Apple & earl grey caramel crostatas

Apple & earl grey caramel crostatas

The Desserts of New York
Alicia Taylor

Apple pie, the sweet American icon, has a special place in Gotham’s heart. With its cool clime and verdant pastures, New York State is the second-largest apple producer in the country. When apples are in season, farmers’ markets heave with apple crates packed with more than twenty different varieties. It’s a beautiful sight to behold.

Which brings us back to pie, the best home for abundant apples. In New York, you’ll find it in every shape and form, from a classic double crust with cinnamon nutmeg at Bubby’s to a cheekier version drizzled with candy-apple caramel at Butter & Scotch. At David Burke fabrick, the restaurant-take tarte tatin dubbed The Big Apple Tart is even embellished with a skyline-shaped cookie.

My own best apple pie moment was at hot new joint Upland, when a hidden earl grey caramel spilled out of a shortcrust apple crostata – bliss. These individual free-form pies follow in its footsteps, with a beguilingly floral caramel decadently drizzled on top.


Quantity Ingredient
3 pink lady apples, cored, finely sliced
75g caster sugar
2 teaspoons plain flour
20g unsalted butter, melted
double cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Quantity Ingredient
260g plain flour
50g pure icing sugar
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
200g cold unsalted butter, roughly chopped
80g sour cream

Oat crumble

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
pinch of fine salt
2 tablespoons rolled oats
30g unsalted butter, chopped, softened

Earl grey caramel

Quantity Ingredient
1 earl grey tea bag
60ml boiling water
110g caster sugar
125ml pouring cream


  1. To make the sweet shortcrust pastry, place the flour, icing sugar and baking powder in a food processor and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and process until the mixture just comes together in a large ball. Remove and shape into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the oat crumble, combine the flour, sugar, salt and oats in a bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until a dough forms. Set aside until needed.
  3. Place the apple slices, sugar, flour and melted butter in a bowl and toss to combine.
  4. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Divide the chilled pastry into six portions. Roll out one portion on a lightly floured work surface to a 3 mm thick, 17 cm round. Transfer to the prepared tray, then place one-sixth of the apple mixture in the centre of the pastry, leaving a 3 cm border. Fold the pastry border over the apple mixture, roughly pleating the edges as you go, leaving the filling in the centre exposed. Scatter the oat crumble over the apple filling. Repeat with the remaining pastry, apple mixture and crumble, then freeze the pies for 30 minutes or until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  6. Bake the pies for 45 minutes or until the pastry and oat crumble are golden. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the earl grey caramel, steep the tea bag in the boiling water for 4 minutes, then discard the tea bag. Pour the tea into a small saucepan and add the sugar. Bring to the boil over medium–high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then cook, without stirring, for 7 minutes or until the caramel reaches 170°C on a sugar thermometer (the dark tea makes it difficult to gauge by colour). Reduce the heat to low, then gradually add the cream (be careful as it will bubble up and spit) and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool completely.
  8. Top the pies with thick cream or ice cream, then drizzle generously with the earl grey caramel and serve with the remaining caramel on the side.


  • You can also make this as one big free-form crostata (bake for an extra 10–15 minutes) and serve it whole with spoons for everyone to dig in.
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