Do you find that sometimes you just need dessert. Or is that just me? Dinner was fine. There was nothing wrong with it, but I sometimes (often … shh!) have a lingering feeling that a sweet morsel would be the perfect end to the meal. The problem is my need for dessert usually doesn’t arise until the main course is finished. This rules out chocolate bread & butter pudding, chia pudding or ice cream sandwiches. I often whip up a dutch baby, but these coconut apple tarts also do the trick.
The apple seller at my local farmer’s market told me last week she won’t be back until the plums start at the end of the year, which made me realise the apple season is well and truly at an end. Any apples in the shops will be from cold stores until next autumn. I had the best of intentions to make the most of the season, but all I have managed to do is make a few apple cakes, bottle some apple sauce and cook (quite) a few of these tarts. It was only as I was slicing the last of my apples that I realised I had not yet shared the recipe, so here it is.
The key to this quick dessert is good butter puff pastry, which is a staple in my freezer. It is so useful for for quick meals such as tomato and goat’s cheese tart, sausage rolls and quick desserts like this one. If you buy the pre-rolled sheets most of the work is done for you.
I never buy puff pastry made with margarine. There are many arguments about the benefits of margarine over butter*, none of which I am particularly interested in. For me, the difference is that margarine, invented just over 100 years ago, is a manufactured product whilst butter is a natural food product that has been around for centuries. Margarine has twelve ingredients yet butter has only three (two if you use unsalted butter). In my constant efforts to minimise the processed foods in our diet, anything containing margarine is left on the supermarket shelves. As Michael Pollan says ‘Eat food, not food products.
If you allow butter puff pastry to get too warm it becomes slightly difficult to handle. Should this happen, just put it back into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. Interesting that you don’t have the same problem with margarine puff. I wonder why? I am happy to work with this slight quirk of butter puff in order to avoid the processed ingredients.
My sweet coconut spread impulse purchase is put to good use in this dessert, but don’t feel you need it to make this tart. I have also had great success using coconut butter mixed with a small amount of coconut nectar or maple syrup. Next apple season I am going to try it with different nut butters.
If you are organised, you can assemble the tarts in advance and allow them to rest in the fridge whilst preparing dinner. Slip them into the oven as you serve the main event and dessert is done. I happen to think they look fancy enough to serve to guests. No one need know how easy they are.
Easy Coconut Apple Tarts
There are a number of different coconut spreads on the market, but you can also easily make your own using coconut butter and coconut nectar or maple syrup. I use a ratio of 1 Tablespoon coconut butter to 1 teaspoon coconut nectar.
- Pre-rolled Butter Puff Pastry sheet
- 1 large apple peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 3 Tablespoons coconut spread
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C).
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Cut the puff pastry sheet into three 8cm x 13cm rectangles, and place them on the baking tray.
- Score a 5mm border around the edge of the rectangle with a sharp knife.
- Spread a Tablespoon of coconut spread over the base of the pastry rectangle, keeping the spread within the scored border.
- Lay apple slices over the coconut spread.
- Brush the milk over the pastry border and the apple slices.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon over the apple slices.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is well risen and golden brown.
- Serve immediately, with loads of cream.
* Whilst I personally disagree with the claim about the heart health benefits of margarine in this article, with recent scientific research supporting the use of butter over margarine, I find the remainder of the article offers a good comparison between the two spreads.