As I mentioned in my Seattle post, I had a pastry at Le Panier that was to die for. I haven’t been able to find a recipe for something similar (even though it’s a fairly minimal pastry) so through some experimenting, I figured it out myself. It’s essentially just a puff pastry with pastry cream and green apples nestled inside.
You’ll need to put a bit of prep work into the pastry cream — I recommend making it a few hours before you want to make the pastry so it has time to get really chilled and set in your refrigerator. I made my pastry cream in the early afternoon, made the pastries that night, and served them for breakfast with my family the next morning (stored them in the fridge and set them out about a half hour before everyone arrived).
Pastry Cream (adapted from Tartine)
2 cups Whole Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Sugar
2 Large Eggs
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
Prep work is key when making pastry cream. It’s not particularly easy the first time you make it — everything moves really quickly once the milk is hot and it’s very important to keep the eggs from curdling. Have a bowl ready for cooling the pastry cream once it’s done.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Have your egg mixture bowl ready and waiting near your stove.
Pour the milk into a heavy sauce pan, mix in vanilla and salt. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the milk solids aren’t sticking to the bottom of your pan. Once your milk is heated to just under a boil, turn off the heat and slowly ladle about 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the sauce pan and continue whisking over medium-heat until the custard is slightly thick, about 2 minutes. You should see a few slow bubbles, but it should not come to a boil.
Immediately pour the pastry cream into the bowl you had ready (move quickly!) and let it cool for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally to release the heat and prevent a skin from forming.
Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and whisk the butter into the pastry cream, one at a time, whisking until smooth before adding the next tablespoon.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the cream so a skin doesn’t form. Place it in the fridge (you can keep it there for up to 5 days) and try not to whisk it much once it’s completely cold so you don’t break down the starch.
Okay, I know that was a little bit intense, but have you tasted your pastry cream?! So worth it. Plus, pastry cream can be used in so many things — cakes, pies, heck I even used the leftovers as an apple dip. The rest of this is pretty easy, I promise (and also so worth it).
(Makes 18 pastries)
2 sheets Puff Pastry
2 small Green Apples
1 tbsp Water
A little bit of Sugar (for sprinkling the top)
A little bit of Lemon Juice (for the apples)
This also requires a little prep work — you need to thaw your puff pastry. Follow the instructions on the box then roll it out and using a pizza cutter, slice into 9 even squares on each sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake the puff pastry until it’s just about fully cooked (around 7 or 8 minutes).
While those are baking, slice your apples. I used my little apple corer then sliced the apple pieces in half again. Put them in a bowl with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning. In a separate bowl, whisk your egg and water to create an egg wash.
Pull the puff pastry out and with a pointy knife, lightly slice a circle in the top of each pastry so we can create a little groove to nest our cream & apples. Place about 1 heaping spoonful of cream and 2 apple slices in each pastry. Brush egg wash over the pastries and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.
Place back in the oven for about 4 minutes or until the top is browned and apples are a little soft.
Let them cool completely and enjoy. As I mentioned, I stored mine in the fridge (covered with plastic wrap) overnight and brought them out for breakfast in the morning. So perfect!
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