It’s starting to feel a little crisp in the mornings, which means fall is here! This season makes me think of apples and cinnamon, and I had a hankering for baking something with apples. Not only do I love anything with apple pie filling, baking apples makes the house smell so good! And it totally reminds me of my dad; I remember going grocery shopping with my mom and picking up packages of Entenmann’s fruit danishes and turnovers for my dad to bring to work for his lunches. He ate these things for years… every time I see the triangular puffs I think of my dad =) I never was a huge fan of store-bought apple turnovers b/c the ratio of the filling to puff pastry was always like… 1:4 and there was too much sugar in the filling and on the top. I decided to give these chaussons aux pommes (“apple slippers”) a shot for a quick Sunday morning baking session, making sure the filling to pastry ratio was closer to 1:2 haha
I bought a bushel of Macintosh apples… too bad we didn’t have time to go apple picking! Sorting through the produce selection @ Stop ‘n Shop doesn’t count =( I honestly don’t know what kind of apples are recommended for these fruit pastries and just kind of winged it. I liked the tartness of the Macintosh apples and figured it would balance out the sugar, so why the hell not? After peeling and chopping the apples, I cooked them in butter and added sugar (both brown and white), cinnamon, vanilla, and a splash of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey b/c the bottle has been sitting around for a while and it’s not like I’m going to pound shots of it, so I reasoned that the alcohol would burn off and I could still use the booze AND eat this. This smelled SOOOO good, and it tasted a bit tangy and just sweet enough and I could have easily eaten this plain without the pastry shell =P
While the filling cooled a bit I cut up the rolled out pastry dough I had chilling in the fridge. I love that this stuff can be made well in advance and frozen for later spontaneous baking use. I scooped out the filling onto six pastry rectangles, then cut quick slashes on the other halves of the pastry for the top pieces of the turnovers so the pastry could expand in the oven without breaking or splitting the egg-sealed seams. I whipped a quick egg wash to hold the pocket o’ pommes together, sprinkled some sugar and cinnamon on top, and popped them in the oven.
I bought this Tovolo Easy Prep Quick Hand Mixer and had been meaning to use it. It’s this awesome little mechanical contraption that whips fresh cream or egg whites or aioli by hand; no need to take out the hand mixer and bowls… this thing will whip perfect light, airy fluffy deliciousness in less than a minute. AND it’s dishwasher safe! If you can’t tell, I absolutely love this thing. If I had my own TV show I’d totally endorse it. An entire episode could be about meringue or macarons and I’d do both the mind-blowing yolk separating trick and crank out perfectly whipped egg whites in no time. In this case, I whipped fresh whipped cream. It was perfect: not too much powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla, 30 seconds of hand cranking, and done!
The smell of baked apples and cinnamon was starting to get pretty powerful so I checked the oven. The pastries looked just the right shade of golden brown so I took them out and arranged them on a bamboo cutting board to cool a bit. And then Vin came into the kitchen…
Vin: Wow, those look good! Did you just heat them or did you make them?
Me [slightly furrowing my brows and blinking]: …What?
Vin: Were these ready made and you just put them in the oven or did you–
Me: I MADE them.
Really??? I wanted to say, “Impostor! Vin would never ask me such a rhetorical and silly question! Who are you and what have you done to my husband?” But then Vin says, “Baby, they look PERFECT!” =)
I was really pleased with myself. I plated one of the turnovers and put two canelles of whipped cream on top, then sprinkled a dusting of cinnamon and ground sugar over the dish. The outside puffed to just the right height, and it was flaky, crisp and featherlight, and there was a distinct faint “crunch” noise each time the side of my fork pushed through the delicate layers. The apple filling did not overflow and spill out and burn onto the pastry, indicating that I did a good job of sealing the turnovers, and I personally think the amount of filling was just right. It wasn’t a thin layer, but each forkful came with a bit of baked apple pieces, instead of biting into a mouthful of just pastry (I’m talking to you, Entenmann’s!). The still chilled fresh whipped cream had a hint of sweetness that just melded with the tartness of the apples. I was worried that everything would be a little too sweet since there was sugar in the filling, on top of the pastry, and in the cream, but it was just right. (By the way, how’s THAT for a food review? We just caught up on Top Chef: Masters and the final episode was all about how food writers/critics were trying to one up each other in creatively describing how “sensual” and “unctuous” the dishes were. God. It was like, give me a break… who did you **** to get such an awesome job at such a young age and you’re clearly a pretentious, self-entitled d*ck? Sometimes I wish a lifetime of SPAM on some people. hahaha)
Update: I’m questioning Vin’s sanity again. This is what happened when he ate a turnover later…
Vin: These are really good! Did you buy apples to make this?
Me: … What?
Vin: Did you buy apples and make the filling or is this like… from a can?
Me [incredulously blinking]: Baby! I made it! Everything! That’s why I was looking for the peeler, to peel the apples and then chop them up and I cooked them… hahaha
Vin: Oh! It’s REALLY good! I figured you made it… I don’t know why I even thought you used canned filling… I just didn’t know we had apples.
Me [still blinking and trying to hide a smile]: … You’re silly.
Maybe Vin’s overtired or just not thinking correctly; he’s been holed up @ the computer editing photos for days and went drinking with friends last night. Maybe that attributed to his temporary memory loss and why he just happened to forget what I’ve been doing in my spare time for the past 2.5 years. But I appreciate the compliment on my baking, baby <3