This recipe uses homemade puff pastry; if you opt to use store-bought, go ahead and skip to the steps for making the filling. However you prepare it, this dessert is particularly delicious served with vanilla or cinnamon-flavored ice cream.
For the pastry (yields enough dough for about 6-8 apples):
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces butter, cut in larger 1/2 ounce sizes
- 1/2 pound butter cut into pea-sized cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
For the stuffed apple filling:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 ounces butter, chilled
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup assorted diced dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots, and/or raisins)
- 1 ounce rum
- 4-6 apples
For the apples:
- granulated sugar
To make the pastry: Place flour in a food processor equipped with a steel blade. Add the larger pieces of butter and pulse 10 to 12 times at 1-second pulses. Then put in the small butter cubes and pulse 2 times. Add salt to the cold water, add water to flour mixture, and pulse until a ball just begins to form.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and place in the refrigerator overnight. Take out and roll out on a cold marble surface so butter doesn’t melt. Roll it into a 6×12-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds along the short side. Roll back out into a rectangle about a 1/4-inch thick, then roll it up the long way, like a jelly roll. Let rest at least 2 hours or overnight.
Flatten the jelly roll shaped dough and roll out to 1/8-inch thick, then cut with a pizza cutter into 4×4-inch squares. Save the scraps to make decorative leaves to garnish the baked stuffed apple once it has been wrapped.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the filling:
Blend the flour and butter into a mixer with a paddle until it reaches a sand-like texture. Add the brown sugar and salt to the mixture. Blend to incorporate and add dried fruits and rum. Mix to a paste-like texture.
To make the apples:
Peel and core apples. Once cored, hollow them out a little wider using a small knife, and reserve the apple that results from the additional coring. Take some of the extra apple and stuff into the bottom of the apples to minimize leakage during baking.
Stuff the apples with the filling using a spoon, then take the stuffed apples and place them on top of the precut puff pastry squares, and fold the corners of the puff pastry up to the top of the apple. Brush the outside of pastry with some milk and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
Using some of the puff pastry scraps, cut out the shape of several leaves with a paring knife and mark with some veins. Place 1 on top of each apple. Let rest in refrigerator for about 30 minutes or overnight.
Bake apples in preheated oven. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake until apple is soft when poked with a toothpick and puff pastry is a deep golden brown.
Let rest out of the oven for 10 to 20 minutes before serving.