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Brown Butter Apple Hand Tarts + #BaketogetherParty

My friends, this isn’t just any ole Baketogether. No.. this month we are having a BakeTogether Party! Here’s your invite to this month’s Baketogether Party that will be filled with good company, great food, games and a PRIZE:

What’s the Occasion: The launch of my new book: Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets ~100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat!  For more info on the book check it out here on my Web Ad (trailer & videos coming soon)

Who’s invited: Everyone! This is #baketogether, after all, and we keep good company.

Will there be food & games? Of course there will be. What’s a party without food & games? See the recipe below & let me know if you have any questions. Post your version and link it up below via the Linky thing + leave a comment with your Twitter handle and we will all virtually potluck together. If you are new here, check out The Rules.

What about prizes? We all know that Baketogether isn’t a competition, but.. This month, two lucky posters will be selected by to win one, personalized copy of Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets each! I love prizes.

To Enter: Like with all Baketogethers you have until the end of the month, September 30, 2012 to enter. You need to do TWO things: leave a comment with your Twitter handle on this post AND  linkup to your baketogether recipe to this post via the linky thingy. I’ll let chose a winner on October 1, 2012. I’ll announce the winners officially via email and, of course, I’ll mention on Twiiter. You’ll have 24 hours to contact me ( or via Twitter DM) & tell me your mailing address & how you want your book inscribed and my publisher, The Taunton Press, will mail it out to you where ever you live! If I don’t hear from you, sadly, I’ll move onto the next person. Disclaimer: The two copies of Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets are being donated & mailed by The Taunton Press and personalized by me.

Even in party mode, we begin with a recipe. It’s one I think you guys will have a lot of fun messing around with. A little background.. Last fall my friends Ken and Jackie hosted a #PieParty right when I was developing the recipes for this new book. I was working on two recipes at the time so I mashed-up  (#baketogethered) two recipes from the new book – the brown butter cookie crust from the Peach-Rosemary Mini Hand Tarts (page 55) and the filling from Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Phyllo Triangles (page 77). Lots of folks asked for the recipe and I promised that this would be the first recipe I published. Thanks everyone for being patient… and my publisher thanks you too.

Here are a few ideas for switching things up but feel free to streeeetch your limits. We are, after all, baking together so show us what you’ve got.

Add a flavor to the crust:  I’ve added  nibs, herbs, spices and even citrus. Can you say five-spice powder? Bring it.

Change the shape: These guys are mini but you can make ’em round, or triangles or star-shaped or even make one whole tart or slab. We like ‘em all.

Change the filling: I used sauteed apples but you can fill with any number of cooked fruits or jams as well as adding other seasonings to your filling. Consider citrus, ginger and lemongrass or herbs, hot peppers, spices, or pink peppercorns. Heck.. you can even spike the filling with your fave liqueur or spirit. To this, I’ll simply say “yes, please”!

Add a drizzle or a glaze: Caramel? Chocolate? Vanilla bean? Sprinkle or nuts? Yes. Yes you can.

Before you dive in, how about a few tips and pix for success?

Take your time browning the butter. It’s not a race and good browning is important to the crust’s flavor that the butter solids are a nice, nutty brown..


You can see how supple, almost fluid, the dough is and check out the color. Deep, rich and gorgeous with thousands of tiny brown butter specs.

I cut around the core using a sharp knife with two swipes in each side and then cutting into cubes. Saves me a step and makes for easy work.


These babies are just about caramelized to perfection.. just a few more minutes.

Yes.. I’m that much of a baking nerd but, seriously, using a ruler and a sharp knife makes easy and accurate work of these hand tarts


These little pillows of goodness are glazed and sprinkled and headed into the oven.

and here they are again:



Brown Butter – Apple Hand Tarts
Makes 18 hand tarts

For the brown butter dough
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup (7 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

For the apple filling
2 apples (10 ounces each), peeled and cored (firm-fleshed, crisp tart apples are best)
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons honey
Pinch of table salt
2 tablespoons calvados, Applejack® brandy, or apple cider

For assembly
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon water
Turbanado or demerara or sanding sugar

Make the brown butter dough
1. Put the butter in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until nutty brown and the milk solids are dark brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Slide the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar is almost dissolved, then set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Using your fingertip, check the temperature of the batter—it should be warm but not hot. If it’s hot, set the pan aside for a few more minutes before continuing with the recipe.

2. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Add the flour and stir until a smooth, soft dough forms.

3. Arrange two pieces of plastic wrap on the counter and scrape the dough onto the center of one. Divide the dough in half (about 14 3/4 ounces each) and put half on the second piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic as a guide, shape both into 5-inch squares.Wrap in the plastic and set aside at room temperature until firm enough to roll, about 3 hours. (You can pop the dough into the refrigerator for a hour or so, but you don’t want the dough to be too chilled. It would be impossible to roll.)

Make the filling
Cut the apples into 1/2-inch pieces. Put the butter in a medium skillet and cook, stirring, over medium low heat until melted. Add the apples, honey, and salt and cook, stirring, until the apples are tender and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the calvados (be careful—it will steam up) and, cook, stirring frequently, over low heat until the liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely. You’ll have about 1 firmly packed cup of cooked filling.

Assemble and bake
1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick liners. Put the egg and water in a small bowl and, using a fork, mix until well blended.

2. Working with one piece of dough at a time on a lightly floured piece of parchment (this dough is soft, so the parchment is a must for successful rolling), roll out to a rectangle slightly larger than 9×15 inches. Using a sharp paring knife or a fluted roller and a ruler, trim the edges to get a neat 9×15-inch rectangle, then cut into 3 x 2 1/2-inch rectangles (for a total of 18 rectangles).  Arrange the pastry rectangles about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets and cover with plastic. Roll out and cut the second piece of dough as you did the first one.

3. Uncover the dough on one of the cookie sheets. Spoon a scant 1 tablespoon of the apple filling onto the center of each rectangle and spread down the center, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edges. Using a small pastry brush, brush the edges of each rectangle with egg wash. Lay the remaining rectangles over the filling. Using the tines of a fork, press (or crimp) the pastry edges to seal. Lightly brush the top of each hand tart with egg wash. Using the tip of a small, sharp knife, cut 2 small slits in the top of each hand tart to let steam escape. Sprinkle the tops with some of the turbanado sugar and slide the cookie sheets into the fridge while the oven heats up.

4. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

5. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the tarts are dark brown on the edges, 19 to 21 minutes. Move the sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the tarts from the sheet and set them on a wire rack and let cool until warm or cool completely. The tarts are best when served at room temperature or slightly warmed.[/print_this]

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