Pick too many apples? Use up your apple haul with puff pastry treats
The internet is buzzing with apple-picking photos this time of year. People, what are you doing with all those apples after the adorable selfies have been taken and you're back at home with 25 pounds of local varieties?
Is anyone ever stumped about this, alone in their kitchen after making a single dreamt-about pie, asking, "What now?"
I get myself into this situation every year. I love apple picking, and I primarily use my haul to make and can loads of homemade apple butter. (Done and done for this year. I have an apple butter column from 2017 you can look up if you're interested in going that route.) But there are only so many pies, crisps and cakes a person can stomach before getting bored, and eating an apple a day is not an efficient way to use up your stock.
Enter a really easy, arguably lazy, way to do just that: puff pastry. You can make your own at home if you're into that, but you can also just buy high-quality frozen dough and cut it into shapes and bake it. This method makes it really easy to be a hero by bringing baked goods to work, band practice, that group you volunteer with, etc. It also helps eliminate the need for you to eat healthy, fresh, undoctored apples. I don't think anyone fantasizes about biting into a fresh apple this time of year; it's all about that pie-ish experience.
These recipes are about as basic as you can get, but I recommend doing an internet/Pinterest search for all the crazy shapes you can make with puff pastry. If you have a talent for small, detail-oriented work, you can create some amazing and delicious shapes. I kept it simple here for ease of use and to keep prep time short.
Chai-spiced apple squares
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sugar and spices together until homogenous. Mix in apple slices until well combined. Let apples macerate in sugar mixture on your counter 15 to 20 minutes.
Unfold puff pastry dough (it should still be cold, but not too stiff) and cut into nine equal squares. Layer apple slices, four per square, diagonal from upper left corner to lower right corner. Move squares to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush edges with egg wash. Cook 20 to 25 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet 5-10 minutes, then gently use spatula to move to a cooling rack.
Apple butter swirls
1/4 cup apple butter
One sheet puff pastry
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Puff pastry should be well-thawed and soft, but colder than room temperature. Lay puff pastry out on baking sheet, then brush inner rectangle (leave inch around the edges) with apple butter until well coated.
Brush one 1/2-inch puff pastry edge with egg wash, then fold over. Without egg wash, continue to roll puff pastry sheet into a tube. Slice tube into 10 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices, then move to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with egg wash, then bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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