Everybody loves their own dessert, and kids (of all ages!) will love these clever apple treats that are served in individual golden filo cups.
Tart organic apples simmered with raisins, cinnamon and just a small amount of sugar to create a tasty filling that lets the fruit's flavor shine through. Then to hold it, squares of filo pastry get molded into a muffin pan to form thin, crispy shells for the fruit filling. A sprinkle of walnuts in the crumble topping adds a bit of crunch.
Using whole wheat pastry flour here adds a little more nutrition and fiber; it's so much lighter than traditional whole wheat flour that it works beautifully in these little desserts. You'll find it in well-stocked supermarkets and specialty grocers, and at Whole Foods.
Try varying the recipe by substituting organic pears for the apples or dried cranberries for the raisins. Kids love to use their hands, so enlist them in helping to work the butter into the flour-sugar mixture, and later in sprinkling the topping over the filo cups. Nothing builds an appetite like helping to create a delicious, aromatic treat!
|4 large||firm organic apples, such as Fuji or Braeburn (peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks,about 4 cups)|
|1/2 cup||organic raisins|
|1 tablespoon||organic apple juice or water|
|1||cinnamon stick (3 inches long)|
|1||strip of lemon peel (or 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice)|
|3||sheets of filo dough (approximately 13 x 17 inches each)|
|2 tablespoons||unsalted butter (melted)|
|1/4 cup||whole wheat pastry flour|
|2 tablespoons||unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)|
|2 tablespoons||chopped walnuts|
|1/8 teaspoon||ground cinnamon|
|Whipped cream (as garnish)|
Combine the apples, raisins, sugar, apple juice, cinnamon and lemon peel in a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture simmers. Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until the apples are just soft, about 8 minutes.
Turn off the heat, cover the skillet, and let the apple mixture sit for 2 minutes. Remove the cover and let the mixture cool, about 10 minutes. When the apples are cool, discard the cinnamon stick and the lemon peel.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Cut each sheet of filo pastry in half lengthwise, then stack the pieces on top of one another and cut crosswise into 3 equal squares. You should end up with 6 squares per sheet, each approximately 6.5x5 inches — a total of 18 squares of pastry from the 3 sheets of dough. Cover the squares with a damp kitchen towel so the dough doesn’t dry out as you work with the pieces.
Lightly brush one side of 4 squares of filo pastry with some of the melted butter. Line 4 muffin pan wells (alternate, not adjacent to each other) with one square of dough each, pressing the filo gently into the cup with your fingers so that it loosely molds to the cup’s shape. Some of the pastry should extend beyond the edges of the muffin wells. Don’t worry if the dough tears; the subsequent layers of filo pastry will cover any cracks or holes.
Butter 4 more squares of filo and place them one at a time on top of the first sheet, rotating them by 90 degrees each time, so that the overhanging corners of each sheet fills in the spaces between previous ones. Repeat this step with the remaining filo squares, arranging each successive layer so that the overhanging pastry edges form a ruffly circle of dough.
Divide the apple mixture equally among each of the 4 filo cups.
Make the crumble topping by combining the flour and sugar in a small bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, rub the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnuts and cinnamon.
Sprinkle some of the crumble mixture over each of the filo cups. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and let it cool. Carefully remove the filo cups from the pan and serve with whipped cream, if desired.