As I was pondering how to use a small amount of lion’s mane I had leftover, I remembered an ingredient I hadn’t used in years. Filo (or phyllo) dough- sheets of delicate, tissue paper thin dough that could be layered with butter to create a flakey, crisp and buttery shell. I ended up making around 20 small bites of lion’s mane, cashew cream, shallots, black walnuts and dulse before looking at the remainder of the filo dough roll in front of me. There wasn’t a ton extra- not enough to save- and a few of the sheets were ripped.
I decided to use the extra sheets to make a quick dessert, using apples (which I’ve had in plenty ever since my annual apple picking adventure) and a little maple syrup to add to the sweetness. I spent some time arranging my apple slices from green to yellow to pink to red- there’s nothing like a carefully laid out ombre to fancy a dessert up a little- and popped it in the oven, hoping it would be good but not too concerned either way. It turns out it was amazing- the edge where I had rolled the filo was crunchy and buttery. The apples were soft, and the most amazing part of all was where the apples, maple syrup, and filo dough met- sweet, almost melting away for a moment, only brought back to earth by the brightness of the apples. Not to mention it was gorgeous, and only used four ingredients.
The apples I selected were different colors, which allowed me to create the blushing sunset effect on the top of my tart. If you don’t have different colored apples, or perhaps you don’t feel like sorting through your apple slices to find the appropriately pink slice to settle next to the yellow ones, good for you- you’ll save a lot of time that way. If you do want to try an ombre effect, one tip I have is to make sure you start to introduce the new colored apple a line or two before you completely switch over- a well placed slice of the new color will give the appearance of the gradually blending, rather than a line between the two shades.
I added to the crispy factor by creating a border around the edges of the tart- it full sheets of filo dough originally took up almost the entire silicone mat in the picture above- by rolling it tightly, and gluing it down with butter, I was able to create an extra crispy, buttery edge. In order to make sure the rest of the filo dough is crispy, and doesn’t get soggy from the maple syrup and juice from the apples, it is important to cook for 10 minutes in the oven alone before adding the other ingredients. Once you have baked the filo, you can begin assembling the tart by adding around 1 tbps of maple syrup directly on top and spreading it around- just enough that the entire crust has a thin layer of syrup. After adding the apples in rows, you can finish the tart my drizzling the rest of the melted butter and maple syrup over the apples. It will cook for about 25 minutes- make sure to spin it 180 degrees about halfway through to make sure it cooks evenly. Let it cool for a couple minutes after it has finished cooking before slicing into pieces and devouring it.
Filo Maple Apple Tart
- 6 sheets of filo dough, defrosted
- Half a stick (4 TBPS) of earth balance, or other vegan butter, melted.
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 apples
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lay a silicone mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet and brush a thin coat of melted vegan butter on. Lay a filo sheet down on top of it, brush with butter and place another filo sheet on top. Continue until all 6 of the sheets have been used. To create a border, roll the edges inward about 1 inch, using a final coat of butter to glue the edge down. Put the pan with the filo crust in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
2. While the crust bakes, core the apple by evenly cutting the four sides off. Laying the flat surfaces down, cut thin slices in the shape of half-moons.
3. After the filo has baked for 10 minutes, remove from the oven. It should have started to become golden and crispy. Pour a tablespoon or so of the maple syrup directly on the filo, and spread evenly. Next layer the apples in rows, making sure the rows are somewhat offset. Pour the remaining maple syrup and butter evenly across the apples. Return the tart to the oven, and cook for 25 minutes, flipping it 180 degrees halfway through.