We had just had pecan pie bars for my dad's birthday, a few days before Thanksgiving, so I wanted to make something fruit-based for Thanksgiving dessert. These are an old favorite that I hadn't made in a few years. They're fairly labor intensive, so I tend to save them for special occasions or when I have more time and can spread out the job over several days. But they are so worth it. A sweet pastry crust encases a homemade apple sauce topped with diced apples. These are like little crostatas. A friend I served them to the next day said they are one of the best desserts he had all year.
I made these pretty small for a less guilty pleasure. I ended up with applesauce leftover, but that's not a problem. This is the best applesauce you've ever tasted. We used the leftovers to dollop on top of our steel cut oatmeal. It elevated the humble oatmeal to a new plane.
9 ounces cake flour (approximately 2 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 sticks (1 cup or 228 grams) very cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon vanilla
1-4 tablespoons ice water
Combine the flours, sugar and salt in a food processor. Whiz together.
Add the butter and vanilla. Process in bursts until the butter becomes pea-sized.
Add the ice water in 1 tablespoon increments, processing after each until the dough just comes together.
Remove from the processor, form a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour. (Can be made ahead and stored in the fridge.)
4 Granny Smith apples
2 sticks (1 cup or 228 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a saucepan and add the butter, lemon juice, sugar and water. Stir together. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the apples are soft and can be mashed with a spoon, 20-30 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Cool completely and then refrigerate until ready to assemble bombolonis.
2 Granny Smith apples
1 teaspoon vanilla
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
Prepare the diced apples just before assembly.
Peel, core and very finely dice the apples. Stir together with vanilla, lemon and sugar.
Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into rounds (5-6 inches depending on how big you want them to be).
Put a heaping tablespoon of applesauce into the center of each pastry round.
Top with a spoonful of the finely diced apples.
Pull up the sides of the dough and pleat them together, overlapping them towards the center.
Repeat to make the rest of the pastries.
Store on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before baking. These can be baked off as needed later in the day or the next day. You could probably even freeze them here and defrost and then bake as needed, but I've never tried that.
Sprinkle with a light dusting of sugar before baking for a little sparkle.
Bake at 350° for approximately 30 minutes until golden. Best eaten the same day or they begin to get soggy.
Adapted from Michael Chiarello.
Makes up to a dozen depending on the size of your pastry rounds.