Have you ever bought ready-made puff pastry with no plans or idea whatsoever for using it? My local supermarket doesn’t usually sell the vegan stuff. It’s “all butter” this and “buttery goodness” that. I often entirely bypass the pastry aisle because there’s nothing for me in there.
I was doing my weekly meander through the aisles when I found one lone package of dairy-free ready-rolled sheet puff pastry, the kind that has a million uses for throwing together an aesthetically appealing meal. Spread some pesto on it and top with roasted mediterranean vegetables from the deli. Do something fancy with wild mushrooms. Grate dairy-free parmesan onto strips of the stuff and twist into cheesy straws. The possibilities are endless.
It’s no secret that Leanne is a fan of anything in dumpling form. I’d promised to bake sweet apple dumplings for her but only got as far as cooking up some filling before I fell asleep, so the wee muffin got no dumplings. Poor Leanne. Please spare a thought for the deprived little angel, because the light in her eyes died a little that night.
If this is your first time visiting my little blog, you might ask yourself “who is this Leanne, and should we set up a CrowdFunder for her?”. Fret not, dear reader. She is safe, she has been fed now, and there is no need to worry. Leanne first made an appearance here when she moved in six months ago; I’ve poked, prodded, and generally terrorised the poor thing ever since. There was the time I made her try all the vegan cheeses from Sainsbury’s (spoiler alert: most of them were dreadful), and that day I dragged her outside to take outfit photos for me when she was ill. Oh and let’s not forget that incident a few months ago, when I spread a face mask on her cheeks and it caused her great distress. I am probably moments away from being reported to the SSPL (Scottish Society for the Protection of Leannes).
Anyways, I digress. Quite frankly I couldn’t be arsed to make dumplings, but I’d made apple pie filling the night before that had to be used somehow. Dumplings involve basic manual dexterity and hand eye coordination, and also a certain amount of motivation. I had none of these things at 10pm on a school night. I just wanted some fucking dessert. Enter the easiest baking project you will ever throw together; these pies will remind your darling flatmate that she does actually still love you despite the fact you use her delightfully expressive face for blog fodder.
- 6 apples, peeled and more or less chopped
- about 1 tsp cinnamon
- about 2 tsp sugar
- a splash on lemon juice (or yuzu juice, which I used because I forgot to buy lemons)
- 1 pack of dairy-free ready rolled puff pastry
Cook the apples, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it starts to stick or burn, add a bit of water or apple juice. Watch it. This is not the time to take your dog out for his nightly run. When the apples are well and truly softened and your house smells suspiciously like Christmas, it’s time to turn off the heat.
For this recipe you’ll need a mini muffin tray and a cup or glass. I preheated the oven to 200’C and greased that tray with a little bit of oil. Cut rounds using the cup and gently press into the muffin moulds; I cheated (of course) and shaped them around the stopper for a demijohn, but that’s because I’m the queen of the shortcut. You thumb will be fine.
Spoon the apple mixture into the pasta shells. Maybe press it down slightly if you want. You do you. At this point you might find yourself with a wee mess of leftover pastry, which I really didn’t want to waste, so I rolled it back out and made a few more rounds. Use the scraps to make tiny wee crosses on top of each tart by rolling what’s left out into strips and laying them out on top of the filling in each tart. This saves you having to make a lid, and it’s cute af. If you want to get even more adorable, use tiny cookie cutters and bash out some wee shapes – hearts, starts, kittens, or whatever takes your fancy. This was a midnight baking mission for me so I just went for the hot cross apple tart aesthetic.
Bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden. Offer to your very own Leanne, who will then instantly forgive and forget that the last time she was featured in your blog, you took a hundred extreme close-up photos of her wee face covered in a face mask for “research purposes”.