Apple Tarts with Cajeta and Pecans
Makes 10 individual tarts
When I think of fall, I think about apple desserts. This is one of my favorites since it's easy to make, tastes delicious and looks like it came from a bakery. We used an all butter puff pastry for the taste, which you'll find it in the freezer section of many grocery stores (Whole Foods usually carries it). The only secret to this recipe is to keep the puff pastry ice cold. After every step, you need to place it back into the refrigerator before moving on to the next step, especially before you bake it.
One 14-ounce package Dufour Pastry Kitchens' Classic Puff Pastry, defrosted, but keep very cold
Flour for rolling out the puff pastry
3 to 4 medium (about 1 3/4 pounds total) firm cooking apples (such as Granny Smith or Gala)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
About 1/2 cup warm cajeta, store bought (we like the Coronado brand), homemade or your favorite caramel sauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Sprinkle flour over the countertop for rolling out the puff pastry. Unfold and cut the pastry in half. Place the second half back in the refrigerator while you work with the first half. Roll out into a 12 x 15 rectangle. Cut out five 5-inch circles. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then slide it back into the refrigerator. Repeat this step with the other half. You'll have a total of 10 circles. (If you're using the puff pastry that comes in two pieces, there's no need to cut them in half, just roll out each piece into a 12 x 15 rectangle.)
Peel and core the apples, cut into 1/4-inch slices. Scoop into a bowl and toss with the cinnamon and sugar.
Working with one baking sheet at a time, arrange the apple slices in a spiral pattern on the pastry circles, leaving a generous 1/4-inch border all the way around. Fold the edges up over the apples toward the center, gently pleating the dough. Brush the edges with egg wash. then dot each tart with small pieces of butter. Return the tarts back to the refrigerator. (If at any point the pastry gets too soft to work with, just refrigerate until it firms back up.) You'll need to refrigerate the tarts for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tarts in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the tarts to cooling racks. Drizzle on the warm cajeta and sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top. These tarts are delicious served warm or at room temperature.