This divine apple rose tart is a labour of love but it's spectacular in its beauty (if I can be so immodest!). Individual apple roses are shaped and cover a delicious pecan frangipane tart. If you want a dessert to impress for Valentine's Day coming up, then this is it!
This tart was inspired by one of my readers who used my method for making individual apple rose tarts but made it into a giant tart. It was so beautiful that I had to make it myself. Sorry I can't remember your name but let me know if you see this and I will credit you!
Now a little warning: this tart takes time. Mostly in time to create each of these roses and the pre time is 2 hours. A quarter of the way through I started regretting making this on a Sunday as I thought of a million other things I could be doing instead. However it is so beautiful that it is actually worth making, under the right mental conditions of course.
Pecan Pie Crust: This pecan crust is delicate and it's a challenge. If this is your first time with pastry I would perhaps use a simpler crust (see below) but if you're good with pastry then please give this beautifully short and nutty pastry a go. This pecan pie crust tastes more like a pecan shortbread cookie. Also I know that some people don't like super short pastries - do not make this if you don't like short pastries and use this recipe instead.
What is frangipane filling? Honestly I thought this contained frangipanes when I first heard about it but it doesn't contain the flower. It's a classic French pastry cream usually made with almonds, eggs, butter and sugar. You can make the frangipane a few days ahead of time and store it in the fridge.
Allergic to nuts? If you are allergic to nuts then please use this pastry recipe and custard.
How To Make Apple Flowers: I couple of years ago I made individual apple flower tarts and they were a big hit with readers. I used a similar method for making these apple flowers. One apple makes around 5 apple flowers with some apple slices left over. Try and pick a bright red apple as the contrast between the skin and flesh will look really lovely and just like a two tone rose. I don't know if my eyes were playing tricks on me or if I was staring at things for too long but after a while I thought that these actually really looked like roses!
Sometimes I get so caught up in making things I get in a zone and go on auto pilot. And in this instance I went into auto pilot while making these apple roses. Once you get into the hang of them, they become much easier.
I was sort of in this auto pilot daze afterwards too. Mr NQN has borrowed my driver's license for something and had put it on my desk. I picked it up to put into my wallet where there was my old driver's license. I never got around to shredding it (I hate the photo because I look like Michael Jackson so I definitely don't want to keep it). So I decided now was as good a time as any to cut it up.
I took the scissors to it and cut it into three pieces and then threw it in the bin.
"Oh my god NOOOOOO!!!" I said a second later.
Yep I had in fact cut up the wrong driver's license! I had cut up my current driver's license. I guess I sort of wanted a new photo so maybe this is my chance? I am just trying to look on the bright side...
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have patience for projects like this? Are you making anything this Valentine's Day? And do you like your driver's license photo?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Apple Rose Tart
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 1 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
For pecan pie crust
- 200g/7ozs plain all purpose flour (you may need a little bit more or less)
- 55g/2ozs. toasted pecans
- 45g/1.6ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 113g/1 stick butter, cold and cubed
For the pecan frangipane
- 165g/5.8zs. toasted pecans
- 100g/3.5ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 125/4ozs butter
- 2 large eggs
For apple roses
- 6-7 bright red apples (I used Royal Gala around 115g/4ozs. each)
- 250ml/8.8ozs sugar
- 250ml/8.8ozs water
- 60ml/2flozs. lemon juice
Flatten the pastry, wrap and refrigerate
Step 1 - Make the tart crust pastry. Process the flour, nuts, sugar and salt together until they resemble fine crumbs. Then add the butter and pulse until it starts to come together. You shouldn't need any water or liquid to bind this as the nuts have fat in them but if you do please add water sparingly. Shape into a ball and flatten and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Processing the pecans and sugar for frangipane filling
Step 2 - Meanwhile make the frangipane filling by placing the pecans and sugar in a food processor or Thermomix and processing until you get a fine crumb. Then add the butter and eggs and process until smooth. Set aside (or refrigerate if you are using later).
Step 3 - At this point you can also make the sugar syrup for the roses as it needs to cool. Make sugar syrup by boiling sugar and water for 5-8 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and it has thickened slightly (you do not want a very thick syrup). Cool and add lemon juice.
Placing pastry in the tart tin
Docking the base of the tart
Step 4 - Grease a loose bottomed 23cm/9inch tart tin. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of parchment (if it is too stiff which it may be if it has been refrigerated for a long time, let it rest on the counter for 5-10 minutes). Place in the tin press down gently and make sure that it is as even as possible. You should use you pretty much the entire pastry dough. Use pieces to patch any holes. Dock with a fork and then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Cover with oiled foil and fill the pie with pastry weights. Bake for 20 minutes covered with the foil and weights. Then remove the foil and weights and bake for 5 minutes until bottom is set.
Spreading with frangipane
Step 5 - Spread out frangipane over the base with an angled metal spatula and bake at 180C/350F for 20 minutes. Cool while you make the apple roses.
Step 6 - Core apples and using a mandolin on #1 setting slice into a bowl. Some will be half moons, some whole moons it is ok. Soak the slices in the syrup for 15 minutes until they can easily bend. The apples will release juice too.
Laying out slices
Rolling them up
Step 7 - Line up 7-10 half moon slices of apple overlapping as shown and roll them up from one end to form a flower. Add the larger slices to make the outer petals and place on the tart. Repeat until the tart is covered with flowers; this takes time and patience.
Adding extra petals
Step 8 - Bake in a 180C/350F oven for 15-20 minutes to soften the apples. Serve with vanilla ice cream.