The Romans introduced the apples in the Netherlands, or at least made a valuable contribution, and we've tinkered with the fruit since. As we would. Numerous varieties with interesting names such as Notarisappel, Brabantse Bellefleur, Zoete Ermgaard and the beloved Elstar are being produced and maintained, but sometimes old trees like these disappear. If you are considering planting a tree or two, why not look into some of these old Dutch varieties?
In the meantime, company is on its way and I've pulled some puff pastry from the freezer. Today I'm making an appelcarrée, similar to an appelflap, but a little bit fancier presentation-wise.
1 package of puff pastry
3 apples, preferably a variety of flavors
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons apricot jam
Thaw the sheets of puff pastry. In the meantime, peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces. Mix with the lemon juice and the sugar: add cinnamon and raisins if desired.
Divide the puff pastry along the folds so that you end up with six strips: approximately 3 inches wide, 9 inches long. Spread the apple filling from top to bottom on 3 strips of the pastry, leaving about a half inch on each side.
Cut horizontal (to the short edge) lines into the remaining three strips, careful to not cut all the way to the side, leave about half an inch on each side. You're looking for a louvered look: this will allow for the steam to escape while the apples cook and prevent a soggy mess. Lift and cover the apple mixture with the pastry. Use a fork to push down on the edges, on all sides, to seal the dough.
Heat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully place your three appelcarrées on the pan. Brush each pastry with egg, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove the carrées from the oven. Mix one tablespoon of water to thin the apricot jam, and brush the top of the pastries with the jam. Eat warm (preferably).