With the arrival of autumn comes an overwhelming craving for apples. I eat them more at this time of year than throughout any of the other seasons, perhaps because now is when they are available fresh from the tree. Whether I’m munching on them or cooking with them, I can’t seem to get enough!
I was thrilled that the #SundaySupper group of bloggers decided to celebrate this seasonal fruit in our quest to get people to gather around the table for a meal once a week. (Or more!) In fact, I’m using today’s post as the beginning of an entire week of apple-themed dishes here on There and Back Again. (See the links to the other posts below.)
Lately I’ve been intrigued by the idea of using apples in savory dishes. I remember Mom making fried apples as a side dish for dinner, and I’ve seen a number of recipes pairing apples with pork and in salads. So I decided to give this one a try.
I developed today’s recipe for a recent newspaper article. I found it on the Williams-Sonoma website. The original called for caramelized onions, but I’ve always liked leeks paired with Gruyere cheese and have made little tarts with both in the past.
The sautéed Granny Smith apples add a delicious depth of flavor to this dish. These tarts would make wonderful and easy holiday hors d’oeuvres, or a great snack while watching a movie or football game. For #SundaySupper, I would serve them with drinks as a starter to the meal.
Leek, Apple and Gruyere Tarts
Adapted from one found on www.williams-sonoma.com.
2 tablespoons canola oil6 cups thinly sliced leeks, the white and light green parts only
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large Granny Smith apples (or other tart apples), peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
To clean the leeks, slice off the root and dark green ends. Thinly slice the white and light green parts, and then place the rings into a large bowl of cold water. Toss in the water to separate the layers of leeks and allow the dirt and sand to sink to the bottom of the bowl. Carefully lift the leeks out of the water and onto a clean dish towel. Roll the leeks up into the towel to dry.
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and salt, and then saute until the leeks are softened and slightly browned. Scoop the leeks into a large bowl to cool.
In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the apples and sugar, and saute until the apples start to soften and brown slightly. Add them to the bowl with the leeks and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the Gruyere, thyme and black pepper to the bowl, and stir until combined.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Spread the puff pastry dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2-inch squares, 32 total. Place the squares onto the baking sheets about 1-inch apart, and then brush with the egg mixture. Spoon a tablespoon-full of the leek-apple mixture onto the center of each square.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Rotate the baking sheets half-way through the baking time. Remove from the oven and allow the tarts to cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature.
Be sure to check out my fellow #SundaySupper bloggers to see what they created with apples. And don’t forget to join us at for our live chat on Twitter. Just use the hashtag #Sundaysupper or Tweetchat. We’d also love to feature your apple recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers!
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