Paula Nemzek, KCTS 9 Cooks
Episode: KCTS 9 Cooks: Kitchen Classics
Anything in puff pastry looks gorgeous. We use a locally-made vegan puff pastry for these easy and delicious mini-pies.
- 4 baking apples, such as Granny Smith (about 7 ounces each), peeled and halved lengthwise, core removed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk or cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed for at least 40 minutes before using
- 6 ounces dates, pitted and chopped
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Once the apples are peeled, make the filling. In a bowl, blend dates, butter, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until smooth. Keep in the refrigerator to firm up as you prepare the pastry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet (about 13 x 18 inches) with parchment paper.
Roll puff pastry sheets out to about 1/8-inch thick. You should end up with a sheet about 13-plus inches square. Cut each sheet into four 6-inch squares of dough; 8 squares total. Set the trimmings aside – you’ll use them to decorate the tops of the dumplings.
With a knife, make a cut from each corner barely halfway to the center of each square. You don't want to cut too near the center, that's where the apple will sit. Have a small bowl of water on hand to help seal the pastry.
Fill the center of each apple half with a mound of filling. Place each apple half, core side down, in the center of each square of dough. (The filling will make the bottom of the dumpling somewhat round before baking – that's OK.) Brush the corners of the dough lightly with water, using your fingers or a pastry brush, then fold half the corners evenly over the apple, like a pinwheel, pressing the pastry to seal. Fold up remaining corners and seal any open spaces on the bottom side of the dumpling.
Place the dumplings on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll the trimmings and cut into leaf or other decorative shapes, then attach to the top of each dumpling with a little water.
In a bowl, beat the cream with the egg yolk. Brush each dumpling with this egg wash.
In another bowl, blend sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top of each dumpling. Bake until pastry is nicely browned and apples feel tender when pierced with a toothpick, 30 to 35 minutes. The filling makes a nice caramel that will ooze out of the apples when baking; spoon over the pastry and serve hot with a good quality vanilla ice cream.
Note: Use the large end of a melon baller to make perfect centers in each apple half.