Apple pie Valentines

I spotted a heart-shaped pocket pie press at Target and was inspired to make my boyfriend a little Valentine treat. He loves apple pie — my apple pie, to be specific — I thought, “Hey, this will be great! He’ll love it. How hard can it be?!” Uh, so, so, hard. But so worth it!

Heart-shaped tartlet press

Heart-shaped tartlet press

I couldn’t find any examples or recipes of an apple pie version, so I had to experiment. My initial attempt was pretty awful for a couple of reasons, mostly my technique, and somewhat my recipe. Initially, I didn’t flour the press or chop the apple filling finely enough. I also didn’t know to use egg white on the inner edges to seal the dough.

First attempt at apple tartlet

First attempt at apple tartlet

My first attempt turned out very blob-like. I just slapped and hacked with no finesse or insight. I knew a little better for my second attempt, but not much.

First attempt looks like I made the apple tartlet with my feet

First attempt looks like I made the apple tartlet with my feet

I Googled around, and although the pie press is pretty popular with the mommy bloggers, no one else I found made apple versions. I read as much as I could and put the advise I found to good use, I think. I started with a pretty high-level instruction and then found a detailed, step-by-step instructional blog with images that made sense to me. Armed with more knowledge, I kept experimenting.

Additionally, I decided that because most recipes were calling for two tablespoons of filling, I needed a more finely diced apple filling. I hoped that with a finer filling, I would be able to push the two tablespoon rule.

After chopping, I mixed in my traditional apple pie filling ingredients.

apple tartlet filling

Apple pie filling, diced finely for tartlets

Like the instructions suggest, I used the bottom of the press to cut the shape out of dough, lay the dough in the press, brush the edges with egg white, and place two or three tablespoons of apple pie filling in the center.

Filling the apple tartlet

Filling the apple tartlet

Following Mrs. Dragon’s advice, I placed the second dough cut out over the filling, and then pressed the crimp side of the press down. I then dumped the raw tartlet onto a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. I didn’t like the back side, so I flipped it crimp-side-up.

Decent apple tartlet potential

Decent apple tartlet potential

I brushed the tartlets with egg white and sprinkled them with sugar. I’d pre-heated the oven to 400, but the crescent roll directions called for 375. My rationale was that the filling needed the higher temp to really bake. I set the timer for the recommended 13 minutes. The egg white browns the dough considerably, so a temp of 375 would allow the tartlets to bake two or three more minutes to soften the filling before browning the dough.

Apple tartlets turned out nicely, and smelling just like my apple pie!

Apple tartlets turned out nicely, and smelling just like my apple pie!

I’m quite pleased with how these turned out. They smelled just like my apple pies, so these will taste great. No filling spilled out, despite the fact that I didn’t poke a whole in the dough.

I’m not sharing any packaging details because I’m writing this before Valentine’s Day and I haven’t decided what to do yet. If whatever I come up with is worth sharing, I will!

Happy February, and happy baking!

EDIT TO ADD: My Valentine suggested that I should have taken a picture of him enjoying the tartlets, which is a great idea. Too bad I didn’t think of it when I gave it to him! He reassures me that he loved his gift. 🙂

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