Not Your Average College Food

Rose Apple Tarts

No food is more American than apple pie. Once apple season hits, everyone scrambles to the store to buy Granny Smiths for their favorite dessert. I’m a big fan of apple pie and never thought that there would be a better apple dessert out there, until now.

First of all, these rose apple tarts are beautiful – one of the most artistic food creations I’ve ever made. Looking at pictures of them in the recipe, I was intimated because they seemed impossibly difficult to pull off. I gave it a try and it was surprisingly pretty simple – maybe even easier than making an apple pie since it only requires a few ingredients and no hassle of measuring and mixing!

The tarts were almost too pretty to eat…almost. My family and I thought they tasted a lot like apple pie since the apples were soft and cinnamony, the jam gave it some gooiness and the flaky pastry puff was just like pie crust. Definitely a great recipe if you are trying to impress friends or family!

ROSE APPLE TARTS

Ingredients
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 red apples (the redder, the better!)
1/2 lemon (juice)
4 (2+2) tbsp water
3 tbsp apricot preserves
1 tbsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tbsp flour
powdered sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a muffin pan.

Cut apples in half, removing the seeds, and thinly cut into equal slices horizontally.

Combine apples with lemon juice and 2 tbsp water and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes to soften.

Mix apricot preserves with 2 tbsp water. Microwave for 30 seconds and mix to spread.

On a flat surface, sprinkle some flour and roll out pastry dough. Cut into 6 equal strips lengthwise.

Spread a little bit of the apricot preserve mixture onto each strip.

Place apples on the top half of the strip so that they overlap halfway. Fold the bottom of the pastry dough over the top.

Roll each strip from one end to the other and seal. Place into muffin pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until pastry is crisped.

Optional: Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

 

Adapted from Cooking with Manuela

 

Blackberry Brie Bites

Brie is awesome. Its ooey-gooey creaminess makes us melt with delight as we spread it on crackers at dinner parties. But it can be spread on much more than crackers. For a light snack in the Spring or Summer, try making these blackberry brie bites. It’s the perfect combination of a burst of fruit and cheese, wrapped in a buttery, flaky blanket.

These are perfect crowd-pleasers for parties, meetings, or just for fun. They are literally bite-sized so they won’t make a mess but enough to impress your friends and leave them wanting more. Of course, they’re best served warm, right after you take them out of the oven. If they do get cold, you can simply warm them up in the microwave and get the same taste.

I spontaneously made these after school one day because I had leftover brie and wanted to bake it in with puff pastry. These are actually very similar to the Cuban Guava Pastries I made last year, which were made using guava paste and cream cheese. There are soo many variations of puff pastry+fruit+cheese. Next time, I’ll try using other fruits like figs and maybe add some honey!

 

BLACKBERRY BRIE BITES
(makes 16)

Ingredients
1 pkg puff pastry, thawed
1 quart blackberries
5 oz brie cheese, cut into cubes
3-4 tbsps blackberry jam
1 egg, for egg wash

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the thawed puff pastry into equal squares.

Place a cube of brie in the middle of a square, spoon 1/4 teaspoon of jam onto it, and place blackberry on top. Fold two opposite corners into the middle and pinch corners together. Then, pinch the other two corners to meet in the middle so all 4 corners come together. Repeat for each square.

Beat the egg until mixed. Brush egg wash on the outer parts of puff pastry surface.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Cuban Guava Pastries

This week my school had a “Cooking For Change” event, where students can make an international dish and bring samples to share. Anyone can come eat samples of the dishes and vote on their favorites with coins, that are donated to Syrian refugees. My friend Rachel and I made Cuban guava pastries (pastelitos de guayaba). I’ve never had guava before so it was exciting to make something so new and exotic. In case you also have never tried guava, it is a tropical fruit that tastes like a mix of melon and strawberry!

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Rachel had made these before so she taught me how and it turned out to be very simple. Since the stores around us don’t sell guava paste, we had to make a quick trip to Giant for our supplies: guava paste, cream cheese, and puff pastry. We used a toaster oven to bake them (in several batches), which was very convenient.

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These bite-sized pastries are easy to eat and don’t create a mess. They are SO delicious, especially when they are eaten warm and fresh out of the oven. The combination of cream cheese and guava jelly melded into each other, surrounded by flaky, buttery puff pastry is…unparalleled. Another version of this dessert is using brie and jelly instead of cream cheese and guava paste, which also tastes amazing.

CUBAN GUAVA PASTRIES
(makes 30)

Ingredients
2 puff pastry sheets
1 can guava paste (or jelly)
4 oz cream cheese
1 egg

Directions

Using a rolling pin, roll out puff pastry sheets so they are thinner. (We used a glass bottle instead of a rolling pin.)

IMG_0379Cut squares of guava paste and arrange onto 1 puff pastry sheet.

Cut similar-sized squares of cream cheese and place on top of guava paste.

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Beat an egg. Brush egg in the shape of a grid onto puff pastry sheet. This is used to glue the 2 puff pastry sheets together.

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Cover with the other puff pastry sheet.

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Using a knife, cut individual squares and press 2 sheets together. Use a fork to make crimps on each side.

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Brush tops with egg wash. Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. If using a toaster oven, you may need several batches.