I had riches in the refrigerator, extra puff pastry left over from dinner on New Year’s day. Too good to go to waste, this all-butter puff was made by Dufour Pastry Kitchens in New York, and my not-so-local fancy food store had stocked it for the holidays. I’ve read rave reviews about Dufour’s puff pastry in the food press for years but have never been able to get my flour-dusted hands on it, until now.
What to do, what to do, with that last, thawed 12×7-inch piece?
When in doubt, read the back of the box. Dufour’s featured an easy recipe for rustic apple tarts. That sounded good to me, so I made it and was rewarded with a fruity, sweet treat with a burnished crust that shattered pleasantly and perfectly when bitten. And it looked good on the plate, a whole lot of return for not a lot of work.
Here’s how to do it.
Thaw frozen puff pastry according to package directions.
Peel and core 2 pounds of crisp, firm apples. (I used 2 large Braeburn and 2 large Golden Delicious here.) Chop into 3/4-inch pieces.
Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the apples, and toss to coat. Sauté until the pan is dry and the apples start to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine, and scrape onto a plate to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Carefully unfold thawed pastry on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the top. Cut into squares with a sharp knife to the dimensions you like. I had only a little pastry, so I cut 2 6×7-inch pieces. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the pastry a little thinner and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick pastry with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Distribute cooked, cooled apples over the pastry, leaving a border about 1/2-inch wide on all sides. (This amount of apples filled my two tarts with a little left over to dress up some oatmeal later this week. To make four tarts this size, make more filling. Or make smaller tarts, if you insist.) Lightly brush the borders with cold water, and fold over the edges of the apples.
Bake the tarts until the pastry is puffed and deep golden brown, about 22 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 15 minutes before serving. I ate a slice; it was dreamy. I cut the other tart into quarters and took it to my apple-loving father. He polished off the whole thing in one sitting and pronounced it delicious with a satisfied smile.
Make the tarts. I’m going back to the fancy food store to buy more Dufour before somebody reads this and beats me to it.