Thursday, January 5, 2012

Apple and Cherry Danish Tarts

Well, is it a danish or is it a tart?  I don't know.  Somewhat of a hybrid, I suppose. Let's have a look at the semantics.


Here is a video tutorial:
         Click for Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
1 -2 large firm, crisp apples (I used the Honeycrisp variety)
2 Tbsp butter
2 -3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
apple pie spice
cinnamon1  can cherry pie filling
1/4 cup softened cream cheese
2 -3 Tbsp confectioners sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 box (1 sheet) of frozen puff pastry
1 egg white
about 1/2 cup large sparkling (coarse) sugar
about 1/4 cup all purpose flour to roll out pastry
2 Tbsp apple jelly

Step-by-Step:
Remove the pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw until the creases are pliable. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. I could not find my Silpat for the life of me today, so I went with the parchment paper.  

Peel and dice the apples and cook down for several minutes in a small saucepan with the butter, brown sugar, apple pie spice, and cinnamon. I only wanted to soften them, not cook them totally down to a mush. Once the juices are coming out of the apples,  add a little corn starch to tighten up the "sauce."  Alright, I cheated on the cherry filling - this came straight out of the can, as my daughter is a big fan.

diced apples and apple pie spice -
1-2 large firm apples, a few dashes of apple pie spice
butter and cinnamon -
2 Tbsp butter
brown sugar -
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
cornstarch -
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Prepare the cream cheese filling:  combine softened cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl.  You only want it slightly sweetened, as the rest of the filling will be pretty sweet.
1/4 cup cream cheese, 2-3 Tbsp confectioners sugar, 1 tsp vanilla
On a well-floured board, roll out the pastry into a rectangle a bit larger than it already is after you unfold it. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, divide the dough into 9 squares (or which ever shape you desire).

One at a time, brush one side of each pastry with the egg white (all the way out to the edges), then dip in a plate of the large sugar pressing gently. Allow any excess sugar to fall back into the plate.  Place the pastry, sugar side up, in the prepared pan. Repeat with the other pieces.

brush with egg white - 
1 egg white should be enough for all of these
press gently into the sugar -
~ 1/2 cup of large "sparkling" coarse sugar
pretty, huh?

Add a dollop of sweetened cream cheese filling to the center of each pastry, then mound up about 1/2 cup of fruit topping to each.  Leave about 1/2 inch of exposed pastry around the sides. For the cherry topping, be careful to not get TOO much of the gooey filling.  Too much of that will run all over the pastry and be somewhat of a mess.  Of course you are probably thinking to yourself - "Hey, why don't I just use apple pie filling too?" You are certainly welcome to do that.  My only criticism of the pie filling, is that there is too much of the gel stuff and it is a little bit TOO wet for the dough to rise and puff as much as I'd like it to.  So if you do that, use mostly fruit, and only a bit of the gel.

apple filling - 
1/2 cup apple filling
cherry filling -
Notice the difference in the amount of liquid from the pie filling and the apple filling that I made?  Notice how the cherry "gel" filling is starting to ooze out too close to the edges.  I'm only saying this so yours will come out better.
Bake for 15minutes at 375 F, then reduce heat to 350 F and continue to bake for another 15 - 20 minutes longer or until the edges are golden. Remove the baking sheet and cool for just a few minutes, then transfer the tarts to to a cooling rack.  If you leave them in the pan too long, they will start to stick. Once cool, transfer them to a tray.

Warm the apple jelly a bit in the microwave until liquid enough to use as a glaze.  Brush the liquified apple jelly over the apple topping.  This is not necessary for the cherry topping.

Apple jelly -
2 Tbsp apple jelly
The apple jelly glaze gives them a beautiful sheen.
And here are our resulting little gems....
The apple -

 The cherry -

 All you need for this is a nice hot cup of tea or coffee to ease the afternoon stress....
I assure you, the edges of the pastry crust on these little guys will not go uneaten... crispy, crunchy, flaky layers that practically melt in your mouth, the little crackle of the sugared edges, the tartness of the fruit, the sweet creaminess of the cream cheese filling... Mmmmm.

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Looking for more delicious recipes?  Please visit my Recipe Index for lots of ideas to cook with and for your family!  Here are a few to get you started:

Written Method for Apple and Cherry Danish Tarts:
Remove the pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw until the creases are pliable. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. 

Peel and dice the apples and cook down for several minutes in a small saucepan with the butter, brown sugar, apple pie spice, and cinnamon. I only wanted to soften them, not cook them totally down to a mush. Once the juices are coming out of the apples,  add a little corn starch to tighten up the "sauce."  Alright, I cheated on the cherry filling - this came straight out of the can, as my daughter is a big fan.


Prepare the cream cheese filling:  combine softened cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl.  You only want it slightly sweetened, as the rest of the filling will be pretty sweet.

On a well-floured board, roll out the pastry into a rectangle a bit larger than it already is after you unfold it. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, divide the dough into 9 squares (or which ever shape you desire).  One at a time, brush one side of each pastry with the egg white (all the way out to the edges), then dip in a plate of the large sugar pressing gently. Allow any excess sugar to fall back into the plate.  Place the pastry, sugar side up, in the prepared pan. Repeat with the other pieces.

Add a dollop of sweetened cream cheese filling to the center of each pastry, then mound up about 1/2 cup of fruit topping to each.  Leave about 1/2 inch of exposed pastry around the sides. For the cherry topping, be careful to not get TOO much of the gooey filling.  Too much of that will run all over the pastry and be somewhat of a mess.  Of course you are probably thinking to yourself - "Hey, why don't I just use apple pie filling too?" You are certainly welcome to do that.  My only criticism of the pie filling, is that there is too much of the gel stuff and it is a little bit TOO wet for the dough to rise and puff as much as I'd like it to.  So if you do that, use mostly fruit, and only a bit of the gel.

Bake for 15 minutes at 375 F, then reduce heat to 350 F and continue to bake for another 15 - 20 minutes longer or until the edges are golden. Remove the baking sheet and cool for just a few minutes, then transfer the tarts to to a cooling rack.  If you leave them in the pan too long, they will start to stick. Once cool, transfer them to a tray.  Warm the apple jelly a bit in the microwave until liquid enough to use as a glaze.  Brush the liquified apple jelly over the apple topping.  This is not necessary for the cherry topping.


Food Nerd Notes:
A tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a shortcrust pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry. The filling may be sweet or savory, though modern tarts are usually fruit-based, sometimes with custard.

A danish pastry is a sweet pastry which has become a specialty of Denmark and the neighboring Scandinavian countries. The danish pastry is made of a yeast dough which has been rolled out thinly, coated with butter, and then folded into numerous layers. This is repeated several times to create a dough which is fluffy, buttery and flaky... essentially a laminated dough with many flaky layers. The danish can be topped with chocolate, sugar or icing, and may be stuffed with either fruit fillings, nuts, or custards. In the US, Danish pastries are typically given a fruit or sweet bakers' cheese filling prior to baking.

The great thing about these, is that you don't have to spend all the time perfectly arranging the fruit as you would in a tarte tatin or making the perfect crust, or braiding the pastry, or any of those other somewhat laborious techniques of other tarts and danishes.  You essentially just cut the puff pastry, pile on the toppings and bake.

1 comment:

  1. These look SO yummy! Perfect for a special breakfast. :)

    ReplyDelete

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