'll know you're getting your serving of fruit (and, er, pastry) for the morning.

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Apple Crostata »

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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