Apple Rose Tart

An apple (tart) a day keeps the doctor away. Bonus points if it's as beautiful as this one.

Apple Rose Tart
Photo: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Christina Daley
Active Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
8

This delicious seasonal tart is not too complicated to make (we even started with a store-bought pie crust), but is pretty enough for serving on special occasions, from bridal shower brunches to Thanksgiving dessert.

The apples are the stars of this treat, and while our Test Kitchen selected Honeycrisp for the recipe, any crisp varieties will work. The real creative and fun part of this recipe is making the beautiful rose design, all it requires is a little patience and a sharp knife.

What's to Love About an Apple Rose Tart

Bored with apple pie, but looking for a shareable apple dessert that will impress a crowd? This is your dessert. The rose design is captivating and easier than it looks to make. Sure, this could be a holiday table centerpiece, but it's also the kind of quick dessert you don't need an occasion to make.

Apple Rose Tart Ingredients

From the crust to the filling, here are the main ingredients that make up each component in this dessert:

Pie crust
We use store-bought pie dough to form the base of our tart. You could always make your own, but with this shortcut, the tart is a breeze.

Apples
For this tart, our Test Kitchen recommends Honeycrisp apples because of their crisp texture. Can't find Honeycrisp apples? Gala or Envy apples are great substitutes.

Avoid using Granny Smith apples as they aren't as sweet, and red-skinned apples are needed in this tart to help create the visual of a rose.

Almond Flour
An almond flour filling forms the creamy base of this tart. Combined with egg yolk, sugar, and butter, the almond flour creates a version of the classic French filling called frangipane, which you might be familiar with as the filling of an almond croissant.

The almond flour filling is a great base because it is thick enough to hold the apple slices in place for the perfect rose shape. If you can't find almond flour, it's fairly easy to make yourself from whole blanched almonds. Process them in a food processor or blender until they turn into a fine powder, just be careful to not process them too far, or you'll have almond butter.

Apple Jelly
Finishing the tart with a light coat of melted apple jelly on the apple slices gives the tart its photographic shine and helps define each petal. If you can't find apple jelly, apricot jam will work the same.

How to Make an Apple Rose Tart

This dessert looks impressive but as you'll see below, it's a fairly straightforward recipe that isn't nearly as hard to make as it looks.

Step 1. Form and blind bake the crust

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roll out one refrigerated pie crust to fit a greased 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, trimming any overhang. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork and bake until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

crust for Caramel Pecan Tart
Will Dickey

2. Prepare the apples

Slice the apples away from the core into 4 pieces each, and cut each segment into ⅛-inch-thick slices using a mandoline or knife. Place the apple slices in a large bowl and gently toss with the lemon juice, cinnamon, cardamom, and ¼ cup of the sugar. Let stand for 15 minutes.

slicing apples
Dotdash Meredith

3. Make the filling

Meanwhile, beat the almond flour, egg yolk, salt, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until completely smooth.

4. Build the tart

Use a small offset spatula to spread the filling onto the bottom of the prepared tart crust.

Drain apple slices, and reserve some of the smaller slices for the center "rose." Starting at the outer edge, shingle apple slices cut-side down, overlapping each other, in concentric circles until almost filled to the center. Wrap the smallest apple slices around each other into a tight rose shape; place in the center of the tart, and fill in around the rose with more apple slices until the tart is tightly packed.

5. Bake

Dot the tart with remaining butter and sprinkle the remaining granulated sugar on top. Bake until the crust is browned and the apples are just beginning to brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Brush the tart with the melted apple jelly while still warm. Cool completely before serving.

Tips for Decorating an Apple Rose Tart

Especially if it is your first time making an Apple Rose Tart, these tips will help you nail the design.

1. Use a mandolin

Thin apple slices are very important in this tart because slices thicker than ⅛-inch won't stack neatly in a rose shape or cook evenly. The easiest way to get even and thin slices in a timely manner is a mandolin. The slicer is worth the investment as it's a great tool for a variety of dishes (like Au Gratin potatoes) and makes prep work a breeze. Use a hand guard or no cut glove when slicing with it however, as it's easy to cut yourself on the very sharp blade.

2. Build from the outside in

When building the tart, begin at the outer edge, arranging the apples in concentric circles, overlapping each slice about halfway over its neighbor. Be sure to position the apples up vertically, with the cut edge pointing down and the peel edge facing up. Pack the apple rows very tightly, stopping periodically to check your design.

3. Create a flat base

For the tart crust, it's important to thoroughly prick the base with a fork as that's how steam in the crust escapes. If there's nowhere for the steam to go, the tart base will puff irregularly and without a flat base it will be difficult to stand up the apple slices in a rose shape.

How to Serve an Apple Rose Tart

Although delicious served as is, for an extra special touch, serve the tart with a dusting of powdered sugar. You can also serve the tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of sweetened whipped cream. A drizzle of salted caramel wouldn't hurt either.

You can make the tart in advance, tightly wrap it in plastic, and store it on the counter for two to three days.

Can I Freeze an Apple Rose Tart for Later?

Yes, you can! There are two ways to freeze the tart for later. One way is to build the apple tart as directed and freeze before the final bake, the other way is to bake and completely cool the tart before freezing. Both take about 24 hours to fully freeze, so don't stack anything on them before then, and last about six months in the freezer.

For both methods the tart needs to be double wrapped, in both plastic wrap and aluminum foil, or plastic wrap and a ziplock freezer bag. Unbaked tarts can go straight from the freezer to the oven, but might need some extra time to bake. If you are trying to save leftovers, slices of the tart can also be individually wrapped and frozen on a cookie sheet. Once fully frozen, they can be bagged or stacked.

Editorial contributions by Alana Al-Hatlani.

Ingredients

  • ½ package (14.1-oz. package) refrigerated pie crusts (such as Pillsbury)

  • 3 medium (7-oz.) Honeycrisp apples

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • ½ cup (about 1 ¾ oz.) almond flour

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided

  • 2 tablespoons apple jelly, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll dough to a 12-inch circle; fit pie crust into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom; trim to fit. Prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork; bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack while preparing filling.

  2. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Slice apples away from core into 4 pieces each. Slice into ⅛-inch-thick slices using a mandoline slicer or a knife. Place apple slices in a large bowl, and very gently toss with lemon juice, cinnamon, cardamom, and ¼ cup of the sugar. Let stand 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, beat almond flour, egg yolk, salt, 2 tablespoons of the butter, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed in a medium bowl until completely smooth (mixture will be thick). Use a small offset spatula to spread mixture in bottom of prepared crust.

  4. Drain apple slices, and reserve some of the smaller slices for the center "rose". Starting at the outer edge, shingle apple slices, cut-side down, overlapping each other, in concentric circles around circumference of crust. Continue shingling apple slices, working toward center of crust, until almost filled to the center. Wrap the smaller slices around each other into a tight rose shape; place in center of tart, and fill in around the rose with more apple slices until tart is tightly packed.

  5. Cut remaining 1 tablespoon butter into pieces, and dot top of tart. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake in preheated oven until crust is browned and apples are just beginning to brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Brush tart with melted apple jelly. Cool completely.

Updated by
Alana Al-Hatlani
Alana Al-Hatlani

Alana Al-Hatlani is an Assistant Food Editor at Southern Living.

Related Articles