Originally uploaded by wanderingcoyote.
I made these at work this week and they were a huge hit. The other staff kept coming into the kitchen and looking in on me as I made these up, all saying, "We never get stuff like this here!" Indeed. I have seen what they're used to in terms of baking and I'm not surprised they're easily impressed.
These are super easy to make and make quite an elegant dessert or snack. They can be plated up with a rasperry coulis or just eaten cold. We made something like these in school, which is where I got the idea.
Here's what you need:
- about 2lbs of apples, preferrably Granny Smiths because they're nice and tart and keep their shape during the cooking process
- some lemons (juice and zest)
- cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves - all to taste
- melted butter
- raisins if you like them
- candied citrus peel, if you like it
- left over cake crumbs, cookie crumbs, or even bread crumbs (not entirely necessary but a good idea if your filling is too liquidy)
- a package of phyllo pastry, thawed
- muffin tin
Get yourself a large bowl and fill it with water. Quarter a lemon or two, squeeze out the juice and throw the quarters and juice into the bowl. This will keep the apples from turning brown. Peel & core the apples and place them in a bowl of water as you go. When they're all done, dice them roughly. Place in a saucepan with about a cup of water and bring to a boil. Add your spices, raisins, and peel, if using. Add the juice and zest of another lemon. Simmer until the apples are tender, which should take about 5 - 10 minutes, depending on how big you cut them. Add about 2 tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in an equal amount of cold water. Stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.
You'll need to make your cups about 4 - 6 sheets of phyllo thick. Lightly grease the muffin tins with melted butter. Very carefully separate your sheets out and cover the remaining phyllo with plastic wrap; it dries out quickly and it must be covered when you're not working with it. Now separate the phyllo into 2 - 3 layers each and brush lightly with melted butter; put your layers back together. Depending on how large your muffin cups are, cut the phyllo with a sharp knife into squares as best you can. The corners should come up well over the sides and when you press the middle into the bottom of the tin, and should be tall enough when pulled to gether to form little points. Rectangles are ok, and often inevitable. You can move around your phyllo layers to make the points work, but make sure the sides are high enough to accommodate the filling. You don't want any leaks or you'll never get these out after baking.
Check out your filling. If it's liquidy, you'll want to put in your crumbs to absorb some of the liquid and help prevent the filling from making the phyllo mushy. Or, add an extra layer or two of phyllo. Put a bit of filling in, enough so that you can pull the corners of the phyllo over the top and twist closed. Twist close, and work quickly from now now on so the phyllo doensn't dry out. When you've completed making the cups, brush the tops with some more melted butter. Bake at about 375F until just golden brown on the tops. Lift one out carefully to make sure they're golden on the bottom. Remove immediately from the muffin tins, preferrably with tongs, and cool on a wire rack. This step is essential, or the steam will turn the cups mushy on the bottom.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Creme Anglaise and ice cream would be lovely with this, as would the aforementioned raspberry coulis. Do not store in the fridge; the humidity will make the phyllo go soft.
Notes to the readership.
1. Work very, very carefully with phyllo as it is extremely fragile. Also, as I mentioned, it dries out quickly, so make sure you have your filling and muffin tins all ready to go before you cut your phyllo up.
2. Deeper muffin tins are better than shallower ones, just for the sake of presentation and use of phyllo, but use what you have on hand.
Enjoy - and as always, let me know what you think!