My first thought was to go the traditional route and preserve these in simple syrup, but we are so overrun with preserved foods I decided to pass. My second thought was: wouldn’t these make incredibly cute little tarts? So, tarts won out. Given the tiny size of these apples I pulled out my mini muffin pan for some tiny tartlets. I used a single pastry sheet for the tarts (yes, I used my trusty Pillsbury pie crust) and cut them into small circles with a juice glass then tucked them into the tins:
To get twelve pastry circles I had to cut and roll the last two from scraps, but you could also roll the crust a little thinner to begin with and you would get twelve. Or, naturally, you can make your own crust and roll it thin. Next I mixed four ounces of light cream cheese with a third of a cup of powdered sugar and a couple of teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. When that was smooth I divided it evenly among the tins–about a heaping teaspoon per crust. I then began the labor of love of quartering and coring the little apples. I placed them, petal-like, into the crusts, and then baked at 375 degrees for 25 minutes (or until the apples have softened and the crust looks lightly browned). This is how they looked going into the oven:
I then warmed up a quarter cup of apple jelly in the microwave to liquify (I used my mom’s homemade apple jelly for this–any clear jelly or orange marmalade would be nice) and then brushed the jelly over the baked tarts to glaze. They were almost too cute to eat, but we did it anyway. We enjoyed some for dessert with some of Harrison’s homemade rose water ice cream, inspired by his recent trip to Detroit and the Dearborn area (yes, he is awesome):
The tart little apples glazed with the sweet jelly make for a really delicious two-bite dessert. The next time you see a loaded crab apple tree, consider these for a beautiful and unusual dessert.
Thanks for reading!