Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the smells, the cooler weather and putting the garden to bed. I also love that I can get back into baking without worrying about an overheated house. Although I don’t grow my own apples, I enjoy going to the local orchard and picking them (usually too many!) for applesauce, apple butter, apple pie, turnovers and this simple rustic tart.
I came up with this one evening when we wanted a dessert but I just couldn’t get myself geared up to make a pie. I made it with and without the cream cheese filling and I must say that the filling adds a wonderful compliment to the apples as well as texture. I hope you enjoy it too!
Rustic Apple Tart
Makes 8 single-serving tarts
1 box (2 sheets) Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
5 tart baking apples, I prefer Granny Smith, peeled, cored and sliced fairly thin
2/3 c. granulated sugar, divided
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt, divided
8 oz. cream cheese, brought to room temperature
2 large egg yolks
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. flour (for the counter)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Let the puff pastry set at room temperature while you prepare both fillings.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple slices, 1/3 c. + 2 T. granulated sugar, the cinnamon and 1/8 t. salt, stirring a few times, until cooked slightly, 2-5 minutes. Remove the apples to a bowl and reserve the remaining liquid.
In a medium bowl, with a spoon or fork, stir together the softened cream cheese, egg yolks, remaining granulated sugar, remaining salt and vanilla until blended. It will be just a little lumpy. Don’t whip or it will get too runny.
Dust the counter or board with 1 T. flour. Keeping one sheet of puff pastry covered, roll out the other until you have a 12″ square. Cut it into 4 equal squares (I use a pizza cutter). With each square roll all 4 edges in and press down, giving you a very small border all around to hold in the filling. Transfer to a prepared cookie sheet. Add 1 heaping Tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture to each pastry square, smoothing it out, and then layer apples on each. With a pastry brush, generously brush the reserved liquid on the apples and outer edge of pastry. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry sheet and remaining Tablespoon of flour.
Put cookie sheets in the oven, with the racks centered, and bake for 15-17 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack to cool (the centers will be puffy but will drop when cooled).
Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Can be re-heated in the microwave.