Delicious mini apple pies filled with a delicious apple filling with caramel, baked in a crispy puff pastry shell.
Place 2 sliced apples, 2/3 cups sugar, 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp vanilla extract in a pot over medium heat, do not cover with lid. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the apples are soft, and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Stir in 2 spoons of dulce de leche and allow to cool. Transferring the apple filling to a baking sheet and spreading the filling out will speed up this process.
Meanwhile, work on the pie crust and lattice top.
On a well floured surface lay out one of the thawed puff pastry sheet and cut it into 1/2 inch strips.
Make a lattice pattern with the strips (see video below). Use an inverted tart mold to cut circles out of the prepared puff pastry lattice. Transfer to a floured flat surface and set aside.
Roll the other puff pastry sheet slightly to about 10 inches x 10 inches.
Put the tart mold upside down and press out 4 circles. Now using your fingers press the puff pastry dough into the tart mold, especially pressing into the corners of the mold. Make sure the dough is pushed up and over the sides slightly (about 1/4 inches).
Fill the tarts with the cooled apple filling being careful not to touch the overhang of the dough.
Transfer the lattice tops using a bench scraper or anything else that will allow you to transfer without ruining the design to the tops of the mini pies.
Pinch together the edges of the tart and the edges of the lattice circle firmly together, sealing the filling inside. Trim off excess edges, or just crimp them with your fingers.
Freeze the mini apple pies for about 30 minutes. This is important as it will prevent the puff pastry crust from shrinking in the oven.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the rack in the middle.
Make the eggwash: With a fork whisk 1 egg and 1 Tbsp water together. Brush the egg wash on the pie tops. Sprinkle with coarse granulated sugar immediately.
Place the tarts on a baking sheet and loosely tent with foil. Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and allow the tops to golden up.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Then, carefully invert each tart into the palm of your hand lined with a folded paper towel. Next, invert the mini apple tarts onto a cooling rack.
Be very careful about handling the hot tarts as they might seep out hot juices. But, do not allow them to cool before unmolding as the caramelized sugars might make the mini apple tarts stick to the molds and prevent you from being able to remove them neatly.
Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or if serving chilled, top with a spoonful of whipped cream or a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
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