Oh, sweet heavens. This is truly divine. Delicious apples, filled with sweet, crumbly sin, wrapped in flaky puff pastry, glittered with raw sugar and baked until the house smells like home, then drizzled with luscious caramel. Sounds divine, don’t you think?
This is what I made as my Christmas Eve dessert.
This last Christmas was supposed to be the first one that I ever hosted and prepared, but I ended up having to work on Christmas Eve, which meant zero time to cook anything for dinner. Thankfully, my mom did most of the cooking (I made my delish green bean bundles), but dessert is always mine.
A couple of days before Christmas, I had some thoughts kicking around in my head – apples, caramel, puff pastry…but not really sure where to go with it. Little by little, the thought of stuffing the apples (with something still undetermined) and wrapping them in puff pastry started solidifying, and my Apple Crowns were born. I call them Apple Crowns because they kind of remind me of this type of crown that’s kind of like a red velvet cap with a gold crown around it.
I didn’t (and still don’t) have a recipe for them. I’d seen apple dumplings, and I’d seen baked stuffed apples, so I kind of put them together. It’s so easy to make that you don’t really need one. I kind of threw it together. I don’t even have measurements. Here’s what I did:
- Preheat your oven to 375.
- Mix together some oatmeal (maybe about a cup?), some brown sugar (also about a cup?), a couple of spoonfuls of cinnamon to taste, a couple of tablespoons of melted butter and a handful or two of toffee bits. There’s no science to it, so just do whatever looks good. For reference, I had about a medium bowl’s worth and could have had some left, but I made sure none of it was wasted.
- Peel 8 apples about 1/3 of the way down and core them.
- Roll out two sheets of puff pastry to get them a little bigger and thinner. Cut each sheet into four squares.
- Sprinkle some of the oatmeal/brown sugar mix on the puff pastry. Put an apple in the middle of each square and very generously fill it with the sugary goodness. Don’t skimp on this. Have it overflow and pack the top so there’s a layer of the filling sitting on top of the apple. If you’re not going to be generous, just don’t even bother making it.
- Take the corners of each puff pastry square and pinch them together on top of the apples. The ‘new’ corners will make cute little pockets and let you sneak a peek at the apple and all its goodness. It’s kind of like a cootie-catcher from elementary school.
- Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar in the raw (I like the big crystals, but I’m sure regular sugar would work or you can omit the sugar completely).
- Put the apples on a baking dish lined with parchment (or greased). Use a pan that has a little bit of a lip to it, because the apples and the filling get a little gooey. Bake until your house smells like heaven and the apples are soft.
- While they are baking, put some caramels in a microwave-safe bowl with a little bit of milk (I’d say if you do half a cup of caramel chips, you’d use two or three tablespoons of milk). Microwave until melted. It will thicken as it cools, but if it’s too thin, microwave it a little longer.
- To serve: Pour a little puddle of the caramel sauce on your dish. Place the apple on top of it. Drizzle with some more caramel.
That’s it. Now it’s time to savor. And don’t worry. I won’t judge if you lick the caramel off the plate. 😉