Any time there’s a bake sale I will ask my boys to pick what I make. This time the boys picked my Apple Tartlettes.
I love making these. Though they’re labour-intensive and just a little bit fussy, these are so delicious and full of fresh-baked goodness that I can’t refuse. They’re also a twist on the apple dumplings my grandmother used to make me when I was really little, so I relish the opportunity to enjoy making them for my boys – I just relish the opportunity very sparingly!
This recipe can actually be used three ways:
The tartlette option is great for single servings without needing a plate. Just like any tart or muffin, it fits into the finger food category.
The pie option is perfect for a party or a dinner – or even a pie-eating contest, but not for a bake sale. I don’t believe any bake sale item should require a plate or cutlery.
The dumpling option is perfect for a small number of servings because you really don’t want to be making the amount of pastry dough it takes to make a large number of dumplings!
What you need:
– 12 apples, peeled and cored (macs, empire, gala will all do)
– 4 to 5 cups of flour
– ice water
– 1 to 2 cups white sugar
– 1.5 tablespoons cinammon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
What you do:
Prepare the pastry dough. In a cold bowl add 2 1/5 cups of flour, half a teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of butter. Take 2 knives and cut the butter into the flour. Imagine you’re using the knives like scissors and pulling them across so that they cut up the butter with every stroke.
It’s a technique that will leave you with flaky pastry, but if you’re not up for it, throw the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and let fly. You want to end up with a flour mixture that looks kind of like the texture of rough corn meal.
Now, tablespoon by tablespoon, add the ice water to the flour mixture, gathering and gently needing the water in. It won’t take more than a third of a cup or so of water, but try to use the least amount possible. When the pastry dough forms a dry ball but sticks together you know you’re there.
Wrap that ball of dough in plastic wrap and shove it in the fridge. It’s good to chill for at least an hour, but also fine to let chill overnight if you want to break this into two days.
While the dough’s chilling, get those apples peeled, cored and sliced. Slices should be about a centimetre wide – some more, some less. Add to the apples a teaspoon of salt and between 1 to 2 cups of white sugar. Depends on your sweet tooth. I like landing somewhere in the middle. Add the cinnamon, add 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of flour (you gauge this by how wet the apples are, you don’t want the mixture to be too juicy, the flour will help that juice to set and gel).
Toss it all together with your hands, working the sugar/flour/cinnamon/salt concoction into the apples. Drizzle the vanilla over the mixture and toss a bit more.
Preheat the oven to 350° and grab your muffin tin or pie dish.
Now you’re ready to roll. Get the rolling pin, the pastry dough and a large cutting board or surface to roll on.
For tartlettes: take a third of the dough and roll out very, very thin. Each third of the dough should roll into about 10 tartlettes. cut the dough into 4 by 4 inch squares. Work them into the muffin tin, pinching the dough together as it folds back over itself. When it finishes baking, the crisped, folded edges look all fancy and artisany. Ensure the bottom is pressed down so that it provides ample space for apple filling! Fill each tartlette right to the top with apple filling, packing the apple mixture down. Apples will shrink back so you want them really full.
For pie: take half the dough and roll out to the diameter that will cover your pie tin. Dump apple filling in and spread smooth. Roll other half of dough into a circle, cover pie. Crimp edges. poke a couple of holes in the crust to let steam escape.
For dumplings: take a handful-sized ball of dough and roll into a thick, rough circle about 5 or so inches in diameter. It doesn’t need to be perfectly round. Drop a good wad of apple in the middle of the circle. Pull up edges and crimp them together, then cup the dumpling in your hands and squish it all together, gently rounding like you would a meatball, so that the dough ball full of apple filling won’t leak and feels solid. Pop dumplings into muffin tin. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.
Regardless of the option you choose, put it Into the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown and the house smells like sweet apple happiness.
WARNING!! Do NOT eat straight out of the oven. The apples and the the sugar/flour/juice mixture that gels is steaming hot and will scald the inside of your mouth. Let cool for a good 15 minutes, and when Urban Suburban Daddy can take it no more, let him and the boys have one!