So this recipe was altered due to cost and availability. The recipe for the challenge is Mini Pear Pies–a perfectly poached pear wrapped in rough puff pastry and then baked. Well, pears aren’t in season yet and nowhere to be found, so I thought I’d adjust this to a poached apple and caramel. The two skills to learn here are poaching and puff pastry, then wrapping the fruit and baking. So I guess that’s 3. Or maybe 4. But they’re only given 2 hours to make it. Not sure how they manage that. It ended up taking me several hours, but I think that was because I kept having to stop and pick up kids or return emails.
I got the rough puff pastry started, and it was *amazingly* easy! I used a recipe from Gordon Ramsay on BBC’s GoodFood web site. I used:
- 250 g all-purpose flour (original recipe called for strong flour, but I can’t imagine why you would use strong flour for this)
- 1 tsp salt
- 250 g butter, room temperature (just over 1 cup)
- about 100 ml cold water (recipe calls for 150, but you don’t need anywhere near that much)
Cut butter into lumps with a spatula, mix with flour and salt. Add the water, a bit at a time until it’s doughy. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge to chill 20 minutes.
Dump on a floured surface and gently roll out into a rectangle, about 20 cm x 50 cm, then fold into thirds–top third covering the middle, bottom third over the top and middle.
Quarter turn, roll out to 20 cm x 50 cm again, and fold again. Wrap in cling film and chill 20 min again. Repeat 2 or 3 times to get lots of lovely fluffy layers.
So instead of the pear pies, what I wanted to make with this rough puff is this Inside Out Caramel Apples recipe, which looks almost exactly like the pear pies, but with apples. I peeled and (roughly, and with a lot of swearing at great risk to my phalanges) cored the apples using a knife. I have a corer/peeler/slicer, but it doesn’t just core and peel. If you use the corer, you also have to slice, which is great if you’re making apple pies, but not whole peeled and cored apples. I need to get one of those punch corers (I thought I had one, but NOPE!).
Took a large pot and filled it about halfway with water and put 6 peeled apples in it. I let them simmer for about 25 minutes, then pulled them out to drain and cool. Sorry, no pictures of the steaming fruit. 🙁
A couple hours later (after running out to get the kids), I rolled out the pastry, and cut out 6 squares measuring about 3″ square. The rest of the pastry I sliced into long thin strips–about 1 cm wide–and used 3 or 4 of them to wrap around each apple, trying to tuck them into the bases.
I then spooned a couple of teaspoons of caramel sauce into the middle of the apple. Baked at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes and voila!
The skinny boy thought they were OK. He did like the puff pastry part, but the apple was too…appley. I dunno. He did eat about half of it, so that’s pretty good.
I thought they were pretty amazing.