I’m late with my homework today. But for me, a woman in her *ahem* very late 30s who already has 3 children and an already very full life thankyouverymuch — being late with your blog homework is waaaaay better than being late with something else that could be late. So, you know. I’m counting my blessings. And my children. There are so many of them, that I find it helpful to count my children every now and again. 1 – 2 – 3. Whew.
And I totally have a great reason for being late today. And by “great reason” I mean really annoying thing in my life that I could not avoid and its name is My Internet Has Been Broken And It’s Not My Fault. I would have totally borrowed a cup of wireless from one of my neighbors, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that work. Oh, and in the name of Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, one of my neighbors has a wireless network with the moniker “Nastytown.” So far, no one will own up to it. You know who you are, Nastytown. For now, sadly, I don’t.
So I’m writing to you low tech, but don’t worry it’ll totally translate.
I was all set to finish Apple Week here on the most inexpensive blog on the block with a really nice recipe for Apple Tartlets. They’re super elegant and impressive. Are you impressed?
They’re really flaky and light in the crust department, smooth and creamy in the filling area, and rather toothsome in the apple area. A symphony. Masterful. And if that crust were just your run-of-the-mill flaky gluten-free pie crust, we’d totally shake hands and part ways as friends. Good friends. Bosom buddies, even.
So that was the plan. ‘Cause you can’t hardly or necessarily tell from the pictures that this crust is, indeed, gluten-free puff pastry — and the cheater kind, too, that is less precious and takes less time (although, still, it takes time let’s be honest, Friend).
But then I went and did it. I also made this, with the same component parts.
Same deal, different shape. A shape that shows off the layers. And I posted it on Facebook. Next thing I know, you promise to love me forever. And then I wanted to know — would you need me would you never leave me would you make me so happy for the rest of my life would you take me away would you make me your wife I gotta know right now. That’s right. I turned into Meatloaf. And it was kind of embarrassing for everyone involved, if you wanna know the truth.
So here we are. Thinking a gluten-free cream filled apple tartlet with a regular more-than-flaky-enough pastry crust just wasn’t good enough. You needed this:
But I’m feeling a little squeezy about the whole thing. I think we need some build-up to puff pastry. I feel like perhaps we need tons of pictures that I just don’t have right now. Or maybe we need just a few pictures, but exactly the right ones. There are many other bloggers, way more fabulous than I, who have made beautiful puff pastry in an artful bloggy way. And frankly I have found it confusing and crazy-making enough to have me nibbling my nails down to nubbins. The turns! They can sound so big and scary. All the folding. And the rolling. Not to mention all the chilling. And all of the warnings. By well-meaning, intelligent people. But I’m well-meaning, if not mildly intelligent. And unless we talk about it a bit first, I’m afraid that you’re going to flop. You might panic! And then it won’t work. Promise. Why? Because, although making gluten-free puff pastry is not as scary or nearly as precious as all of that, it can smell fear like a bobcat. And it’ll POUNCE.
So in the name of more Julia Child confidence and less National Geographic hungry bobcat, no gluten-free puff pastry today. We will most definitely come back to it. I will attempt to succeed where others have faltered. We will talk about the similarities and differences between garden-variety pastry crust and puff pastry – gluten-free or not. We will chat about the folds, and why they serve us so well. And we will talk about places to stop, and count your chickens if you wish, and places to keep going for the intrepid. And, as always, I will be here for all of it. We’ll hold hands. And we’ll be a bit foolish. Then, we’ll eat. For whatever we make, no matter how it looks, it will taste glorious. And good enough will be, indeed, good enough.
For today, I give you creamy and smooth custard filling, toothsome apples, and still flaky gluten-free pastry crust. For this, the end of Apple Week on Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. With love.
Please tell me you understand about the puff pastry. Tell me we’re still best friends forever. I want you to be successful. It’s a little paternalistic, I know. But bear with me. Pretty please?
If you would be so kind as to use the pastry crust from the Peach Crostata recipe we made this Summer, I would be grateful.
Isn’t it pretty?
|Apple Tartlets with Custard Filling|
- 1 recipe gluten-free pastry crust from Peach Crostata recipe (link above in text), kept cold
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (sorry about the extra 2 ounces remaining – have some toast with a schmear)
- 2 extra-large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon Bird’s custard powder (substitute same amount corn starch)
- 2 large crispy apples (like Empire), peeled cored, and sliced in 1/4 inch cross-section slices
- Honey or agave nectar for drizzling
- Grease a 12-cup tartlet pan or standard muffin tin with unsalted butter, and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roll out the pastry crust between sheets of parchment paper until it is a bit more than 1/8-inch thick (the thickness of a nickel). Too thin and it will burn. Chill the rolled out dough until firm again. Cut out 12 rounds that are 1/2-inch wider in diameter than the width of the opening of your muffin or tartlet cups. Re-roll scraps as necessary, chilling in between rollings. Gently press each of the rounds into the bottom and sides of the prepared muffin cups (trimming any excess crust that extends over the top of the cups), and pierce the bottoms with the tines of a fork (see photo above). Place the tin in the refrigerator to chill as you prepare the filling.
- To prepare the filling, in a medium-sized bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), blend the cream cheese, egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and custard powder (or corn starch) until smooth and pourable.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, toss the apple slices in 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until the apples are well-coated.
- Remove the pie shells from the refrigerator. Pour the custard filling into the muffin cups until they are about 3/4 of the way full. Arrange the apple slices in a pretty way on the tops of the custard, dividing the slices evenly among the cups. Drizzle the tops of the apple slices with the honey or agave nectar and spread evenly over the apples with your fingers (this will help the apples brown).
- Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the custard is set, the apples give to the tines of a fork and are lightly brown, and the crust is lightly browned.
- Serve warm.
When making the pastry crust, the flour you use will really, really matter. Better Batter really does work best. A bean flour blend will not cut it. Pamela’s baking mixes are not intended to be all-purpose gluten-free flours. They are multi-ingredient baking mixes.
If you would like to ensure perfectly cooked apples, you can try simmering them over medium heat for a few minutes after you toss the slices with the cinnamon, sugar and salt and before you place them on top of the custard. Confession: that’s what I did, so I’d have a really pretty result. So you would like me. *needy*
Me (it’s Nicole. remember me?)