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Better Than Maggiano's Apple Crostada

Maggiano's Restaurant has a warm apple crostada (their spelling, not mine--I prefer crostata) on its menu that it serves with incredibly rich ice cream. The crostada is wonderful, but it's pretty pricey, not to mention incredibly fattening. Nonetheless, a crostada isn't all that difficult to make, especially if you use a prepared pie crust. The version I'm offering today isn't "light," but it's not too horrendously bad for you--as long as you share and don't eat the whole thing. You also can substitute low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt for the super-premium stuff that Maggiano's serves, if you'd rather not do an extra hour on the Stairmaster. The crostada is full of tart, juicy apples, bright cranberries, and sweet spices. Dusted with turbinado (raw) sugar before it's baked, the crust comes out of the oven shimmering a bit and nice and crunchy. Because the crostada is easy and quick to make, you don't need to save it for a weekend project. It's perfect for a weeknight special occasion or treat. So, less expensive, less fattening, and fresher tasting directly from your oven--much better than Maggiano's.

Better Than Maggiano's Apple Crostada

Better Than Maggiano's Apple Crostada -- Serves 4

2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into smallish

pieces (about 1/4-inch pieces)

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of allspice

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons of dried cranberries

1 refrigerated prepared pie crust (1/2 of a 2-crust package, not the type already

in the pie shell) allowed to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or

until softened

2 tablespoons of turbinado (raw) sugar

Vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the apples, sugars, lemon juice, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and dried cranberries. Mix them together well. Microwave the mixture for about three minutes on high and stir it well. Microwave the mixture for another two minutes and stir it again. The mixture should have thickened and the apples should have softened. If not, give the mixture another minute or so in the microwave and stir it again. Set it aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the pie crust on the parchment and spread the apple mixture in the middle of the pie crust to within about an inch of the edge. Fold the edges of the pie crust in toward the center of the crust, partially covering the apple filling and leaving some of the filling showing in the center of the crust. Overlapping the crust in some areas is just fine. With your fingers dipped in a little water, moisten the top edges of the pie crust that show around the filling. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the moistened pie crust. Bake the crostada for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let the crostada cool for at least 5 minutes before serving it warm with low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt. Don't forget to share!

Better Than Maggiano's Apple Crostada

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