When Chele announced that apples were the special ingredient for this month’s We Should Cocoa, my heart sank a little. I have made so many chocolate cakes and puddings with apple this autumn already I was hoping for something a little different. But, hey, this is a challenge, so I had a little think and realised I didn’t need to bake another cake or a pudding after all. No indeed, I would make up my very own apple and chocolate Danish pastry. I know I could have made my own pastry and made my own marzipan, but time was short so I cheated a little.
This is what I did:
- Poured 100ml water into a small pan and added a couple of inches of cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Brought to a simmer.
- Peeled, cored and sliced 1 large Cornish cooking apple.
- Added apple slices to the pan and simmered for about 2 minutes – trying not to overdo them so they turned to mush.
- Removed apple slices with a slotted spoon and left to drain.
- Simmered the syrup for a further 3 minutes to thicken it.
- Rolled out a pack of 375g all butter puff pastry into a large square.
- Cut off the edges to neaten the square, then cut into 8 rectangles.
- Squidged the edges into a ball and rolled out into another rectangle, making 9 in total.
- Placed a large square (from a 125g bar with 10 squares) of 70% plain Ecuadorian chocolate on each rectangle.
- Cut a 200g block of marzipan into 9 pieces and rolled into rectangles slightly smaller than the pastry ones.
- Placed these over the chocolate and pressed down into the pastry to seal it so the chocolate wouldn’t leak out – or at least that was what I was hoping!
- Laid three apple slices across the top of the marzipan.
- Scatter some flaked almonds over the top.
- Baked at 200C for 15 mins until risen and nicely browned.
- Immediately brushed the tops and sides with the syrup.
- Transferred to a wire rack to cool.
Chele, I’m sorry for doubting you. I was ecstatically pleased with these pastries. If you really want to wow your guests, for a mid-morning snack, afternoon tea or even as dessert at a dinner party, these are the ones to do it. So simple, but so delicious. Best eaten whilst the chocolate is still melted, a la pain au chocolat, but these are nearly as good when the chocolate has set. The sweetness of the marzipan was offset by the slightly tart apples and the dark chocolate creating a classy treat that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Viennese coffee house – who am I kidding 😉