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I just arrived in Orlando after 9 hours in a car (thankfully, I was accompanied by a fun coworker, Kyle). I’m in town to give a presentation at the National Council of Teachers of English convention, but after that road trip, I’m not even sure I can still speak English, much less teach others how to teach it.
I kind of expect the next few days to be a blur. Wayyy too much Coke Zero, wayyy too much work done this week, and wayyy too much bustling around this morning means that I’m currently feeling crumpled and headachy.
Kyle and I spent the last 45 minutes of the trip searching for food in a starvation-induced trance. We’d already ruled out Steak ‘n Shake, but every exit had one (and almost nothing else), as if taunting us. Lots of hotels, lots of outlet malls, lots of big-neon-lit-Orlandoy places — but no normal, honest-to-goodness FOOD. Lulled by hunger delirium and the soporific British accent of Kyle’s GPS, I had almost lost touch with reality when we finally spotted a Chick-fil-a. We definitely needed one of those easy buttons you see on TV. Easy dinner for people with currently confuzzled brains, please!
Well, an easy dinner didn’t happen, but here’s an “easy button” for dessert, at least. These apple puff pastry tarts are truly painless in addition to being warm and comforting. I served these treats at my parents’ anniversary dinner. Before beginning dinner prep, I made sure my puff pastry was thawed, cut into squares, and ready to go. After dinner, the family retired to the living room to relax while I mixed my apples and spices and baked up the tarts. Just before serving, we topped each tart with almond whipped cream, which turned out to be my favorite component.
The entire dessert was fancy-looking enough for company, but easy enough for any busy weeknight (easier, obviously, than my food quest with Kyle).
Okay, enough bleary-eyed blogging. Before I say anything too silly, I’m signing off and heading to bed (in the condo bedroom that’s decorated entirely in Disney characters — no confusion about what city I’m in!)
Make some tarts, y’all!
Easy Apple Puff Pastry Tarts with Almond Whipped Cream
Recipe by: Pioneer Woman
Yields: about 6 individual tarts
homemade or store-bought puff pastry sheets, thawed and cut into rectangles
4 apples, cored and sliced but not peeled
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
optional spices to taste: cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
Almond Whipped Cream Ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
5-6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (to taste)
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat your oven to 415 degrees. Put the puff pastry rectangles on a greased baking pan (with edges, so the juices don’t run down and caramelize on your oven, or on your mom’s freshly cleaned oven . . . not that I’m speaking from experience, or anything. Combine apple slices, sugar, salt, and any spices you’re using in a bowl and allow them to sit for a few minutes. Then arrange the apple slices on the puff pastry in a straight line, overlapping.
Bake 18 – 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffy and golden brown. While pastry is baking, whip together cream, sugar, and almond extract in a medium bowl to soft peaks. Place this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Remove pastries from the oven and immediately serve with a dollop of cold almond whipped cream (allow diners to place this on their own tarts to ensure it doesn’t melt before it gets to them!)