Chef Matt’s Rustic Apple Crostata Recipe


For filling

  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 pre-made pie shell

For streusel topping

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)


  1. Peel and core apples. Slice thin.
  2. Combine sliced apples with sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, & lemon juice – combine by hand.
  3. Place pre-made pie shell flat on a baking sheet pan.
  4. Arrange apples in the center of the pie crust – leave a 1-2 inch crust on the perimeter of the pie dough.
  5. Fold edges of pie crust towards the center of the crostata – the apples should NOT be covered by the pie dough .
  6. Make streusel topping by dicing butter into 1 inch cubes; place streusel ingredients in food processor and pulse until crumbly.
  7. Place streusel on top of apples.
  8. Place crostata on metal sheet pan – bake in 375-degree oven for 15-20 min – crust will become golden brown
  9. Allow crostata to rest at room temp for 10 min.
  10. Slice & serve warm – add your favorite ice cream & make it ala mode!

Meet Chef Matt! Discover His 20+ Years of Culinary Expertise

Executive Chef of The Village at Penn State, Matt Lambert, has been in the culinary industry for over 20 years. Beginning his experience with The Village in 2019, Chef Matt says he’s greatly enjoyed having the ability to make a resident’s day simply by providing an outstanding dining experience.

Chef Matt’s passion for food and cooking began many years ago and he’s been comfortable in the kitchen since childhood. “My interest in cooking began at home. My mom, and even my father to an extent, were pretty enthusiastic cooks and we had a family dinner every night. By the age of 12, I knew how to cook dinner on my own,” he recalls.

Years later, Matt followed his passion for food and cooking, and began pursuing his degree in culinary school. “I got a degree in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts from Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island,” he says.

From there, Matt worked in a series of independent restaurants and hotels throughout New England, and about 20 years ago made his way to where he lives now in Central Pennsylvania. It was there where he began working at Penn State University’s School of Hospitality Management. With his wide variety of experience, Matt decided to open a large dining hub in the small city of Mifflinburg, PA where he worked for five years. Here, Matt ran into Duane Leitzell, director of dining services at The Village.

Finding His Way to The Village…

Executive Chef Matt Lambert The Village at Penn State retirement community

“Duane and I worked together nearly 20 years ago at Penn State,” he explains. “We bumped into one another and he was looking to replace a chef and I was looking to make a career move, and here I am,” Matt says proudly.

Beginning his role as Executive Chef at The Village in November of 2019, Chef Matt says that what he enjoys most about his profession is getting to know the residents and listening to their feedback. “When I first started here I didn’t realize what a major part of their social life the dining experience is,” he explains.

The Village at Penn State retirement community

It’s amazing how you can make a resident’s day simply by putting out a great meal.

Executive Chef of The Village at Penn State, Matt Lambert

Discover more from this beautiful community when you visit The Village at Penn State’s website by clicking here!

“Typically, I like to get out of the kitchen and into the dining room to talk to our residents. I get to know them and learn their likes and dislikes. I enjoy their comments on our dishes and make them even better for the next time,” he says.

Matt explains that the goal of the dining team at The Village is to exceed residents’ expectations. “It doesn’t matter if we’re serving filet mignon or a hamburger, we do everything we can to put forward the highest quality products.” Matt also says that part of what makes The Village’s dining program so successful is his dedicated team who give residents an optimal dining experience every day.

We feel so lucky to have a chef whose menus and food are outstanding. The chef and director of dining services make eating at The Village a very special experience. The waiters and waitresses brighten our days with their efficiency of service, kind words and big smiles.

Marge and Max S., residents at The Village

A Five-Star Dining Experience

The Village at Penn State retirement community

In The Village’s dining room, residents enjoy a five-star restaurant experience. This includes a warm greeting at the hostess stand with a full-service wait staff who provides an extensive menu with a wide variety of options for soups, salads, entrees, and desserts. Additionally, there is a Daily Special menu which includes specialty items with seasonal ingredients.

“Each night’s menu is different,” Chef Matt affirms. He also adds that The Village’s Bistro is a resident favorite for a more casual dining experience. “We make a lot of lighter fare here with fun appetizers. We also have a wood stone pizza oven so we make lots of wood-oven roasted sandwiches and personal pizzas.”

Matt and The Village’s culinary team go above and beyond to ensure 100% resident satisfaction. Whether residents are enjoying a wood-oven pizza at the Bistro, dining al fresco alongside the beautiful Palmer Park, or delighting in a three course meal in the dining room, they are sure to give their compliments to the chef. And Chef Matt is thrilled to develop new recipes each week that residents are sure to love.

Every day at The Village is a vacation! Discover the joy of a fulfilling retirement when visit their website by clicking here!

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