In celebration of autumn’s apple bounty, here are two quick and easy recipes.  The apple tart takes about 15 minutes to prep and then another 20 minutes to bake in the oven.  It is delicious as is, but it becomes sublime when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The caramel apples are fun to make with children.  Get creative with the toppings!  In addition to the toppings recommended in the recipe, consider dipping the apples in mini chocolate morsels, mini marshmallows, chopped candy bars, favorite cereals, etc. Happy Autumn!

Ingredients for Apple Tart

  • 1 box of frozen puff pastry sheets—17.3 ounces*
  • 2 granny smith apples**
  • rind of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • 1 teaspoon amaretto
  • 1 tablespoon water

Before you begin:  Follow the directions on the box for thawing the frozen puff pastry. It will require at least an hour to thaw at room temperature or an overnight thaw in the refrigerator.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

You will find two puff pastry sheets in the box.  Remove one sheet from the wrapping and place the remaining sheet back in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Place the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured board and dust lightly on both sides with flour.  Cut out a 9” round.  You can use the bottom of a 9” cake pan with removable sides or 9” plate as a guide.

Cut the apples in half lengthwise, then peel and core the apples.  Slice them crosswise into very thin slices of about 1/8”.  Sprinkle the apple slices with lemon juice.

Arrange the apple slices on the puff pastry round, overlapping them and leaving a border of about ½” around the edges.

Sprinkle the lemon rind over the apples.  Combine the sugar and pumpkin pie spice and sprinkle evenly over the apples.

Dot the tart with the small pieces of butter or margarine.

Beat the egg with one tablespoon of water and brush only over exposed edges of pastry.

Place in 400  degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Before serving, place apricot preserves, amaretto and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, strain, replace in saucepan and cook until glaze coats the back of a spoon.

To finish the tart, brush the glaze on the apples and the edges of the golden puff pastry.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or serve at room temperature.

This is best when served on the day it is made.

Serves 4 to 6.

Notes

* I use Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets, available at most supermarkets.

** You can use any apple that retains its shape while baking such as Braeburn, Pink Lady, Pippin, Fuji, Jonagold, etc.

Ingredients for Caramel Apples

  • 12 small apples*
  • lollipop sticks (about 5 to 6 inches with pointed ends)
  • Assorted toppings: autumn leaf sprinkles, chopped nuts, toasted flaked coconut, crushed cookies, rice krispies, granola
  • 14 ounce bag of caramels**
  • 2 tablespoons water

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wash and dry the apples.  Remove the stems.

Insert a lollipop stick into the stem end of each apple.

Place the topping of choice in a small glass or container.

Remove the caramels from their wrapping and place in a medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons water.  Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until the caramels are totally melted.

Pour the melted caramel into a small glass or container that will allow you to dip the whole apple in the caramel.

Working quickly, dip the apple into the melted caramel.  Remove the apple from the glass, allowing the excess caramel to drip off. Scrape the bottom of the apple, then roll apple in the topping of choice and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Repeat with the remaining apples.

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Notes

* I use the ½ peck bags of  New York State apples that appear in the supermarkets this time of year.  The Honeycrisp apples are my favorites.

** I use Kraft Caramels