Pretty little Apple Rose Tartlets have been populating my Instagram feed. Darling bijoux works of art constructed from little more than layers of thinly sliced apple and butter puff. So impossibly gorgeous, my interest could not help but be piqued. Thanks to Manuela from Cooking With Manuela the secret is out – the process is not nearly as complicated and intimidating as it might appear. Using thawed sheets of puff pastry from the freezer and apples from the fruit bowl, these gorgeous little beauties can be rolled, baked, dusted with icing sugar and ready to be enjoyed in just under an hour. No fancy pastry chef skills required.
With crisp and juicy new season apples in plentiful supply, this is the perfect recipe for Autumn baking. Whilst in her post Manuela used unpeeled red skinned apples to give her tartlets a rosy hue, on the day my baking muse visited I only had green granny smith apples at my disposal. To peel or not to peel? Not wanting green tinged roses, I peeled. Yesterday at the markets I bought a big bag of Pink Ladies, my next batch this weekend will be unpeeled.
The next step is to core the apples and slice them into halves. Each half is then sliced into paper thin slices and placed into a bowl of acidulated water to avoid discoloration. To ensure the apples are pliable enough to make rolling of the rosettes easier, its a good idea to give them a quick blast in the microwave. Make sure the apple slices have been drained and are completely dry before assembling your pastries.
Apples done, it’s time to slice the puff pastry sheets into a dozen strips and brush each strip with a little heated apricot jam. Averse as I am to soggy pastry I decided to sprinkle over an extra streusel like layer of almond meal, demerara sugar and cinnamon. Ostensibly to soak up any errant moisture from the apples, but also to add a little more flavour.
Then let the apple layering begin. As shown in the photo, I arranged six to eight apple slices in a pretty overlapping scallop edged pattern over the top edge of each pastry strip, folding up the bottom edge of the pastry to anchor the apple slices for rolling.
Each apple encased strip is gently but tightly rolled in a coil to form a rosette, before being placed into a muffin tin. Baked in a hot oven until crisp and golden, dusted with icing sugar, they will be ready to be enjoyed within an hour.
Unfussy and straightforward, this truly is pretty baking at its very best. I love how there is room for personal reinterpretation in this recipe. No doubt my next batch will look a little less rustic – particularly when I use my blushing Pink Ladies and leave their skins on. Perhaps next time I might leave a little more of the apple exposed. However rustic or professional they look, what matters most is every crisp, flaky mouthful is utterly delicious. Minimum effort for maximum effect – my kind of recipe.
Apple Rose Tartlets
Inspired by Cooking With Manuela
3 frozen square puff pastry sheets, thawed
3 large granny smith apples
freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup apricot jam
3 heaped tablespoons almond meal
3 heaped tablespoons demerara or brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
icing sugar, for dusting
SQUEEZE lemon juice into a medium sized bowl of water.
PEEL and core apples, cut into half, then slice each half into paper thin slices, aim for 12 -16 slices depending on the size of each apple half. Place the sliced apples into the bowl of acidulated water to avoid discolouration.
MICROWAVE the bowl of sliced apples on medium power for about 3 minutes, to slightly soften. The apple slices need to be pliable so that the roses are easier to roll.
STRAIN apple slices. Transfer to a large paper lined plate and pat dry with sheets of paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Set aside to cool.
PREHEAT oven to 200 C. Line the bases of a large 12 hole muffin tray with squares of baking paper.
COMBINE almond meal, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
MICROWAVE apricot jam on medium power for a minute or so to loosen.
UNWRAP puff pastry sheets. Cut each sheet into four 6cm wide strips. You should have 12 strips – one for each apple rose.
FOR EACH APPLE ROSE, take a long strip of pastry, brush with apricot jam and sprinkle over a little of the almond meal,sugar and cinnamon mixture.
ARRANGE 6-8 apple slices in an overlapping layer over the top half of your pastry strip. The rounded top edges of each apple slice should extend a little over the top of the pastry sheet to give the baked tartlet a pretty scalloped look.
FOLD the bottom edge of the pastry strip up to cover 2/3 to 3/4 of the apple slices to secure them. Carefully but tightly roll up the pastry encased apple strips. Pinch the end to seal and place the apple rose, apple side facing up into a paper lined muffin hole.
REPEAT until all 12 pastry strips have been filled and rolled.
BAKE in a preheated 200 C oven, middle or lower rack position, for 30-35 minutes until pastry is crisp and apples are deeply golden. If apples appear to colour too quickly, loosely cover with a sheet of tin foil, and continue to bake until pastry is cooked.
REMOVE pastries from oven, transfer to a wire cooling rack and dust with a shower of icing sugar to serve.