Baked Apple Roses

Apple roses

Unless you have been under a rock, you must have seen the Apple Roses Video. Its been making rounds on the interwebs. At first I ignored it. Then it popped up in my Facebook Newsfeed again. And again. Till, we had an email from Varun’s school for a bake sale. That day the video which I had ignored for days popped up again. Cut apples, roll them in puff pastry with a bit of jam and bake. The video made it look real easy. I figured I could bake a few dozen of those. I signed up for the bake sale. And even told a couple of mom’s about it. Big mistake. Now I had to make them. And make sure they were edible. And looked good. Good enough for someone to buy them with real $$. So I made the first batch using Manuela’s recipe.They looked ok. Not as good as in the video. But were edible. No one died ūüėČ I decided to make chocolate cupcakes instead. My trusted fallback! Only to find we are out of flour and butter. So I had to make another batch of apple roses. Since we have a ton of apples at home from the trip to the apple farm on Columbus day. Apple roses

This time, I made a few changes:

  1. Didn’t defrost the puff pastry completely. When it was partially thawed, rolled it thinner.
  2. Made 12 sections instead of 6 from one pastry sheet.
  3. Didn’t cut the apples paper-thin but slightly thicker
  4. Cooked the apples for 90 secs instead of 3 mins.
  5. Baked them longer for about 50 mins.

It’s not easy to work with puff pastry but with smaller sections that are not completely thawed,¬†it’s not that hard either.

Voila! Had a better batch of apple roses.

Apple rosesThe real success: People bought them at the bake sale and they were gone in no time. We were sold out! A big deal given that there were dozens of professional cookies/cupcakes/brownies there.

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Give them a try for a fun dessert! Well worth the effort to put it together ūüôā

Mini Plum Tart

Plum tart2

Plums are in season here in India. Smaller than their US counterparts, these are part sweet and part tart. I had pastry dough on hand and after eating many plums as is I wanted to make something else.

A simple fruit tart is what I made. A good pastry dough or puff pastry sheets, fresh fruits and sugar is all that is needed. Its one thing that can be pulled together effortlessly and will impress your guests. For there is nothing like baking a cake or dessert for your family to say that you care!

fresh plums

We had this for breakfast – just because it was ready by then. But it pairs well with ice-cream for a light dessert post a heavy dinner.

The recipe works well with any fruit – pear, apples, nectarine, peaches and even berries. For juicy fruits make sure you macerate them with a little sugar and salt to release the juices. Lift the fruit from the juice and then use those slices on your tart. This will prevent the tart from becoming soggy.

The juice can be reduced and served as syrup or drizzled lightly over the tart before and after cooking so that it still will be juicy but not soupy.

The crusty base with sweet and tart plums as topping pair beautifully in this summer classic dish. I prefer this to be on tart side and hence have used very little sugar. Feel free to play around to suit your taste. I think the plums would play well with balsamic reduction and I am going to give that a try next!

Plum tart

Mini Plum Tart Recipe

  • 1 cup homemade pastry or store-bought puff pastry
  • 8 – 10 fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar ( divided) ( more if your fruit is tart and how sweet you like your dessert)
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 190 C or 350 F

Place the plum slices with a tablespoon of sugar and salt in a bowl to macerate. This will help it release excess juice which otherwise turn the pie into a soggy mess.

2. Roll out the dough into a 8 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Prick all over with a fork to prevent puffing leaving about an inch edge around the perimeter untouched.

3. Blind bake this pastry dough for about 6 – 8 minutes till golden brown. I weighed this down with an oven safe bowl with some beans to keep the center un-puffed.

4. Layer the plum slices over the pastry. Drizzle some of the juice over the tart.

Sprinkle remaining sugar over the plum slices/

5. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes till the tart is deep golden brown at the edges and the fruit looks cooked.

Remove from the oven, and let cool.

Slice and serve warm or cold with fresh cream, ice-cream or simply as is.

The Daring Cooks May Challenge: En Croute Paneer Puffs

Paneer Puffs

You remember the puff pastry dough that I shared last week? I made it for Daring cooks May challenge.¬† Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys , our hostess for May challenge, encouraged us to wrap food in pastry dough and then bake it.

Inspirations were shared of Beef Wellington, stuffed Portobello mushroom wrapped in pastry dough and even sausage pigs in blanket. I stuck to simple favorite of  paneer puffs. Homemade paneer was perfect filling for the crispy crunchy outer covering. They were lightly spiced with onions, chilies and had a pesto base. They would taste wonderful with any other seasoning of choice.

Homemade paneer

I filled the pastry with as much paneer as they could hold which caused some tears as I folded the puff over. But I liked the higher paneer to wrapping ratio!

Puffs to be filled

Be warned the puffs are filling – they are prefect as a weekend snack. Make them smaller for bite sized appetizer. We skipped dinner that evening.

Puffs Filled

This is my approximate recipe as most ingredients were eye-balled and adjusted for taste. A dash of cumin powder, some chili powder, squeeze of lemon. Store bought puff pastry sheets and paneer or even tofu can be easily used in this recipe. Just take care to thaw it per directions on the package before use.

Paneer Puffs Recipe

  • Puff pastry sheets thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups¬†paneer, ¬†thawed and crumbled ( if store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup – red onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, finely diced
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons¬†sun dried tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†cumin ¬†powder
  • Salt – to taste
  • A dash – black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon – lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup store bough pesto

1. Mix all the ingredients from red onions to lemon juice with paneer. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings per taste. Set aside in a bowl.

2.Pre-heat the oven to 425 F

3.Start with one pastry sheet and unfold it ( or roll out your homemade dough about 1/2 cm thick). Cut it into  squares depending on how big you want the snack to be.

4. Spread a bit of pesto on the dough. Fill with paneer mix. Fold over leaving some room for edges.

Seal ¬†the edges with a fork so that the edges stick and don’t unfold during baking.

5. Bake for 12 -15 minutes, till golden  brown.

Serve warm with ketchup or mint chutney.

Puff Pastry From Scratch

Puff Pastry

I made Puff Pastry from scratch! And without a kitchen aid stand mixer it was no fun. A whole lot of kneading. But it was oh so flaky, buttery and crispy that the store-bought one is no match.

I wanted to make some paneer puffs. The puff pastry at Q Рmart looked dubious not to mention expensive so I decided to make on my own. Also, as I replaced half the flour with whole wheat flour I felt it was a wee bit healthier than all out all-purpose flour.

The reason puff pastry puffs is the butter. When cold butter in the puff pastry dough¬†is put in a really hot oven, it steams up which causes the dough layers to separate. So for a good crispy puff don’t skimp on butter and don’t forget to pre-heat the oven really hot.

Give this a try if you are crazy like me. Else, just go out and buy some. Its way easier to buy than to make. But like all things homemade its waaay better than store-bought.

Pssst…Stay tuned for the paneer puffs. Made with homemade paneer they were creamy, spicy and delicious.

Puff Pastry Recipe

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter , cold and diced into small cubes
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water

1. Mix salt and sugar with all-purpose flour. Add 1/4 cup butter and the flour together till it forms a coarse meal.

2. Add remaining butter, lemon juice and whole wheat flour. Mix well. Add 1/4 cup water and knead. The mixture will be dry and shaggy. Add water one tablespoon at a time and knead till it all come together in a dry rough way.

3. Now start kneading with heel of your palm. Knead for 5- 6 minutes at least although 10 minutes would be preferred.Now the dough will be more smooth.  Add more water if necessary to get the dough together.

It should be stiff dough.

4. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 – 60 minutes.

5. Once out of the fridge, now its time to form layers. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Keep one in the fridge as you work on the other.

Roll out the dough in shape of a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Fold it into thirds lengthwise like an envelope. Then roll the envelope along the short side.

6. Turn this roll 90 degrees and then roll out into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Fold and roll like above.

Repeat the same process twice more.

If at any time you feel the dough is being soft ( as the butter is melting), put it in a bowl, wrap it with plastic wrap and put it back in fridge for 10 minutes or so and then continue.

7. Once the final roll is formed, it is ready to be used in your recipe of choice. Or it can be frozen at this point. Wrap in plastic wrap and then freeze.

If frozen, thaw for 24 hours in refrigerator before use.