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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Apple Puff Squares And Rustic Apple Pie

Seems that being on holidays will not stop me from being inspired to bake something spontaneously! As my friend (whom i'm staying with for the week) said to me that there was a bag of apples going bad on the counter, my head starting working out some ideas for what I should make with it. First I thought, maybe a classical Apple Pie or apple crisp, but as I was running around for groceries, puff pastry came to my attention.

So here are a few ideas combining apples and puff pastry.
But beforehand, you will need some apple slices, and if you want, a type of apple filling. The simplest thing is probably to buy apple pie filling if you do not have the type to cook to off.
If you want to try your hand at a home made pie filling, here is what I did.

- 8 apples
- Lemon Juice
- 1 cup Icing Sugar
- Around 2-3 Tbsp Cornstarch
- Cinnamon (to desired taste)
- A Splash of dark rum for taste

Step 1:
Slice up your apples in wedges making sure they are not too thin. If they are too thin, they will break up in pieces when you are cooking them. When slicing the apples, you will want to place them in a bowl of lemon water. Enough to mostly cover the apples in the bowl.

Step 2:
When you are done slicing the apples, pour the apples and lemon water into a large deep skillet pan with the rum. Scatter about 1 cup of icing sugar and the cinnamon in the apples and turn the apple mixture around with a spatula to prevent the apples to break up.

Step 3:
When the water in the skillet starts to simmer, add the cornstarch which you will have whisked with a little water beforehand. The apple filling will quickly turn thick once the liquids come back to a simmer and the cornstarch starts reacting.

Step 4:
As soon as the filling is thick, pull from heat and let cool off on the side. Do not over cook the apples, or else you will end up with mush.

First off for the pastries, Apple Puff Squares; a rustic yet elegant pastry which usually gets raved revues with its autumnal tastes. You will need:

- 1 box of puff pastry sheets (usually contains 2 sheets of 10 inch by 10inch or 12inch by 12inch)
You will need both sheets.
- Egg wash (2 egg yolks + 1\2 cup milk)
- 1 Fork for piercing dough

Step 1:
Place a square of puff pastry on a cutting board and cut it in four. Make holes in all 4 squares with a fork.

Step 2:
Take a square, flip is over. Cut out a square a centimeter inside the pastry while not connecting 2 diagonally corners.

Brush some egg wash on the inside square and take the corners of the outside square and place them on the opposite side of the inside square.

Step 3:
Brush the entire pastry with egg wash a second time and place the apple sliced on the inside.
Sprinkle a good amount of granulated sugar on top to create a caramelizing crust effect.
Bake in a 380 degree Celsius preheated oven until the pastry is a nice golden color.

When removing the apple puffs from the oven, brush them with an apricot glaze. Create an apricot glaze by heating up some apricot jelly and a little water in a pot till liquid.

Now, if you would like, you can use the second sheet of puff pastry and make another 4 Apple Puffs, or you can try something else. You will probably have a good amount of apple filling, so I suggest making a Rustic Apple Pie. And there is nothing easier then to make this dessert.

Step 1:
Grease a pie plate to make sure the pie does not stick. You can probably afford to roll out the pastry to a bigger square, adding about an inch all around from its original size. When doing so, make sure to be gentle with the dough to not break the laying in the dough. Also use some flour on the counter to roll it out.

Step 2:
Place the pastry sheet on top of the pie plate, making sure that it is well installed all around the edges to the bottom of the plate. Now all you have to do is dump the filling inside the dough.

Step 3:
Fold the sides on top of the filling. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar to create the same crust effect on the puff pastry.
Bake off at 380 degrees Celsius till the pastry is a dark golden color.
Make sure to let cool so the filling sets before digging into it.

Enjoy these wonderful rustic French pastries!
Do remember to eat well, sleep well and till tomorrow!


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