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Apples cooked in sugar, calvados, and butter topped with vanilla bean pastry cream, sandwiched between flaky, buttery puff pastry makes for the perfect dream dessert for my mom on Mothers Day! I enjoy treating my mom to something extra special on Mother’s Day. To me, the lunch and dessert I make her are so much more than just food. I enjoy taking the time to really think about what she would like most and coming up with the perfect menu and dessert for her. The ingredients are just part of what goes into making my mom a special dessert. The thought, time, and love that go into it are the way that I like to show my love and appreciation for my mom. This year, I really tried to think hard about what to make. My mom loves apples, and my vanilla bean pastry cream. So why not put them together to make an amazing Apple Custard Pastry?
I wanted this to be a fairly simple dessert that could mostly be made ahead of time so that I can relax on Mother’s Day. So I am using frozen puff pastry for the pastry portion of this apple custard pastry. The pastry cream can be made up to two days ahead of time, and the apples can be cooked one day ahead of time. To make the apples, I sautéed apple slices in a bit of butter, sugar, and calvados. The calvados gave the apples an amazing flavor! It is an apple brandy made in France. I was a bit surprised at the price of the smallest size bottle of calvados when I went to the liquor store. It was $19.99 for the bottle, and I was only using 1/2 TBS of it for this recipe. Why does everything from France have to cost so much? I asked the worker at the store what else I can use it for. She said it is wonderful in a summer sangria or splashed into coffee. I was tempted to buy the much cheaper $9.99 apple brandy made in America, but this was for a very special occasion, so I went for it and bought the calvados. I was so happy with the flavor of the apples! It was well worth the cost! Now I have to find a great sangria recipe to use it in! If you do not want to spend that much, just buy the good old american apple brandy. I tested this recipe earlier this week, and am so pleased with the results! It may be one of my new favorites, and I know my mom will love it!
Apple Custard Pastry
For the Pastry:
1 box of frozen puff pastry sheets
2 TBS Vanilla Sugar-You can purchase or make your own. See Baking Tips below to make your own
1 tablespoon of butter, melted
For the Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the Apples
3 Apples-I used honey crisp, but any good cooking apple will do
1/2 tablespoon calvados or apple brandy
1 tablespoon sugar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon butter
For the Pastry:
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 .Thaw puff pastry according to instructions on the box. Unfold one sheet of dough. cut along fold lines, then cut each section in half so you have 6 rectangles. Repeat with other sheet of dough.
3. Place rectangles onto baking sheet. Brush each rectangle with butter, and sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove the oven and cool completely on wire rack.
For the Pastry Cream:
1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
3. When the milk mixture comes to a simmer, very slowly pour 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to slowly add the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until it has all been incorporated.
4. Place a fine mesh strainer over your saucepan. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan through the mesh strainer to catch the vanilla bean pod and and any bits of egg.
5. Cook the mixture over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about two minutes.
6. Transfer the mixture to a an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attached, or a hand mixer. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
7. Place the pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
For the Apples:
1.Peel, core, and slice the apples 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
2. Melt butter in sauté pan. Add apples, sugar, and calvados. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until apples are just soft, stirring occasionally. Transfer to parchment linked baking sheet to cool completely. Apples can be made a day in advance. Store in refrigerator in an air tight container.
I recommend assembling no more than a couple of hours before serving to keep the pastry crisps and flaky.
1.Slice each puff pastry rectangle in half horizontally (like a hamburger bun) so you have a top and a bottom.
2. Layer cooked apples on the bottom of each pastry.
3. Top with a layer of pastry cream
4. Place the top of the pastry on the pastry cream.
5. Decorate by piping three rounds of pastry cream on top.
Recipe Source for Pastry Cream: Martha Stewarts Baking Handbook
*To make vanilla sugar: place 2 TBS of sugar into a bowl. Scrape the seeds from one half of a split vanilla bean and mix it into the sugar.
*Bake the pastry the day you serve the apple custard pastry
*The pastry cream can be made 2 days in advance and the apples can be made one day in advance.
Bake and Share Ideas:
- Make the apple custard pastry for your mom on mother’s day!
- Bring the apple custard pastry to share at your next BBQ!
- Make the apple custard pastry and take it along for dessert on picnic!