Apple Croustades with Brown Sugar–Bourbon Ice Cream
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Layers of buttered and sugared phyllo pastry are molded in muffin tins to form the crisp crusts for these mini apple croustades.
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3 pounds large Honeycrisp apples (4–5), peeled, cored, cut into ½” cubes
- 1½ tablespoons brandy (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more for pans, room temperature
- All-purpose flour (for pan)
- 9 17x12” sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed (from one 1-lb. package)
- Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Stir sugar and 2 Tbsp. water in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, swirling pan frequently, until caramel is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately whisk in butter. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for another use) and stir well. Add apples to pan; stir to coat.
Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes (resist the urge to stir them often so they do not fall apart). Remove from heat. Add brandy, if using, lemon juice, and salt; toss to coat. Spread out filling on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool completely. DO AHEAD: Filling can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375°. Butter muffin cups and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside. Unroll phyllo and place on a work surface. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, then with a damp kitchen towel.
Carefully transfer 1 sheet phyllo pastry to a clean work surface. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush a thin layer of melted butter onto pastry, then sprinkle with generous 1 tsp. sugar. Top with another sheet of phyllo. Brush with butter and sprinkle with generous 1 tsp. Repeat 1 more time with phyllo, butter, and sugar for a total of 3 layers of phyllo. Cut layered phyllo sheets lengthwise in half, then cut each half crosswise into 2 rectangles for a total of 4 rectangles; set aside.
Repeat layering and cutting 2 more times with remaining phyllo, butter, and sugar for a total of 12 rectangles.
Working with 1 rectangle at a time, arrange phyllo pastry in muffin cups, gently pressing onto bottom and up sides, being careful not to tear phyllo. Fill each pastry with ¼ cup apple filling, mounding in center. Gather edges of phyllo together above filling to form a purse.
Bake assembled croustades, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown on top and bottom (use a small offset spatula to lift up croustade to check), 27–35 minutes.
Let croustades cool slightly before unmolding (they should be cool enough to handle). Run a paring knife around each croustade. Using a small offset spatula, remove croustades carefully from pan. Croustades can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool completely. Store airtight in refrigerator. Return to muffin pan and rewarm before serving.
Place 1 croustade on each plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with a scoop of Brown Sugar–Bourbon Ice Cream.