Hooray! We’ve made it past the Christmas rush…and now, it’s onto planning New Year’s festivities. If you’re hosting a party or going to one to ring in 2019, I’ve got an easy make-ahead dessert for you! Since we’re going into a new year, can we talk about a new apple?
I’m picky with my apples since I hate the mushy textured ones and now I have a new apple that I love. They’re called Pazazz…and if you love Honeycrisps, you’re going to love these more. The apples have a firm texture that’s crispy, they’re sweet with a bit of tartness that keeps your taste buds from being blown out from too much sweet. The skins are also tender, so you don’t need to peel them, which means less work and less waste. I just love their crispness so much with the juiciness of the apple and together, it makes a refreshing bite! Even my godparents’ doggy BoBo loves them!
So, how did these apples come about? Nearly ten years ago, growers took a Honeycrisp seed and started a process of careful cross pollination to get an apple with the same crunch, but a unique flavor profile. Now the apples are grown sustainably by family-owned orchards across the United States. Pazazz also have great storability, meaning they last a long time when stored properly, which is what I love because that means I can buy a bunch and keep them on hand for when I want or need them.
Pazazz sent me some apples to taste and asked me to create a recipe featuring them. From the first bite, I was addicted and it was hard to keep the rest for recipe testing! So I know they’ll be amazing as a snack or part of a meal and even used in desserts.
With the new year also comes new resolutions to eat healthier and reduce or cut out refined sugars from diets! So even if you don’t make this dessert recipe, you should get some Pazazz apples because you can curb your craving for something sweet naturally with them.
They’re already in Safeway stores in San Francisco. Just look for them with the rest of the apples! Plus the red sticker that says “Pazazz” also makes it easy to identify them. In January, you’ll be able to find them at other Safeway locations around the Bay Area, as well as Mariano’s in San Jose and Oakland. For my non-Californians, you can find out where to get them by going to Pazazz’s website: http://pazazzapple.com/#findpazazz
Okay! Now onto the recipe. There isn’t a lot of sugar in this recipe and that’s because the apples are sweet enough to not need a lot added to them. Plus, I really wanted have the flavor of the apple come through without too much added sugar.
Pixie’s Pazazz Pecan Puffs
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 3.4oz package instant vanilla pudding, prepared according to package directions
- 1 ½ cups whipped cream or whipped topping
- 1 Pazazz Apple, finely diced (you can leave the skin on)
- ⅓ cup of chopped dry roasted pecans
- ½ teaspoon pie spice mix or cinnamon
- Powdered sugar for garnishing
- Prepare vanilla pudding mix according to directions and store in the fridge as directed.
- Place the diced apples into a skillet heated over medium heat. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the brown sugar, spice, and pecans. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the vanilla pudding, whipped cream/topping, and cooked apple pecan mixture. Stir until well combined. Cover the bowl tightly and leave in fridge until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a small saucepan combine the water, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the flour all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has formed a ball and has a slightly sweaty sheen to it and it has pulled away from the pan. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added.
- Using a stand mixer, or by hand, beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Do not add the next egg until the previous is fully incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and pipe 1-inch balls onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Leave at least 1-inch of space between each of the balls as they will expand in the oven. When done dip your finger in water and smooth the top of each ball where the pastry bag released the dough.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside. Cool on a rack.
- Working with one puff at a time, carefully cut them in half and place a heaping spoonful of the mixture into the bottom half of the puff. Lightly place the top back on it and give it a gentle press down. Continue until all the puffs are filled.
- Arrange on a serving platter and leave in the fridge until ready to serve. Prior to serving, add a dusting of powdered/confectioners sugar on top.