real life test kitchen: 20 minute apple tart (and pastries, too!)

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What to do when you find yourself with a 40 lb bag of free, less-than pretty-but-so-delicious apples? Apple party!!! Okay, maybe there were just two attendees, but a few nights ago, my friend Kletia and I made a pretty good dent in my apple bounty armed with little more than a few sheets of frozen puff pastry dough. Seriously — we ended up with not only a simple apple tart, but also some crazy-delicious apple cinnamon cream cheese rolls AND apple cheese danish (not pictured) in no time flat. Fun to both make and eat, these are perfect for last minute entertaining or playing in the kitchen with your kids. I hope these easy apple desserts — or breakfasts, for that matter — may just become go-to classics in your home too! –Megan B. Click for an Apple Pastry Bonanza!

Apple Pastry Bonanza (one apple tart, six apple cinnamon rolls, and four apple cheese danish)

1 1lb package (two sheets) of puff pastry dough, thawed, and at room temperature ( I like Trader Joe’s)
2 lbs apples (preferably a firm apple like Fuji, braeburn, or pink lady), peeled, cored, and quartered
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened
ground cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon

For the danish and rolls:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
whisk together to combine, preferably with a hand mixer to remove lumps, Set aside.

Tart instructions:
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Cut one of the sheets of pastry in half, and set the other half aside. Brush with softened butter and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of the sugar. Slice your apples into 1/8 inch slices and lay evenly on the dough. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 of the lemon’s juice, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and 2 tbs of the sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the apples are firm yet tender, and the pastry is puffed and brown. Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream.

For the cream cheese rolls & danish:
Chop the remaining apples into 1/4 inch chunks and toss with remaining lemon juice. Set aside. For the danish, roll or stretch out the dough thinner, so that it approximately grows a third in size. Cut into four pieces. Spoon a generous 1.5 tablespoons of prepared cream cheese onto the center of the squares, and top with an equal amount of apples. Fold up and gather the corners in the center of the filling, creating an enclosure for the filling. Bake as above, or until pastries are golden and puffy.

For the apple cinnamon rolls, take the remaining full sheet of pastry and spread it lightly with softened butter and then with cream cheese mixture, making sure the entire surface is evenly covered. Sprinkle generously with ground cinnamon. Spread chopped apples over 3/4 of the dough, leaving a strip at the end which will be the “seal”. Roll up the dough and filling starting with the apple side, tucking carefully, and making sure no filling spills out. Place it on a cutting board seam side down and cut into six even sized rolls. Bake as directed above.

photos courtesy of Kletia Garies.

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Daffodil

Mmmmm, these recipes sound so good! And easy, too. A perfect combo. Thanks for sharing!

I can’t believe I have everything but the pastry. I’m going to go get some and make these tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration. I’m not a great cook but I can bake like a fiend :)