The Viral Thousand-Layer Bake That's Perfect For Post-Apple Picking

Apple season is here — the months of September to November to be exact. While this time is still upon us, the coziest fall activity to do is go apple picking. The only downside of apple picking is that you end up taking too many apples home — more than what you can eat. But there's no such thing as too much of a good thing when your kitchen has the potential to be filled with the warm scent of apple recipes. If you're looking for some cinnamon-filled inspiration before you bake yet another apple pie (a time-consuming classic), try something with a similar flavor, but smaller and easier to make. The viral thousand-layer bake is perfect for post-apple picking.

The thousand-layer apple has a very intriguing name. Although it doesn't have a thousand layers in it, it certainly has way more than you'd expect. As seen in a viral Instagram post, this baked apple pastry consists of thinly sliced layers of apple resting atop a delicate puff pastry. It has predominant flavor notes of butter, cinnamon, and apple. They are baked in small ramekins, containing roughly one apple each. Thus, these unique pastries are the perfect single-serving desserts that are easy to make in large groups.

The thousand-layer apple is a simple yet elegant pastry

The thousand-layer apple is all about how you slice it. Quite literally, the thin slices are its most unique feature. The apples should be skinned, cored, and sliced by a mandolin to make donut-shaped slices that are nearly transparent. When stacked upon each other, these ultra-thin layers add to the delicateness of the pastry. Another key aspect of this pastry is the butter-cinnamon sugar mixture that coats each slice of apple. This mixture gets absorbed into the apples as they cook and softens them into a custard-like texture. The softness of the fruit and crispiness of the puff pastry create a very light dessert that is best eaten warm. Naturally, it's even better when served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

In fact, as some commenters pointed out, this thousand-layer apple is very similar to a French pastry called the apple tarte tatin. However, the tarte apples are cut into thick slices and cooked in a handmade caramel sauce before being assembled into the pan and baked. Accordingly, this French tart is caramel-forward, whereas the thousand-layer apple tastes of cinnamon and butter. But making caramel is never easy, and so the thousand-layer apple, despite its thin slicing, is an easier dessert to make. It's the perfect treat for those who want to use up their freshly picked apples quickly and deliciously.