I’m in the process of moving into a new flat. I’ll be living completely by myself for the first time ever, and I’m very excited! The flat is lovely- or it will be soon- but at the moment it’s in the process of being completely gutted and refurbished, which means that I am essentially homeless.
I’ve been staying at my (very accommodating and wonderful (in case he’s reading this!)) boyfriend’s flat for the last few weeks, but I think I’m starting to outstay my welcome.
I’ve had to admit homeless defeat and go back to my parents’ house for the weekend. Not that I’m complaining, going home is pretty luxurious. The food is wonderful, and it’s nice to have home comforts for a few days.
Also, its apple season. We have more apples trees than I care to count, which means we are absolutely inundated with apples every autumn. Allow me to stress: this is not a bad thing! It’s a great thing. Apple crumble is basically a daily occurrence.
These Mini Apple Pies are a twist on an absolute autumn classic. Individual apples cased in a buttery rough puff pastry, with a hole in the middle to fill with custard, cream or ice cream.
Mini Apple Pies
For the rough puff pastry:
250g plain flour
about 150ml cold water
For the apples:
4 apples (serves 4)
4 tablespoons caster sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
For the sugar syrup:
100g caster sugar
Begin with the pastry. Roughly rub the butter into the flour, but loosely- you want to see bits of butter, so it shouldn’t be as fine as shortcrust pastry. Make a well in the centre, and pour about half of the water in, then mix until you have a firm dough. Add more water if you need it, then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, then roll out into a rectangle. You should be able to see streaks of butter. Fold the bottom third up over the middle third, then fold the top third down over that one.
Turn the dough a quarter to the right or left, then roll out and fold as before. Rewrap in clingflim and put it back into the fridge for another 20 mins.
Peel the apples, then cut out the core. Place on a baking tray, then sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the apples have started to soften, but be careful that they don’t go too mushy.
While the apples are in the oven, give the pastry one more roll and fold.
Take the apples out of the oven and allow to cool completely before pastry-ing them.
Make the sugar syrup by gently simmering the water and sugar together, until the sugar has dissolved and it has started to get thick. You don’t want it to get too thick, like a caramel, so keep an eye on it. It will probably take about 5 to 7 minutes.
When the apples are cold, roll out the pastry. Cut thin strips, about the thickness of tagliatelle pasta. Brush each apple with sugar syrup, then, starting at the base of an apple, wrap the pastry around it. Use a dab more sugar syrup to stick the pastry down, then repeat until each apple is completely covered. Make sure the pastry is stuck well, or it will slide down the apple in the oven!
Bake the apples at 200 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
Serve warm, and filled with custard, ice cream, yoghurt and brown sugar or cream. Perfect!