Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Individual Apple Tarts
1 package (large sheet) of Dufour Puff Pastry
2 extra large (or 3 medium) fuji, gala or honeycrisp apples
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of grated orange zest
juice of half an orange
2 tablespoons of apple jelly (apricot would work as well)
1 teaspoon of water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Thaw the frozen puff pastry according to the package directions. You can find Dufour Pastry in the freezer section at your Whole Foods or specialty market. It is heads above your average grocery store brand- largely because it is made with 100% butter- and while its a splurge ($9 per package), it is worth every penny, I assure you. (If you need help with a justification, remind yourself the total cost of the remaining ingredients is barely $3 - and therefore $12 for 8 generously portioned tarts is a steal, especially by Paris standards!
You want to keep the pastry dough chilled as long as possible while you assemble the tarts, so have the apples ready to go before you start rolling. Peel, core and halve the apples before slicing them super thin. Then toss them gently in a bowl with the brown sugar, spices, salt, orange juice and zest. Let them set for a few minutes and the sugar dissolves into a glaze that will coat all of the apples.
Next put the jelly or jam in a small bowl with a teaspoon of water and microwave for 40 seconds or so until melted enough to stir into a glaze. *I was lucky enough to have my mother-in-laws homemade apple jelly which is probably why this batch was particularly blissful.
Now you're ready to assemble the tarts... Roll the pastry dough out slightly on a board. It should increase in size by roughly an inch in both directions. Try to maintain the rectangle shape. Using a pairing knife, portion the dough into 8 smaller rectangles. Divide and place them on two baking sheets sprayed lightly with nonstick spray (and/or lined with parchment paper).
Arrange a line of apple slices in an overlapping fashion down each rectangle so that they are covering all but a tiny edge of the dough. Drizzle with the remaining sugary syrup from the bottom of the apple bowl and bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown along the edges. Switch racks half way through.
With about 5 minutes of cooking time left, take one baking sheet out at a time to brush with the jam glaze and return to the oven.
WARNING: The cinnamon sugar oozes a bit and bakes on to the baking sheet. You want to remove the tarts from the pans with a spatula as soon as you take them out of the oven before the glaze hardens and glues them to the pan. The nonstick spray should help with clean up. Otherwise a soak in some soapy water will eventually break the sugar loose from the pans.
Enjoy at room temperature as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert. They are FANTASTIC for breakfast with a cup of coffee the next day as well. WARNING: Husbands, do not leave your wives home with the leftovers or they will disappear. Sorry, babe. I owe you another batch.