For far longer than is acceptable, I had been neglecting a package of puff pastry, a bowl of sweet, red apples, and a precious jar of matcha powder. My birthday was also approaching, and someone was gonna have to make a cake. That someone, is yours truly. So many projects, and only one of me. Oh, the travesty. I took inventory, picked up the missing ingredients at the market, and happily resigned my day to the kitchen. Aside from the obvious perks a baking storm leaves behind, I had yet something else to look forward to. And that’s cleaning the aftermath of the dance between flour, countless measuring spoons and spilled batter. In the end, I had a face full of dessert, a kitchen towel in one hand, and a bottle of homemade cleaner in the other. Pure joy.
Apple pie tarts were first on the agenda, and agreeably, the first to enter my belly. Green tea ice cream and a fluffy, two-tiered vanilla birthday cake were also made that day, but I’ll get to them later. Right now, let’s just agree that one of these flaky, buttery, reminiscent-of-apple-pie tarts covers your daily fruit intake recommendation.
Materials (makes 4 tarts)
1 package commercial puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
2 large sweet, red apples, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 Tbsp. cream cheese, optional
1 egg, beaten
1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Melt butter in a medium skillet, add apples, sugar and spices, and stir well. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until apples have softened.
3. In the meantime, prepare your dough. On a lightly floured surface, lay a sheet of dough, and cut it into four pieces.
4. Poke two of the squares with a fork (these will be the bottoms), and cut 3-5 slits in the other two (these will be the tops).
5. Repeat with the other sheet.
6. When the apples are ready, begin assembly. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat (or parchment paper), and place two bottom pieces on the mat.
7. Gently spread a tablespoon of cream cheese over each; then spoon a quarter of the cooked apples over the cream cheese.
8. Cover with a top piece of dough, press edges down with a fork, and brush liberally with egg wash to seal.
9. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
10. Garnish with powdered sugar, and devour shortly thereafter.
The tarts are amazing alone, but, just like their pie counterpart, pair well with vanilla ice cream. Hold. Me. Back! And to think this all started with an apple, which, itself, could be dessert. It very well could, but not today, my friends. Not today.