The inspiration for this apple gouda dessert cheese recipe came to me when I looked outside to see the sun shining. While the rest of the country is freezing, our northern Californian trees are full of leaves, the magnolias and tulip trees are blooming, and drivers created a major rush hour-style traffic jam this weekend trying to get to the beach. Some flock to wine shops to buy rosé, others whisper to new breaking buds, “it’s too soon, it’s too soon,” and fear what has been titled a Mega-drought will empty our reservoirs to lows lower than Paris Hilton’s jeans in the nineties.
Right now I’m situated a little in-between enjoyment and feeling the need to gather some friends, bake some cookies, and hold an intervention for Weather. We think you’ve been too dry, too long here, I’ll say. It’s not just hard on you, it’s hard on the farmers too. And the polar vortex? Don’t you think you could be a little more thoughtful?
I’m also realizing that my heart is not ready to give up on the culinary, warming, glories of winter. Maybe it’s because I was traveling so much through October and November and didn’t get to cook much, or maybe it’s because our winter has been so short , but as I see the snowy photos on my Instagram feed, all I am feeling like doing is heating up my oven. So that’s what I’m doing.
In honor those around the country battling furiously cold blizzards, I bring you a cheese dessert to warm your kitchens. Or your hearts if your kitchens don’t need warming. Meet the gouda apple pastry puff. The gouda acts like a firm, salty caramel when baked with lightly tart apples, creating a dessert reminiscent of fleur de del caramels. Pair that to fruit and flaky puff pastry and you’ve got a complete dessert that would make any mother proud.
I’ll tell you a little secret. It’s also as equally lovely with Lancashire or clothbound cheddars. If you want to read more about gouda, click here.
Gouda Apple Pastry Puffs
2 medium-sized apples, peeled and cored
1 1/2 teaspoon salted butter
2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar or granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
8 ounces puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
2 ounces L’Amuse Gouda, thinly sliced and lightly chopped
In a small saucepan, place the apples, butter, 2 teaspoons white sugar, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, continue to cook the apples for six to eight more minutes, until they start to soften Add the vinegar, stir, and take off the heat. Pour the apples over a salad plate and set aside to cool.
While the apples are cooling, tend to the pastry. Lightly flour a clean, dry surface. Lay the pastry over the surface and lightly dust with flour. Roll out the dough evenly so it is about two-thirds to three quarters of it’s original thickness. Cut once horizontally and once up and down so you have four squares that are roughly equally sized. Trace a circle that extends to the sides of the squares of each of the quadrants.
Once the apples are cool, divide evenly and distribute among the centers of each square, leaving an inch or so around the edge. Divide the gouda among the tarts, tucking into the apples. Pull the pastry towards the center of the circle, pinching off the dough to form an open, rippled pouch. Don’t try to make too perfect- these are rustic.
With a pastry brush, lightly brush the beaten egg over the tarts, being careful to cover all of the visible dough. Focusing on the dough, sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top of the tarts. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375.
Place the tarts on a lined baking sheet. Bake for ten minutes, then rotate the pan so the front is now towards the bake. Bake for ten more minutes. They are ready when the tarts are golden-brown and the dough is cooked through. Set aside to cool (they will deflate a healthy bit). Serve lightly warm or at room tempera