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by Liren Baker

Liren Baker is the voice behind the blog Kitchen Confidante, where she shares taste and inspiration in the kitchen. Inspired by the beauty of food, what it represents, what it invokes, and what we can create out of it, she shares recipes and images that remind her of her heritage, her childhood in New York, and the vibrant culinary culture she has learned to embrace in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives.

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  • Photo Credit​: Liren Baker
  • Easy as pie.

    That's how the saying goes. Pie may be easy to eat -- oh so very easy -- but they can certainly be more than challenging to make.

    Chances are, you remember quite clearly the very first pie you baked. Perhaps it came easy to you, maybe you are one of the lucky ones who were born with deft crimping skills racing through your blood. Or maybe you are more like me, requiring more practice and experimentation to develop those dough handling abilities.

  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • As much as I am quite comfortable making pies now, there is one particular pie my husband has begged me to never bake. Can you believe? Having this mandate never sits well with me, but I can understand his reasoning.

    Just a short walk away stands a wonderful gourmet market, with an equally wonderful bakery. I am the type to bake my own treats, but I will concede that they do the apple pie to perfection. Absolute perfection. The crust is light and just rich enough. The apples the perfect tenderness. So, I can sympathize with my husband's pleas to never make another apple pie again. But I find ways to skirt around his wish.
  • Photo Credit: Liren Baker
  • When I see gorgeous apples like this, I can't resist baking with them. I'll use them in turnovers, crisps, and cakes. With moldable sheets of puff pastry, I have now found a treat my husband finds irresistible, buttery sweet Maple Glazed Apple Blossoms.

    It has everything you might want in a miniature bite: morsels of apple soaked in a bath of maple syrup, buttery flakes of pastry, and a caramelized maple glaze drizzled on top.

    The only thing better might be to dust it with some powdered sugar. As I saw the plateful of apple blossoms slowly disappear, I secretly thought to myself, they're like miniature apple pies! But easier.
  • Photo Credit​: Liren Baker
  • MAPLE GLAZED APPLE BLOSSOMS

    Makes 2 dozen

    Ingredients

    1. 2 cups peeled and diced apples (I used Honeycrisp)
    2. 1 cup maple syrup
    3. 1/2 cup brown sugar
    4. 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    5. 1-2 sheets of puff pastry
    6. 1 egg
    7. butter or cooking spray
    8. powdered sugar, optional

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Very lightly coat a mini muffin pan with butter or cooking spray.

    Combine the apples, maple syrup, brown sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring it to a low boil, then let it simmer until the apples are just tender, about 5 minutes. Let the mixture sit and thicken slightly.

    Cut out 2 1/4 inch squares of puff pastry and press into the mini muffin pan. Whisk the egg and brush on the pastries. Bake for about 10 minutes then remove from oven.

    Carefully spoon about a teaspoon of apples into each pastry and return to the oven to bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Meanwhile, return the remaining syrup to simmer over low heat until it is thick and can coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

    When the apple blossoms are baked, remove them from the muffin pans. Drizzle each with the maple syrup glaze. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

    Enjoy!

    -Liren
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