Things are rosy on the Internet these days, at least if you’re perusing baking sites. Pinterest has a whole page devoted to apple roses, and a scroll through Facebook regularly unearths someone’s video for rolling apple slices in a strip of puff pastry.
It’s easy to see why the technique is popular: The glimpse of peel along the top of each “petal” creates the illusion of a red rose. But certain recipes are wanting. Sometimes it’s the method, saying no more than: Wrap the strips into apple roses. In some tarts, the apples remain disconcertingly raw or steamed. Other pies, while gorgeous, look challenging to slice and still retain their beauty.
The apple rose technique generally is credited to famed French pastry chef Alain Passard, who came up with his Bouquet of Roses tart several years ago. (A YouTube video explains his thinking.)
All of this got us to thinking about how to highlight this technique in a personal dessert — because we love individual tarts — with a little extra pizazz. What we came up melds a sort of cheese Danish with apple roses.
Sure, it requires a little more effort than sliding sliced apples into a pie crust. But making the posies isn’t as tricky at it looks, and the impact-to-effort ratio is hugely tilted toward oohs and ahhs.
We used frozen puff pastry, but if you have a favorite homemade recipe, go for it.
One key to success is giving the apple roses a filling firm enough in which to anchor them, but delicate enough to bake in the brief time that the pastry requires. The cream cheese of a good Danish pastry sounded right, its flavor bolstered with some apple jelly.
An egg wash tinged with cinnamon ensures that the pastry emerges from the oven with a glossy finish, but with flavor to boot.
As to the apples, choose the reddest-skinned fruits you can find. We’ve used SweeTango, Pink Lady and Cortland with success. Larger apples give you longer slices to work with.
Use your sharpest knife to cut the apple halves into thin slices. Really thin slices. (If you watch the Passard video and see the lengths of paper-thin apple that a professional kitchen can produce, you will hate him just a little. Nonetheless, carry on.)
Microwaving a plateful of slices makes them pliable enough to bend like petals. Once the core posy is formed, set it on a paper towel to absorb some moisture before placing it on the filling.
Also, to ensure the flakiest puff pastry, keep the cut and filled squares (directions will explain) in the refrigerator until all the roses are formed. Once you complete the roses, brush with some melted apple jelly and pop the tarts into a hot oven. They’re best fresh, but rewarm well within
24 hours for a breakfast treat.
As nice as it is to receive roses, it’s pretty great to give them, as well — especially when they taste so good.
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185