Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baked Apple Dumplings (or Baked Apples in Pastry)

        So it's Thursday approaching Friday which means only one thing... "What am I going to cook?". I wanted to make a dessert and was flipping through recipe upon recipe thinking of what to make. I was drawn towards apples and was thinking pastry too so thought maybe I could attempt to make apple Tarte Tartin again. I know that in the past Ryan has also wanted to do baked apples but we never got around to making them. Then I had a bit of a revelation and thought hey what about baked apples ON pastry. Sometimes these ideas of mine arn't so original so I decide to google and see if there is anything relating to baked apples ON pastry. Search results suggest bakes apples IN pastry but no results for ON pastry. Some of the search results also included Baked Apple Dumplings which was quite interesting and I came across this blog Cafe Chocolada which featured these cute apples wrapped in pastry. Once I saw how cute these looked I was instantly swayed to trying them out.

        So I pop down to Woolies at Macquarie Centre during lunch to grab some supplies which I didn't already have at home. I decide to stuff my apples with dried cranberries and hazelnuts and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

        I think we have a corer at home but I don't ever remember seeing it being used so decide to buy myself one. I was so excited about my new "toy" =D.

        Ryan helps me toast the hazelnuts to develop their flavour and give them a little crunch.

        Perfectly cored apples, which Ryan helped me with. He was a tad disappointed I changed my mind about the Tarte Tatins when I mentioned them to him during a phone call at lunch (he has a fascination for French food) so asked if he could use one of the apples to experiment.

        So for the filling I mix the dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves together with some softened butter. I wanted to add a touch of brandy to the mix but Ryan said I should cook off the alcohol first which I was too lazy to do and also the mixture looked a bit wet so I omit the brandy.

Apples stuffed with the butter mixture.

        I used 3 sheets of premade puff pastry and joined them together (the Pampas brand is the best). I cut them into 4 smaller squares approximately enough to cover each apple. I did try to cut a circle out of one of them but ended up being short of pastry to cover the apple.

        While I'm making my dumplings Ryan makes his caramelised apples for his Tarte Tatin. Give the boy some alcohol and look what happens. He decides to add some of the brandy which I didn't use into the caramel for his tart. He must have used alot to create this much fire. My camera was on manual focus (which I am not good at) and manage to catch this before the flames die down.

        The Tarte Tatin out of the oven, fingers crossed that when he turns it out it will be okay.

        We're a little disappointed at the site of it. The tart is quite dry, he obviously didn't have enough caramel. It's only his second go making it, it appears easy to do but you can go so wrong with it. He tries eating it anyway, it tasted pretty awesome none the less.

        We'd attempted Tarte Tatins during May 2009 using a cheat's recipe and cooking with pears instead. My pears end up poaching in the butter instead of the whole thing caramelising (you could say it's a pear confit!). I had put in too much butter and no where near enough sugar for the whole thing to caramelise in the oven. Ended up dumping them all in the bin.

        Ryan on the other hand covered some pear halves in pastry and brushed them with butter and sugar and put them pear side down in some ramekins to bake. Somehow he managed to do a much better job at his Tarte Tatins than I did. Crispy pastry, sweet caramelised pear. I was glad that at least we had dessert that night thanks to Ryan. 

        So I finish wrapping my apples, it's a little tricky and you have to trim off the excess pastry around the top. I rolled some of the cut offs into little "stalks" and attach them to my pastry apples and make some leaves as well. I am not usually one that does this kind of finicky stuff when it comes to food but I really enjoyed making these. The dumplings are then brushed with eggwash and I prick some holes into the pastry with a fork so that the steam can escape and pop them into the oven for about 25 minutes.

        While they are baking I was thinking that maybe I had read the recipe wrong and was meant to use short crust pastry instead. I was worried that the puff pastry wouldn't hold it's shape and just expand so much that they wouldn't look like apples anymore. They did expand a little but as the pastry was wrapped around the apple it expanded a little but still maintained the apple shape. There's a bit of caramel seeping out of the pastries.

        One of the apples completely splits, it would have been the one which I cut a circle out of the pastry and because I was short of pastry around the top I stretched it up to cover the apple. It would have weakened the pastry and cause it to break during cooking.

        Isn't it cute?? They are quite large dumplings because I used large apples, I would recommend using baby apples for this. I find that there is too much apple compared to pastry and the filling didn't give as much caramel as I had hoped and didn't really soak into the apple. Perhaps using smaller apples will help and making a seperate caramel sauce wouldn't hurt, I love sauce.

        I could have cooked these for a little longer as the apples are still quite firm, I'd say smaller apples would have been fine for the cooking time, and perhaps more stuffing.

        This ice cream is YUMMO, left over from when we had it for dessert after the lamb chops. I knew that the ice cream flavour was a perfect match for a caramelised apple type of dessert. And it was sooo good with the apple dumpling.

        I had this strawberry wine sitting around from when I bought it intending to use it for my Pink Tiramisu. Didn't use it for the tiramisu so why not drink it ;)


Maria said...

Oh yum! These look really delicious!

Amy @ cookbookmaniac said...

The apple dumpling looks so cute! The butter and cranberry mixture had me salivating. I love dried cranberries and could snack on them everyday. Yum!

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

Very cute apple dumplings. I love how you have put all the flavour in the core. It is like a little parcel of flavour.

Anonymous said...

Nice recipe! very cute indeed!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Maria: Thanks! =)

Hi Amy: Thanks, yeah the cranberries were a nice touch, a change from the usual raisens/sultanas.

Hi Mark: Thanks! I felt that it needed more flavour so will probably make the core bigger next time.

Hi Ellie: Thanks!

Betty said...

very cute, thanks for sharing :O)

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Thanks Betty! =)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing how to make the apple puff pastries! I saw one in a local market delicatessen, and am eating it right now as I read your description of how to make it. Thank you! I'm going to do this someday. They are really cute.