I used to brag that I could make a swan out of an apple, but chicks don't dig swans—they dig roses. So now I'm going to brag about making apple roses, because you would, too, if you could get them to look like this:
Now that's an apple tart that will win the ladies over. (And definitely 100% tastier than the usual bouquet of roses, and 100% less greasy than a bouquet of bacon.)
You may remember individual puff pastry apple rose tarts... which may have been cool by 2015 standards. But this year, we're moving onto bigger, more impressive things. And luckily, these are just as easy to make as the individual tarts.
- baked pie/tart shell
- pastry cream
- crisp, colorful apples
- fresh lemon juice
- granulated sugar
Begin by baking your tart crust. You can either buy a pre-baked shell or make your own. I like to use Smitten Kitchen's great unshrinkable sweet tart shell recipe. It's sweet and tender like a sugar cookie, and doesn't shrink too much in the oven like many tart shells do.
Once your pie shell is in the oven, you can start making the pastry cream. The Kitchn has a great recipe accompanied by detailed directions to ensure your pastry cream is pudding-smooth, because no one wants a tart filled with scrambled eggs... (unless we're having quiche maybe?) If you're short on time, you can also buy instant pastry cream online.
When your pie crust is baked and your pastry cream is cooled completely, go ahead and fill the crust with the pastry cream. Smooth it out so the surface is nice and even for your apple rose display.
Next, slice your apples as thin as possible with the peel on. A mandoline slicer can be very helpful with this step.
Fan out the sliced apples on a large plate, then squeeze fresh lemon juice over them and sprinkle with sugar. Since we can't bend a raw apple in half without breaking it, we're going to need to zap the apples in the microwave to "bake" and soften them.
Cover the plate with plastic wrap and microwave on high for one minute. Check the apples to see if they are soft enough to roll like a Fruit Roll-Up. If the apples are still stiff, continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until they are completely flexible. Then, let the apples cool for a few minutes.
It's time to make apple roses. Start by rolling an apple up like how I said before, "a Fruit Roll-Up." This will be the center of your rose.
Place the center of the rose gently into the pastry cream and hold onto it with one hand while you use your other hand to surround it with layers of apple "petals." Each petal should wrap halfway around the outside of the last petal. Repeat these steps until the tart is completely filled with apple roses. You can fill in the small gaps with apple "buds," or small roses.
To make the apple roses sparkle, sprinkle them with more granulated sugar. Then, appreciate your work of art for a brief moment before slicing up and enjoying your masterpiece!
I know how seriously we all take apple pie around the holidays, but change is good: an apple rose tart is a great alternative for your typical apple pie this holiday season. It's still apple, so we aren't breaking any rules here. Plus, it's utterly delicious and undeniably gorgeous. I guarantee that if you put this on your dessert table this holiday season, your friends and family will applaud your artistic apple skills.
And if you really are trying to impress the ladies with your mad apple skills... well, mission accomplished!