Apple Rose Tarts (rose-shaped mini apple tarts) are easier to make than you would ever imagine: Thin apple slices are cooked slightly, rolled into strips of simple pastry dough, then baked and glazed.
They are prepared with only 6
ingredients, including water, and that's if you're making them from scratch.
But you can opt for ready-made pastry dough if you like, making the job even
easier but no more lovely.
This recipe makes many mini apple tarts, about 18 to 20, a number that fluctuates with the cook, however. They come out best when baked in paper cupcake liners and /or in a muffin pan, to help hold their shape. Use any kind of apples you like, but red apples have a wonderful color contrast.
4 large apples
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups all-purpose or cake flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
Don't peel the apples. (Yay!) Cut them in half top to bottom and remove the cores. Lay the apple halves face down and cut them into thin slices.
Pour the water, sugar and honey into a large pot over medium heat. Add the apple slices and toss very gently, coating the apples with the sugar water. Cook, tossing gently now and then, just until the apples are soft and flexible, 5 minutes or so. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid, and cool.
Meantime, prepare the dough. Stir the flour and soft butter together. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and stir into a ball. If necessary, add a tablespoon of sugar water at a time; the dough should be neither dry nor sticky. Knead the dough ball until smooth, 1 or 2 minutes.
Working with half the dough at a time, roll it out into a thin square, 9 or 10 inches. With a knife or pizza wheel, trim any ragged edges and cut the square into strips 1-inch wide or little less.
Depending on size, lay 6 or 7 apple half-moons along one edge of a dough strip, overlapping them, with the rounded tops sitting slightly over the edge. Roll it up in the opposite direction that you laid the apples out. Repeat, lots. Place the roses in cupcake liners and/or muffin tins or baking sheets.
Bake in a preheated 350˚ oven until the dough is flakey and lighty browned, 20-25 minutes, give or take. Keep an eye on them.
Caramel Glaze, optional
The sugar water the apples are cooked in gives them a slight glaze but here's an optional crispy caramel glaze that makes the roses positively glow. Nice touch. But don't start the glaze until the tarts are out of the oven.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of a heavy pan, over medium heat. Heat dry until the sugar melts and turns light brown. Pour in the water, stirring like crazy and being mindful of hot splatters, and continue cooking for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and brush the roses with the glaze.
Forgot to Buy Roses? Make these or Apple Rose Pie