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My daughter wanted nothing else but apples for her third birthday and when I came across rose shaped pastries on Pinterest I knew that these would be perfect.
After a few tries, I ultimately found the perfect combination of two online recipes that allow for a tasty and fool-proof way of making the roses and having them keep their shape! I’ve never made anything like these before and if I can make these, you certainly can too!
Secret #1 – KEEP THEM SMALL
You’ll be using a mini-tart pan for this recipe. Making them bite-sized makes them easier and quicker to make, displays beautifully as it looks like a bouquet of roses and are much easier to eat, which makes them perfect for parties!
Secret #2 – PEANUT BUTTER CUSTARD
Rather than the “layer and roll method” most recipes use (you’ll end up with slippery apple slices that slide all over the place) – this recipe uses a peanut butter custard that you stick the apple slices into! So much easier!
Secret #3 – USE LEMON/LIME SODA
Nearly all recipes say to place the apples into cold water with lemon juice to keep the apples from browning. I failed to remember to buy a lemon for my recipe and searched for alternatives. I found out that carbonated beverages also keep apples from browning and I had just bought some to serve at the birthday party – it worked out perfectly because I found that it enhanced the sweetness of the apples without changing the flavor!
So let’s get started on how to make these beautiful pastries!
Bite-Sized Peanut Butter Apple Roses
Yield: 24 mini tarts
Prep Time: 1.5 hours
Cook Time: ~30 minutes
Have the following kitchen supplies ready:
- 1 24 count mini-muffin pan (this is the one I use)
- 1 2″ or 3″ cookie cutter or drinking glass (or get fancy with scalloped circles or flower cookie cutters)
- Medium sized sauce pan
- Large microwavable bowl
- A rolling pin
- A whisk
- A mesh strainer or colander
- A sharp chef’s knife or mandoline (I was able to get thin enough slices with just a knife)
- If you are nervous about chopping fingers instead of apples – NoCry Kitchen Gloves (haha!)
For the Peanut Butter Custard (recipe from the Michigan Apple Committee @Michigan Apples):
- 2 cups milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- Large pinch of kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Apples and Crust (inspired by the recipe from Nancy Robinson @Kitchn):
- 1 sheet of thawed (but still cold) frozen Puff pastry
- Handful of flour (for rolling out pastry)
- 5 apples, thinly sliced (cut in half vertically, remove core and slice as thin as possible)
- ~3 cups cold lemon/lime carbonated soda
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1 to 2 small drops red food coloring (optional)
- Make the Peanut Butter Custard: In a medium saucepan, whisk 2-3 tablespoons of milk and cornstarch until smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, salt and remaining milk into the custard base. Cook over medium heat for ~10 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; whisk in peanut butter and vanilla. Pass mixture through the fine-mesh strainer to remove lumps. Transfer custard into refrigerator to cool. Clean out saucepan for step 2.
- Prepare the Apples Slices: Pour cold lemon/lime carbonated soda into a large bowl. Cut the apples in half vertically, remove the core and then thinly slice the apples. As you slice them place them into the bowl with the carbonated soda to keep them from browning. Transfer apple slices into microwavable bowl and fill with water to cover. Microwave for ~2-3 minutes until apples become softened and pliable. Heat butter, brown sugar and red food coloring in saucepan until butter and sugar melts. Toss apple slices in hot brown sugar mixture, add a dash of cinnamon and toss together.
- Prepare Custard Base: Grease muffin tin (I used butter). Place thawed Puff Pastry sheet onto floured surface and roll out until it is as thin as can be. Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles and press one circle cutout into each muffin holder. Take a spoonful of custard and place into each tart cup.
- Make the Apple Roses: Preheat oven to 350°F. Each rose will be made up of 4-5 apple slices Take two super thin and smaller apple pieces and place on the counter so that they overlap slightly. Roll together and pinch the side without the peel to form the middle of your rose. Set into the middle of your custard. Take a larger apple slice and press into custard so that the peel side faces up and is placed on outer edge of the tart. Take a slightly smaller apple slice and press it into the custard so that it wraps between the larger one and the middle of your flower with the peel facing upward. Your rose will expand in the oven – so press firmly into the custard. Repeat until all tart crusts are filled with your apple roses.
- Bake: Place your apple roses into the preheated oven at 350°F for ~30 minutes. If the apples start to brown before the tart and custard are set, then cover loosly with foil. If the roses pop out of the custard, you can gently push them back in. When done baking – you can dust with powdered sugar if you’d like. Let cool and enjoy!