Sunday, May 17, 2009

Apple Tartlets

Kiddo had been bugging me for apple pie. I'm not a big apple pie fan - no reason, it's just not on my favorite pies list - and since money's tight I like to make desserts special to offset the parade of casseroles we have for dinner. I decided to make some little apple tartlets.

Most of the tartlet recipes I found involved using puff pastry wrapped around apple slices seasoned like apple pie. I actually wanted little pies, though, so I improvised. There's two ways to go about this: assemble the tarts and bake, like an apple pie, or pre-cook everything and assemble them. I went for Option B because I could break the preparations up around chasing kids and making dinner.

I used store-bought pie crust ('cause I'm lazy). I found that a particular piece of plastic storage ware made a circle just right for tucking into muffin tins. I got ten circles out of the two crusts, and could have gotten 12 had I felt like re-rolling the dough remnants. I hindsight I might roll the crust little thinner than it is right out of the package.

I baked then for the shortest time listed on the package, I think it was 9 minutes. Let them cool and they come out of the muffin tins very easily. I was distressed that some of the shell walls seemed to have collapsed, but in the end that didn't matter one bit.

Since I was assembling my tarts instead of baking them, I looked for a sauteed apples recipe.
Sauteed Apples
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples (peeled, cored, sliced)
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 8 oz Apple Juice
Combine apple juice and 1 Tbsp cinnamon in a deep bowl. Place apple slices in bowl with juice and soak 30 minutes. Melt butter in large skillet, add brown sugar and .5 Tbsp cinnamon and stir til melted. Add apple slices and juice, and heat to a boil (on High). Cover and boil, on High for 10 minutes. Remove cover and reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes. Apples will soften and syrup will form. Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl.
I used Gala apples instead and reduced the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. This resulted in a thinner syrup, but I don't think it hurt anything.

I let it cool so no one would burn their tongue (sugar syrups get very hot), and filled my shells. There was just enough to fill the 10 shells very nicely, so I didn't feel bad about throwing away the dough remnants instead of re-rolling them.

These were done just before dinner, and were still a little warm when I garnished them and served them. You could sprinkle a little cinnamon on the whipped cream if you like.

It occurs to me that you could make little pudding pies like this, or almost any kind of pie that you put into a pre-baked crust. I'm not sure you could bake the pies long enough to set a cooked pie without burning the little crusts, but I'd have to try.

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