A delicious bouquet of gorgeous red apple roses with rich creamy custard in a crisp pecan pastry. It’s beautiful enough to take center stage on a dessert buffet…but why wait for a big occasion when you could share it over afternoon tea with old friends?
When apples are heated, the flesh softens and the red skins turns a dull reddish brown. In this recipe, you will learn the secret to softening apples as if they are cooked without losing the bright red color of the skin.
- ½ cup (125 g / 4.4 oz) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups (250 g / 8.8 oz) plain or all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 g / 3.5 oz) caster sugar or superfine sugar
- ½ cup (60 g / 2.1 oz) pecan nuts, processed until fine
- 1 egg (45 g / 1.6 oz)
- ¼ cup (80 g / 2.8 oz) strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 egg yolks (60 g / 2.1 oz)
- 3 tablespoons (37 g / 1.3 oz) caster sugar or superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons (14 g / 0.5 oz) cornstarch
- ¾ cup (200 mL / 6.8 fl oz) milk
- ½ cup (100 mL / 3.4 fl oz) heavy cream (35 percent fat)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
RED APPLE ROSES
- ½ cup (105 g / 3.7 oz) sugar
- ½ cup (110 g / 3.9 oz) melted butter
- ½ cup (125 mL / 4.2 fl oz) fresh orange juice
- 28 medium or 18 large red apples—look for large apples that are red all over
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the pecans and sugar. Add the egg and stir through, then squeeze it together to form a ball of pastry dough.
Roll your pastry out thinly between two sheets of plastic wrap until it is a little bigger than the pie dish. Peel off the top layer of plastic. Using the plastic wrap that is underneath the pastry, flip the pastry over onto the 25 cm (10 inch) pie dish. Use the plastic to help you position it so the pastry is lining the dish, then peel off the plastic wrap. Trim around the top edge. Using a fork, press small holes across the base to get rid of any air bubbles—this ensures it will cook flat and evenly. Bake your base in the oven for 30–40 minutes or until it is crisp and golden.
Heat the jam and water in a saucepan until it is bubbling hot, then strain through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Brush the hot jam all over the inside of the cooked pastry shell.
In a pan, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch, making sure there are no lumps. Add a little of the milk at a time, whisking it in. Place over high heat and stir continuously until it thickens. Continue stirring for another 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and vanilla. Pour the warm custard into the base and spread it out.
RED APPLE ROSES
Combine the sugar, melted butter, and orange juice in a bowl.
Working with two apples at a time, slice them finely with a mandolin to make circles of apple. Place the slices into the orange juice mixture and leave to soak for ten minutes.
Your apples will now be softened like they have been cooked but will retain the redness of their skin. Take a circle of apple and roll it into a tube shape. Wrap another piece of apple around it as if you were adding petals and continue to do this until you’re happy with the appearance of your “rose.” Trim a very small amount off one end of the cylinder of apple to flatten it, and push the rose into the custard near the edge of the tart. Rest a knife across the pie dish to hold the rose in place while you make the next one. Continue to make more apple roses and add them until the custard is covered and the pie is full.
This step is easy, but it is time-consuming, so invite over a friend to help and have a long chat and a laugh while you do it. Then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
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