For some reason, I love small, individualized desserts. Maybe it’s because they’re so personal; maybe it’s because they’re perfect platings. Either way, I love the fact that each person gets their own little masterpiece…not just a slice of a beautiful work of art.
I’m also a fan of using beer, wine, and even, liquor in unexpected ways. A few years ago, a friend in the catering business made a syrup for bread pudding using a super dark Russian Imperial Stout (Hunaphu from Cigar City in Tampa). It was AMAZING! SOOOO, I quickly worked to figure it out. OMG…Porter syrup and hard cider syrup on pancakes will change everything you know about breakfast, but that is another blog post!
Anyway, for this recipe, I combine both ideas…mini, individual apple pies glazed with a syrup made from hard cider. I prefer the hard ciders made at Southern Brewing & Winemaking and Cigar City Cider & Mead, both in Tampa, but any hard cider will work. In fact, if you love pear cider or even, a cyser, use it; the process is the same.
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1/2 c. shortening
3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6-8 TBSP apple juice
1 beaten egg & 1 TBSP water—for crust
2 TBSP sugar—for crust
8 c. sliced Gala or Fiji apples
1 tsp lemon juice
4 TBSP flour
1/2 brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 c. hard apple cider
2 c. sugar
1 TBSP butter
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in shortening and butter until crumbly. Stir in apple juice until dough comes together. Roll out to 1/4″ thickness. Using a 4-5″ flower cookie cutter, cut out 10-12 flowers.
In a large bowl, gently combine filling ingredients. Spoon filling onto prepared pie crusts. Fold edges up to create side crusts. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes to an hour or until center is bubbly.
While baking, bring cider, sugar, and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
When tarts come from the oven, drizzle the filling with the cider glaze.