Why use apples and honey to signify a sweet year? After checking several sources, the most convincing explanation I found is from the Union for Reform Judaism: apples, which were rare and treasured, symbolize the relationship between people and God and honey was the most widely available sweetener in the Jewish world in ancient times. By the way, although the apple is traditionally associated with the Garden of Eden, the URJ notes that the Bible does not identify the forbidden fruit.
To follow the custom of eating apples and honey at Rosh Hashanah, you could merely dip apple slices in honey – and that’s lovely. But really, wouldn’t you rather have your very own apple and honey tarts?
Made with ready-made puff pastry, these apple and honey tarts are simple and quick to prepare. Each puff pastry sheet makes 6 single-serving tarts. They are easy to eat too. My husband grabbed one from a batch sitting on the cooling rack and he gobbled it up without a plate or napkin.
Single Serving Apple and Honey Tarts
Cost – $4.50 Servings – 6 Inspired by Quick Apple Tart
- 1 – 1½ apples
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 sheet of ready-made puff pastry (Generally sold frozen. Don’t buy the shells – look for sheets, usually 2 to a package)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- ¼ cup apricot or other light colored jam
- Measuring spoons
- Cookie sheet and parchment paper or silicone mat
- Cutting board
- 1 medium bowl
- 2 small bowls
- Microwave or small pot
- Pastry brush (or small spoon if you don’t have a brush)
- Metal spatula
- Wire rack
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and defrost the puff pastry. (My frozen puff pastry instructions call for thawing it at room temperature for no more than 40 minutes.) The dough should be cool and not too soft when you cut it, so don’t let it defrost for too long. If the dough becomes too soft, put it back in the refrigerator to chill.
- Cut the apple (or 1½ apples if they are small) into thin slices, about ¼-inch thick. I use a flavorful apple that won’t disintegrate in cooking – Golden Delicious work well, as do many other varieties. Macintosh are too soft, and besides, I find them too bland.
- Toss the apple slices with several squeezes of lemon juice and set them aside in a bowl. (After you toss them with the lemon juice they won’t turn brown.)
- Cut the pastry dough into 6 pieces and place them on the parchment or silicone mat. My dough was folded in thirds, so I cut along the fold lines and then cut each of the 3 long strips in half.
- Using a fork, pierce a rectangle on each piece of dough about ¼ – ½-inch from the edges and also prick inside the rectangle. Wherever you haven’t pierced the dough it will puff up; using this method, you’ll get a border of puff pastry with the apple slices in the middle.
- Heat the honey and cinnamon and mix them together. I microwave them at about 50% power for about 20 seconds, then stir them and heat for a bit longer. Be careful not to burn the honey. Brush the rectangles inside with about half of the mixture, setting aside the remainder. Place about 4 apple slices in a row with a piece or whole slice along each side if you can slip them underneath. Sprinkle the slivered almonds. Add the melted butter to the remaining honey and cinnamon mixture, then spread it over the apples. You may be able to brush the mixture on if you are careful, but drizzling is fine too.
- Bake the tarts for approximately 15-17 minutes, until their edges are puffy and light brown.
- While the tarts bake, heat the jam with a squeeze or two of the lemon juice. (Again, microwaving works well.)
- Drizzle the jam on top and bake the tarts for another 5 minutes, until the jam bubbles slightly.
- Cool the tarts on the pan for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack with a metal spatula. They are best eaten the day you bake them, but will keep wrapped in foil for a day or two, re-warmed to crisp them back up if necessary
Whether you celebrate Jewish holidays or not, and whether you have any religious traditions or not, I wish you a happy, healthy, and peaceful year.