I am having a love affair with puff pastry.
It all began two weeks ago when I was asked, as the pastry chef for the Valley Forge Catering Company, to create a delcious apple strudel recipe for an upcoming Oktoberfest for a local bank client looking to celebrate over 200 employees. Yep. That's about 25 strudels.
Break out the apple peeler. Granny Smiths. Sugar. Cinnamon and, oh yes, the puff pastry.
Who knew these kinda bland, boring and rock-hard-out-of-the-freezer sheets of pedestrian beige could be thawed and rolled, cut, twisted and shaped into these decandent pillows of warm, crispy, buttery, oozing with filling like your grandma made with apples from the trees in her farm orchard orgasmic yum.
Ok, so exaggerate.
Or do I? You try to bake and resist eating at least ... two :)
It is as simple as thaw the dough in the fridge and make sure you do not bring it out until you are ready to use it. Warm and gooey does not for a good pastry make. Peel some Granny Smith apples (my all time favorite but you can use any tart cooking apple) and slice them up. Melt some butter in pan. Add some sugar and cinnamon and reduce it all down until it is thick. Cool completely. If I am in a hurry (and when am I NOT in a hurry??) I spoon all the warm goodness onto a sheet tray for faster cooling. Oven to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle a bit of flour on the counter and pop on the dough. Eyeball the middle and fill it longways lengthwise. Overlap the edges to cover apple mixture and seal the edges. Carefully flip it over onto a sheet tray covered with parchment paper (your sugar will carmelize and ooze out and be a mess on your pan - easier clean up ). With a sharp knife, cut about four slits in top. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with white sugar.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Pull it out of the oven. Be amazed at what you have accomplished and will most likely now have as your GO TO homemade show stopper. Make them large or small. Or get clever. Like I just did this morning.
If you can find a Progressive Prepworks Dough Maker (great because you get three sizes in one box - I used the blue middle size) you can turn this same puff pastry dough into mini hand pies or as I am calling them Caramel Apple Pie Rogies.
Follow same prep work as above for apple - feel free to sub cherry, blueberry, peach pie filling. Or some chocolate bars. Oh ya ...
Instead of rolling up the dough, you will use the doughmaker to cut the circles, fill, press (you will be giddy when you see what this thing does) poke with a fork, brush with butter, top with sugar and bake as above. NOTE: The more chilled the dough the better it seals. And I added the little leaves on the top using small cutters. If you do not have a dough maker and have no desire to track one down, cut out circles and seal the edges with a fork.
Bake as above. Just keep an eye on them. These are great served warm.
Another note -- DO NOT refrigrate finished products. Makes dough soggy. Keep out on counter. AS IF you will have any left. I suggest for an added bonus that you plate these on a dessert plate with a
small dollop of vanilla bean ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You could also drizzle with caramel ice cream syrup on plate and get real fancy schmansy!