Apple Puff Pastry—Tarts, Turnovers, or Hand Pies?

Whatever you call it, the muffin tin makes it easy to construct, and provides a neat and kind of glamorous result. I have been thinking about hand pies lately, trying to come up with a simple method of making the packet without cracks and burnt edges and leaky fillings. If I’m going to make pie crust, though, I’d just as soon make a regular pie. So I turned to puff pastry for something just a little different, yet not your typical turnover.

I made the apple pie filling yesterday, so all I have to do is the construction and baking today, while dinner cooks in the slow cooker. While my apple pies are almost always made with raw apples, I didn’t think these would bake long enough today to cook the apples, so a precooked filling seemed like a better idea. I used this one from the New York Times, because it doesn’t add any liquids, other than a splash of apple cider vinegar, and comes out very thick, so it will be less likely to bubble over or make the pastry soggy. The apples in this filling—I used Granny Smiths, my favorite for pies—are not overcooked and mushy, so they will withstand more cooking inside the pastry. I diced rather than sliced them to fit in the round cups better.

I needed six 6″ squares of puff pastry for my jumbo muffin cups, so I had to roll out the two pastry sheets in the package to 12″ x 12″; that left me with two extra squares, which I cut up and made into Parmesan twists. Each lined muffin cup held about 3/4-1 cup of filling.

Apple Puffs

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients
  • 1 recipe cooked pie filling (about 6-8 cups); good one from NY Times
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2.5 pounds apples, peeled and diced (I used 5 large Granny Smiths)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, each rolled into 12″ x 12″
  • egg wash—1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water
  • decorating sugar
Preparation
  1. Cook pie filling ahead of time so it can cool. I made it the day before, then brought it back to room temperature before filling the pastry-lined cups.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°; butter 6 jumbo muffin cups.
  3. Let pastry sheets thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, so it’s workable, but still cold. Roll each sheet into 12″ x 12″ square. cut each into 4 squares of 6″ x 6″—puff pastry will puff up in the oven, so perfection of the shape is not necessary.
  4. Line each muffin cup with one square, letting the corners hang over the sides.
  5. Fill each cup with cooled filling to the top of each cup.
  6. Fold over the pastry corners to the center of each cup. If your pastry has gotten too warm, put the filled cups in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before finishing, so the pastry is chilled when it goes into the oven.
  7. Brush the tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with decorating sugar.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Mine were done at about 22 minutes.

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Author: Barbara

I have a PhD in American Literature and taught in higher education for over twenty years and directed two Centers for Instructional Technology before retiring.

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