It was on our way home from a surf session last week and after wolfing down the food we each brought, that the topic turned to food… as it usually does when one has spent several hours in freezing water and is still very hungry.
Our friends son mentioned that he was headed to his first day of college the very next day. He was excited about some dorm rooms having what is referred to as a “toast bar.” Which is essentially exactly what it sounds like; a toaster, bread, jams, peanut butter, and maybe some cereal. From there we got onto the subject of our favorite breakfast and pastries. I’m more of a scone or croissant person, where they were all mainly doughnut fans. We talked about the croissants and tarts made in Europe and I asked if any of them had tried the now famous cronut.
None of them had even heard of it. I’d never had one and I didn’t know all the facts, but I knew it was a cross between a croissant and a doughnut that was developed by a baker in New York. I knew people waited super early to get their hands on one, because they were supposedly so good.
Our friend probably was reading everyone’s mind when he said, “you know, we should probably stop and get some doughnuts at the store.” We all went inside and headed straight for the bakery isle. I was hoping to find a chocolate chip cookie, while they all perused the wall of doughnuts. Then sitting right in front of us was a single 4-pack of what the store was calling croissant-doughnuts (cronut™ it’s trademarked, as it should be). Of coarse they had to get them.
And now, even after having tried one, I feel I can’t truly give you an accurate account of how I feel about them. First, it wasn’t the real deal. Second, I don’t like doughnuts! I couldn’t even eat the whole thing because it was so sweet. But, I can attest to saying that I did like the layers that peeled apart similar to a croissant and if ever in New York, I’d probably try one again. Have any of you ever eaten one? What did you think?
Once home I was eying all the apples from my parents trees and couldn’t help but make little apple tarts. We’ve already gotten halfway through the batch of blackberry jam I made at the end of August, but I really love apples and blackberries together, so I smeared each tart base with a tablespoon of it. These ended up being a dessert for our weekly dinner with friends, but Scott and I enjoyed a couple for breakfast the next morning too.
Mini Apple & Blackberry Jam Tarts / makes 8-10 small tarts
I’ve kept the skin on the apples because they are sliced so thinly they don’t need to be peeled and it adds a lovely extra bit of color. You can use any of your favorite blackberry jam.
for the dough
2 cups light spelt flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
4-6 tablespoons ice water
for the filling
3-4 apples, cored sliced very thin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8-10 tablespoons blackberry jam
1 tablespoon almond milk (or other type of milk)
pinch of cinnamon
To make the dough combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the cold butter and use your fingers to squish it into the flour. You can also use a pastry blender or 2 knives, I generally have cold hands, which comes in hand when your making pie dough! Once the dough appears slightly crumbly you can add in the water. Start with 2 tablespoons and gently work it into the flour/butter mixture, adding more tablespoons as you go until you can form the pastry into a ball. Divide the dough into 8-10 smaller balls. Flatten, wrap with plastic, place on tray, and put in the fridge or freezer while making the apple filling.
Combine the apple slices, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon and give everything a gentle toss until the apples are thoroughly coated.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Pull out the cold dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a small rough circle about 1/8-inch thick. Spoon on 1 tablespoon of blackberry jam and layer on the apple slices. Fold the edges in. Mix the milk with a pinch of cinnamon and brush on each pastry.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are just golden and the apples look like they’ve cooked through. Cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack and serve warm.