Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Chaussons Aux Pommes

My French baking adventure began yesterday, while walking around my local supermarket, I was amazed by the wonderful variety of fruits that they carried. I have been craving a fresh fruit salad, so I decided that I would make a fruit salad… Well that’s what I intentionally was going to make, but I decided against it.

I wanted to bake something… Something easy, something that could be eaten at any time of the day. That’s when it hit me. Chaussons Aux Pommes!

At this point, if you don’t speak French, you may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Chaussons Aux Pommes are the French version of apple turnovers. They are simple to bake, can be eaten for breakfast, with tea, with coffee, and even with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream for dessert.

Although I can be an exceptional baker, I will admit, I have not even had the urge to bother to make my own puff pastry, or at least not yet, anyway. The supermarket kinds are just fine for me. All you have to do is thaw the package for 40 minutes at room temperature, and then you can get to baking… I personally prefer Trader Joe’s Artisan. I myself have not tried baking with the very pricey Dufor puff pastry that some people love to rave about… It’s just too expensive. While some people may want to pay $50 for a sheet of puff pastry, I’d rather buy the ‘cheap’ kind, which works just as well, if not better. Unless Dufor is putting gold in their puff pastry, I think I’ll just stick to Trader Joe’s kind. But whatever you decided to go with, just make sure it has butter in it, and not vegetable shortening. Butter makes puff pastry what it is. It makes it taste good and smell good…

INGREDIENTS:
2 medium-sized Granny Smith Apples
2 medium-sized Golden Delicious Apples
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
1 beaten egg (for glaze)
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Confectioner’s sugar
14oz to 16oz package of frozen puff pastry (1 or 2 sheets, depending on brand), thawed
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup of water
A pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons of sugar

PREPARATION:

For Filling:
Add the water and lemon juice to a medium saucepan. Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1 inch pieces, placing them in the saucepan of water and lemon juice (to prevent the apples from turning brown). Then add the 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the nutmeg, cinnamon, and kosher salt. Stir. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the apples are very tender. Remove from the heat. If there is a significant amount of liquid in the bottom of the saucepan, drain the apples. Roughly mash the apples with a potato masher (or a fork) just until the mixture has the consistency of apple sauce, but is somewhat chunky. Cool filling completely before using.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

For Pastry:
With a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry (on a lightly floured surface) into a 15 inch square. If you have a package of two sheets of puff pastry, stack one sheet on top of the other, and roll out into a 15 inch square (SEE: COOK’S NOTES).

Cut the pastry into 9 squares.

With a pastry brush, lightly brush the sides of each pastry with the beaten egg. Place a generous tablespoon of filling onto the enter of each pastry.

Fold one corner of the a pastry square into its opposite corner, forming a triangle. Press down pastry edges with fingers. Repeat with others. Brush pastries with beaten egg. With a thin, sharp knife, make 3 incisions in each pastry (to allow steam to escape). Place triangles onto parchement-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm (20 minutes).

Bake the turnovers until they begin to color (13 – 15 minutes). Reverse baking sheets from top to bottom. Reduce the heat to 350º. Continue baking the turnovers are firm and golden brown (10 – 15 minutes). Dust each pastry with confectioner’s sugar (optional). Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook’s Notes:
• You can make the filling a couple days ahead of time, just cover and refrigerate it.
• I ended up with extra filling. So, instead of stacking the two sheets of puff pastry, you may want to use each sheet…
• If you have a silpat mat, you can use that instead of parchment paper, if you’d like.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

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