Sunday 13 April 2014

Mini Toffee Apple Pies

Ummmmm did someone hit the fast forward button on this year?
How is it that Easter is next week and we are almost a quarter of the way through 2014 already!??

This year was always going to be a doozy.  It's my 5th year of medical school and it is the year with The Exams.

Yip the Finals.

I liken this year to one of those hydro-slides at the swimming pools. You know, the ones that look like a colourful tube of fun times?  Sure, it looks like fun from a distance until it sucks you in,  going waaaaaay faster than you'd anticipated, making you loose your orientation and tumble turn all the way to the other end where it spits you, bruised and gasping for breath.

Welcome to 5th year med school.  Do not pass go do not collect $200.

Ok ok it's not all bad.  It is actually fun for the most part and interesting and I'm learning heaps.  My first run this year was Orthopaedics with its insane amount of cool gadgets and power tools, mind blowing surgeries and awesome banterous surgeons.  In surgery, the boss would often ask for his scalpel, then pliers, then the power drill.  Power drill.  In a surgery.  Crazy talk.  Seriously some of the coolest surgeries I've seen.

So to say thank you for being an incredible bunch of people, teaching me heaps, and letting me do cool stuff, I baked these Mini Toffee Apple Pies for Team Ortho out at Hutt Hospital.

Since at the moment almost every waking minute is either spent at the hospital or studying, my brain is too fried to handle too complicated recipes. So this recipe is stupid easy.  And also stupid good.

{status of my brain}
via here
They may look schmancy but all you need is pastry, toffee, and apples and Bob's your uncle.  You don't even need to blind bake the pastry.  And making the pastry from scratch takes no time what so ever but if you decide to use ready made pastry, easier still.

You could make this recipe blindfolded.

If you decide to make your own dulce de leche, that takes a little forward planning since it takes hours to cook and let cool.  Otherwise just pop down to your local supermarket and buy a can of caramel condensed milk or splash out on a jar of authentic dulce de leche from a specialty food store (e.g. Moore Wilsons, if you are in the Wellington Region).  Chop up some apples and boom! Toffee apple pies, just like that.

As simple as this recipe is, these tarts are little mouthfuls of heaven.  I mean, it really is a no brainer - crumbly butter pastry, creamy caramel toffee layer and tart juicy apples.  How could they be anything other than awesomely delicious.  An apple pie made fancy.  Gimme

Mini Toffee Apple Pies

Makes around 18-20 muffin tin sized tarts

250g unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
1 cup icing sugar
2 cups flour
2 large eggs

2 x  395g cans dulce de leche *see recipe below or use cans of Caramel sweetened condensed milk or a jar of dulce de leche. (NB: I only used 1 1/2 cans of the caramel and I was pretty generous!)

4 cooking apples e.g. Braeburn or Granny Smiths
2 heaped Tablespoons icing sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon

1. Prepare two 12 cup muffin tins by lining with a little square of tin foil and spraying liberally with non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.

2. In a food processor, put the butter, icing sugar, flour and eggs and pulse until the pastry starts to form a dough around the blade.

3. Remove the dough from mixer and form into a log shape. I measured out ~ 40g of pastry per tart.  Press each ball of dough into each cup to get a thin layer with a little lip over the top of the cup If the dough is too sticky to work with to start off with, place it into the fridge to cool for around 20 minutes working into the muffin tins. 

4. Once you have the pastry pressed out into the tins, chill the pastry cups in fridge for at least 30 mins.  While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 180C

5. Peel and core the apples.  Cut into approx 1 cm dice and toss them in a bowl with 2 heaped Tablespoons of icing sugar and lemon juice.

6. When the pastry is finished chilling out, spoon approx 2 heaped teaspoons of toffee into the pastry case and spread a little with your teaspoon.  Totally up to you what the apple to caramel ratio is.  Then spoon a couple of Tablespoons of the diced apple on top - dividing the apples evenly across all the pastry tarts.

7. Bake at 180oC for 30-40 minutes until the pastry and apples are lightly golden.  Cool for around 10 minutes in the tins before twisting them out.  Keep in an air tight container.

Homemade Dulce de Leche

unopened 380g cans of sweetened condensed milk  (as many as will fit in your pot in one layer)
large pot of water

1. Put cans in water making sure the cans are completely covered in water.  Bring to the boil and boil for 3 hours making sure cans completely covered with water at all times otherwise they can explode!

2. Allow to cool completely in water before using.


  1. I'm loving this recipe, looks so easy and with simple ingredients, can definitely see this coming in handy. YUM.

  2. Hi Nessie. This looks fabulous. Must try sometime. I have revisited your blog as trying to get mine going. Wordpress is turning out to be a headache! so I'm tweeting my colleagues in the USA and Ireland for help but might give up and publish in blogger instead! You feature in my first post! BTW fifth year is hideous at the time but looking back it wasn't so awful, memories fade. Make sure you keep cooking and having fun! See you round - Rebecca



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