By Dawn M. Richards, D.M.R. Fine Foods
Something about the weather this time of the year stirs up my desire for baking more often. I bought an adorable cake pan a couple of weeks ago and was feeling the urge to put it to use almost instantly. I was seeking inspiration for a cake recipe that would deliciously showcase one of my favorite fruits: apples. But, a curious thing happened, and my cake dreams were temporarily eclipsed by perfect little apple tarts.
Starting with one of my favorite short-cut ingredients, puff pastry, I piled apples coated with the warm flavors of cinnamon and allspice, and brightened with orange zest and juice, on top with child-like anticipation of the goodness that was about to unfold. A few extra touches later, the tarts were in the oven to bake to golden perfection. A dusting of confectioner’s sugar, along with a scoop of ice cream to finish, make these easy, yet elegant, tarts one of the best additions to your baking repertoire.
2 large, firm baking apples (Granny Smith is my preference), peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
Zest of an orange
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Sugar, for sprinkling
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
Flour (for surface)
Confectioner’s sugar (for dusting)
Ice cream, optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Toss apples, cinnamon, allspice, zest, juice and a bit of sugar to fully coat apples and set aside. Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle. Cut in half crosswise and then cut each half to make a total of four squares. Transfer dough to the baking sheet and prick with a fork in several places.
Pile apples in the center of each square and dot fruit with butter. Beat egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and brush pastry with egg wash. Fold up the edges around the apples, leaving the center open. Press along the folded edges to lightly seal. Brush outside of pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with more sugar. Let chill in freezer 10 minutes.
Bake tarts until puff pastry is golden, 15-20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until pastry is deep golden brown and apples are tender, 15-20 minutes. Enjoy! (Note: Tarts can be baked up to six hours ahead. Store uncovered at room temperature.)