Necessity is the mother of invention – and I was in a desperately hungover situation last Sunday and in need of a proper dessert. A couple of bruised apples, half a pack of filo and the remains of my baking cupboard later and, voila, the glorious flavours of strudel quickly baked in a muffin tin.
Considering how good these taste and how pretty they look they really are flippin easy… and I didn’t even have to run to the shops for any ingredients half way through.
You can use whatever dried fruit and nuts you’ve got lying around – sultanas and hazelnuts, apricots and pecans.
- 1 cooking apple, cored, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
- 1 eating apple, cored, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
- 50g soft light brown sugar
- a handful of raisins
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 50g salted butter, melted
- 4 sheets filo pastry, cut into 5 inch squares (keeping the offcuts)
- a handful of flaked almonds
- icing sugar, for dusting
Start my cooking the chopped apples, sugar, raisins and spices in a non-stick on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved into a watery syrup. Keep stirring and gently cook to soften the fruit and remove some of the liquid.
Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 200°c and, as it preheats, spread the almonds on a baking tray and toast in the warming oven for about 15 mins until light brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When the apples have softened a little but still have a bite, remove from the heat and stir in half the toasted almonds.
To assemble the tarts, take one square of filo pastry on a clean, dry chopping board. Take your melted butter and with a pastry brush, or your finger, gently brush the square all over with melted butter. Now place another filo square on top at a slight angle. Brush this square with more butter then add your final square of pastry at an angle to create a star shape. Take the case wrapper and press gently into the hole of a muffin or cupcake tin to create a well for the filling.
Add a heaped tsp of the apple mix into the pastry case so that the filling is even with the top of the tin. Take two pieces of off-cut pastry, dredge in the melted butter and scrunch on top of the tart to create a ruffled top layer. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds. Repeat until all the filling has been used.Bake your tarts in the oven for about 20 mins until crispy. To check if the tarts are cooked, gently remove one tart, being careful not to snap the edges. The bottom should be a pale golden colour.
To finish, dust with icing sugar and serve. These tarts are delicious with a scoop of proper vanilla icecream, or even a drizzle of condensed milk. Eat straight away or leave to cool then warm in the oven before serving.