Apple roses tart with thyme
If I have to choose between chocolate cake or apple tart, it will be apple tart (almost) every time. I apologize to all you chocolate lovers out there especially because I know all too well that sometimes only a chocolate will do, but the tart and sweet flavours of apple desserts win me over, especially when combined with a buttery, flakey pastry.
I jumped on the apple roses bandwagon a while back, but it doesn’t have to be only apples. Anything that can be sliced thinly and holds its shape can be rolled up into a rose: think nectarines, kiwi, mango plums and more. The secret is to slice the fruits very thinly, preferably on a mandolin or a slicer that yields even-thickness slices in the flick of the wrist. Otherwise, you’d have to have pretty good knife skills to achieve this.
I wanted to make this tart much like an apple pie so I chopped a couple of apples first and filled the shell with these, then made the roses for the top and anchored them into the filling.
The pastry is simple and can me made in a food processor and refrigerated for a couple of days before using, or frozen and then defrosted in the fridge overnight. I use this pastry for open galettes and tarts. To bake it you will need a tart pan with removable bottom and fluted edges.
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, very cold (or use vegetables shortening for a vegan version)
4 tablespoons ice water (about)
Place flour, salt and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add cold butter and pulse a few times to break down the butter. Continue pulsing until butter is coated with the flour and the mixture is crumbly. Do not over mix.
Add the water, a tablespoon at a time and run the processor until mixture begins to clump together but does not form a ball quite yet.
Empty the dough onto a pastry board or your clean counter and bring it together with your hands (I often work on a piece of parchment, easy to clean that way). You can sprinkle the work surface with a light dusting of flour to prevent the buttery dough from sticking. Work fairly quickly, you do not want your warm hands to melt the butter in the pastry. As soon as you have a ball of pastry smooth it to bring it together and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes or overnight. I make this dough a day in advance, cut it in half, wrap each half with plastic and refrigerate until needed.
When ready to proceed remove half the dough from the fridge and let it warm up on the counter for a 2-3 minutes only so it is pliable enough to roll. It will soften as you roll it. I usually beat the ball of dough a few times (ouch) with the roller to soften the butter and flatten it into a disk.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it over the tart pan. Ease the edges into place and smooth the bottom into the corners.
If you have overhanging dough roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan, it will cut off the excess dough.
This can also be done a day in advance. Cover with plastic and keep in the fridge overnight, or let it chill for at least 30 minutes before baking. No need to bring back to room temperature before baking as you want the pastry to remain cold.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves and flowers
2 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut in small pieces. You will use this to dot the apple filling once in the tart shell.
Remove the peel from the apple with a vegetable peeler in one long strip. You will use this to create an apple peel rose for the tart. Set aside.
Combine diced apple with lemon juice in a bowl, then add the sugar, cinnamon and thyme and mix. Set aside.
2 red skinned apples
Juice from 1 lemons
A bowl of water
1 tablespoon sugar. You will use this to sprinkle over the tart before baking.
1/4 cup apricot jelly (or jam) melted (for brushing over the baked tart.
Add lemon juice to water in the bowl.
Cut apples into four sections around the core, discarding the core.
Slice each quarter on a mandolin or another slicer into very thin slices and drop into the acidulated water.
Warm up the apple slices in the water in the microwave for 1 minute to help soften the slices.
Lay about 10 slices in a row slightly overlapping, then beginning on one end roll up the slices into a tight roll to create the roses.
Trim the bottom part of each rose so you have a straight base. I cut the uneven bottom part with a knife.
Remove pastry from the refrigerator.
Fill with the diced apples and dot with half the butter pieces.
Make the apple roses one at a time and arrange them on the diced apples in the tart shell, securing them among the apple filling. See image.
Use the apple rose you made with the peel of the apple you used for the filling. You can put it in the middle or off to the side.
Dot the roses with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake the tart in 400°F for 30-40 minutes. Don’t let the top brown so watch your oven and if necessary reduce heat towards the end to 375°F to finish the cooking.
Remove from the oven and let cool before removing the tart from the tart pan.
While the tart is still warm brush the melted apricot jam over the apple roses letting it drip in between over the apple filling. It gives the tart a nice glaze.
Garnish with additional thyme leaves and flowers.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Yay. You did it.