Ooooh boy... have I got a recipe for you.
Dane and I hosted a housewarming / Christmas party this weekend, and these little tarts were my shining dessert. All of our closest friends came to celebrate with us... they came, they ate, they drank, and they did a marvelous job of making our house warm! We're hoping this is just the first of many rockin' parties to come.
As our guests quickly discovered, these tarts are addictive. They vanished in about 5 minutes once everyone arrived, although I'm amazed any of them lasted until the party after Dane got home from work at 4:30 and tried one... I had to practically hide them to keep him from eating them all!
And don't let the color throw you off. At first, everyone kept asking, "What are the little tomato things?" and I kept having to explain that "No, those aren't tomatoes... they're actually apples!" You can blame the cranberries for the festive red color. And you can blame the butter and cinnamon for the epic-level flavor.
Seriously, if you like apple pie, you're going to love these. The bubbly, melted butter joins forces with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to form a sort of spicy caramel sauce that coats the sweet, tender apples... and piling the filling on top of light, flaky, buttery puff pastry sends the flavors out of this world. (And I have it on good authority that leftover filling goes exceptionally well with french toast the next morning.) Pop one of these guys in your mouth and you'll understand the meaning of irresistible... betcha can't eat just one!
a Learning Curve original!
yields about 36 tarts
2 sheets prepared puff pastry, thawed
3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped small
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Pastry
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease the cups of a standard 12-muffin tin (or 2 or 3 muffin tins, if you have them).
2. Working with one sheet at a time, unfold the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll the pastry into a 14-inch square. Cut each sheet of pastry into 18, 2 1/4-inch squares (total of 36 squares). Press one pastry square into each of the prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.
For the Filling
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted and bubbling. Add the apples and cranberries and stir to coat evenly. Add both of the sugars and the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit is tender, about 8 minutes (be careful not to let it scorch!). Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
1. Using a tea spoon, gently depress the middle of each pastry cup to create a well. Carefully spoon about a teaspoon of filling into each cup. Serve and enjoy!