I love teaching during the colorful days of autumn.
Over the past week, the students in my class have been busy finding autumnal inspiration to include in their poetry.
We’ve spoken a lot about letting our senses speak through poetry.
We can see the lovely bold colors and the days getting darker.
We can feel the days getting cooler.
We can hear the leaves tumbling in the howling wind.
What about the taste of autumn?
How are they to understand the smell?
Don’t worry, I’ve got that one covered.
Covered in puff pastry, that is!
Any excuse to get these kids in the kitchen, people.
During my prep lesson yesterday, I practiced baking these delicious caramel stuffed, pastry wrapped baked apples.
I photographed the steps in hopes of preparing a guide for my students, but once all was said and done, I realized this wasn’t the recipe for my class.
I ended up going with a simpler baked apple recipe, but I still wanted to share this gem of a dish with all of you!
The ingredients were pretty basic: puff pastry, caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon, an egg and apples.
To prepare, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Create and egg wash by beating an egg and 1 Tbsp. water together.
Slice off the top of the apple, leaving the stem intact.
Remove the core, being sure not to go all the way through the bottom of the apple.
Carefully get in there to get out all of the seeds.
Peel the whole apple. I did the cutting and coring first because I didn’t want the kids working with knives on slippery apple flesh.
See? Core removed but base intact!
Remember that bowl of cinnamon sugar? Now’s its time to shine. Roll the apple around in the brown sugar to coat completely.
Carefully place two caramel cubes into the hollow of the apple core. Again, be sure you don’t push too hard and pop out the bottom of the apple.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Next, I joined strips of puff pastry and wrapped them around my prepared apple.
By this point, I realized:
- Cutting, coring and peeling would be a bit too much for my kiddos.
- Our school kitchen wasn’t equipped with enough peelers for each student anyways.
- Making long snakes of puff pastry, an item which needs to be kept cool, would be difficult for my hot-handed pupils.
- There were simply too many steps to remember and rewrite in recipe form later in the week.
Even though I knew by this point that my students wouldn’t be making this recipe, I still wanted to finish it off.
Create two leaves out of the puff pastry.
Carefully place the leaves on the apple so they look like they’re coming from the stem.
Brush the pastry with the prepared egg wash.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, being sure to leave space between the pastry and foil. Place in the refrigerator to cool for half an hour before baking.
Bake the covered apples for about 20 minutes before removing the foil and continuing to bake until the pastry is puffed up and golden, about 20 minutes longer.
Gosh darn it, the puff pastry idea may have been out, but those leaves were too cute not to include in my students’ version!
The flaky, crumbly, sweet and gooey qualities of these baked apples were incredible! Almost like a personal-sized apple pie, I highly recommend this recipe.
So, my practice apples turned out great but weren’t going to work for my students. You may be wondering what they did during our baking lesson today.
Well, let me give you a sneak peak into our school kitchen. I’d love to share the photos of these beamingly proud kids, but can’t, so their busy little hands will have to do.
After watching my “demonstration,” the kids cut, cored, stuffed and decorated their apples on their own.
When he saw my fully wrapped apple the previous day, a little boy said with amazement, “Wow, Ms. Brady, that looks like a professional cook! You should go on TV!”
Creating their own “professional cook’s” pastry leaves was a highlight of the activity for many of the kids.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be watching them on Food Network one day!
They were all so very proud of their apples.
Two of our baking dishes, ready for the oven!
Sadly, my battery died before capturing the final product, but I assure you, the apples were stunning… and tasted as good as they looked!
Baked Apples with Puff Pastry Leaves
If 8 year olds can make this dish, so can you!
1 tart apple
1 heaping teaspoon raisins
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 dash nutmeg and cinnamon
1/2 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 180ºC.
- Cut off the top of the apple, being sure to keep the stem intact.
- Carefully remove the core of the apple. Take care not to cut all the way through the bottom.
- In a small bowl, mix together the raisins, brown sugar, nutmeg and dash of cinnamon.
- Stuff this mixture into the hollow of the apple, again, be sure not to push the stuffing through the bottom!
- Top the stuffing with the butter.
- Place the apple in a baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Replace the top of the apple.
- Using a sharp knife, cut two leaf shapes from the puff pastry. Add the veins of the leaves by gently pressing half-way into the pastry with the back of a knife.
- Next, place the leaves on the apple.
- Whisk together the egg and water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the pastry with the egg wash.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving room between the foil and pastry.
- Bake, covered, for 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown.
- Cool before serving.
I was so proud of the way these kids worked today. Even when two other teachers came into the kitchen and started making a racket, my students were so focused in apple baking mode that they didn’t even look up. I find this photo so funny!
If you’re a parent, I beg you, get in the kitchen and get to cookin’ with your kids. You will both leave the kitchen with happy hearts, full tummies and wonderful memories!