I have a confession to make:
Pie does Not happen at my house.
My kitchen skills are so-so. I am quite good with bread and cookies and cakes (although not decorating them). I can make a mean salad. I am able to cook veggies any way you want them--boiled, steamed, baked, roasted. And I am often kinda-sorta brilliant with soup, if I do say so myself. But I cannot put a proper meal on the table, and I cannot make pie. You've gotta be honest about where your talents lie: for me, pie is Not It.
But it's the 4th of July. And there were seriously no goodies in the house. No picnic food; no potato salad; certainly no hot dogs (not even the carrot variety). :::::sigh::::: As usual, it's just me celebrating all by my lonesome but I wanted a treat anyway. I grumped and grumbled for awhile, and then I looked into the still fairly empty freezer. There it was: Holiday Rescue in a Box. Half a packet of puff pastry leftover from Christmas. Yay!
And here's what happened next, recipe-wise:
I de-frosted the pastry (easily done; just let the package sit on the counter for an hour). Then I got a couple of clearance sale Fuji apples out of the fridge. I pared, cored, and roughly chopped them. I mixed up brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, and salt. Then I tossed the apples with the sugar mixture. I spread out the sheet of puff pastry but I didn't bother to roll it out (although any proper set of directions would tell you to do precisely that). I cut the pastry into six pieces and stretched each out a bit before I placed them in the cups of a buttered muffin tin. I portioned out the apples and sugar into the cups and added a teaspoon of margarine to each. Then I folded the corners of the pastry inward and pinched them closed. I melted about a tablespoon of margarine and poured it over the tops of the six little tarts. The oven was pre-heated to 375. I baked the tarts for 25 minutes until they were nicely golden and crispy.
Yes, there are only four on the plate. I already ate two! And I'm not a bit sorry. They are so good! Just the treat I wanted for today. And, yes, they are not particularly pretty--kindly remember that I can't do pastry; I was more interested in function than form anyhow and, in that sense, they are just right.
Now, if I had had different ingredients, I might have done other things like maybe adding raisins or berries or nuts. I might have put a dollop of cream cheese in there, too. Or I could have served them with sour cream on top. (Yeah, I completely prefer sour cream where Everyone Else uses whipped cream. Go figure. Odd Me. I especially love it on strawberries.) There's a lot you can do with simple fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cooking ideas. It's kinda more fun sometimes than using an actual recipe.
So there you have it. As American as Apple Tarts. Perfect for Independence Day.
Life is good.