Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving: Caramel Apple Pie Bites


I love apple pie, but I'll admit it, my crusts are nothing to write home about. This year I happened to notice a great deal on puff pastry at Aldi ($2.99 per package), so I jumped on it. Each package will create 18 bites, a good amount to bring to a party.

For the puff pastry shells:
Remove one package puff pastry from the freezer. Allow to defrost at room temperature, about half an hour. Unfold the first pastry sheet. You will have three strips joined together. Cut the strips apart, then cut each into three even pieces. You will have nine squares. Pierce each square about four times in the middle with a fork (so the middle won't puff up as much, and you have a hollow to place your filling).


Then grease a muffin pan very well. (I can't stress this enough.) Press each square lightly into a muffin cup, making sure the sides are even. If you have two muffin pans, you can do both sheets at once.


Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until pastry is golden and puffed. Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly (about 5 minutes) before tipping over the muffin pan and coaxing the cups out. Cool completely on a wire rack.


For the filling:
Start with 4 apples. I used two medium Granny Smiths and two small Galas. You can use all the same type of apple, but differences make for a more interesting pie. Peel and chop the apples into bite-sized pieces, then dump them in a medium pot with 1/4 cup of apple juice, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 tsp of cinnamon. (Add a few grates of nutmeg if you have it.) Stir to coat well and cook on medium until the apples have softened. Remove the apples, but keep all the juices in the pot. Add 2 Tbsp of butter to your pot and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. (A spoon pulled across the bottom of the pot will reveal the pot briefly before the sauce spills back over it.) Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.

Putting it all together:
If you are taking these to a gathering, put each cup into a cupcake paper. If not, set cups onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment or a silicone mat. Spoon filling into each cup, then top generously with caramel sauce. Warm in a 250 degree oven for 5-10 minutes if you can, and top with brown sugar cinnamon ice cream if you have it. 

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