We had several people over to help make apple tarts for our wedding. My parents flew up as well and by the end of the night, we made about 78 tarts (not including the ones we ate along the way). This was a recipe and idea my mom had come up with. As with all her cooking, each time she makes something, it's a little different.
Given how many we needed to make and how little time there was, we started with cinnamon roll dough from Trader Joe's. Here's a snapshot of my parents below. I have to say, I owe most of my inspiration for making and creativity to my mom. She always finds a way to make something incredible with very little and has a lot of fun doing so.
We tried using Gala apples this time. I'm pretty sure my mom handpicked all the really "red" apples from Trader Joe's. Given it's apple season, they were all pretty sweet.
After washing all the apples, core the apples. Then using a sharp knife, halve the apple. Take one half and start cutting thin slices about 1-1.5mm thick. It's good to have some thin and thick ones as you'll see later on.
If you end up cutting slices that are too thick, you can toss them into a bowl for snacking like we did!
Take your apple slices and lay them flat on a plate. It's actually better to only have a single layer of apples if you can. Microwave them for about 1 minute (you may need to tune this based on your microwave) so that the slices soften, but don't cook all the way. You want them to soften enough so that you can easily bend the slice and not have it break into two.
We used a muffin pan to make the tarts. Line the pan pockets with cinnamon dough so that it touches the sidewalls as seen in the photo below.
Then start layering your rose petals, working your way from the outside-in. Use your thicker slices for the outside as they'll hold shape better.
Once you've created your first two rings, add in 1 tsp of apple sauce (we used Treetop from Safeway) in the center. This will help hold your center petals in shape. Don't put too much apple sauce - otherwise your tarts can end up mushy after baking.
Keep layering in slices until you've achieved a rose. For the final center piece, try rolling a very thin slice into a spiral and tuck it into place. You can continue inserting petals as you like.
When you're done layering in slices, gently push all the apple slices slightly into the pan. The dough will rise quite a bit while baking.
Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Note this can vary from oven to oven, so it's good to check around the 15 minute mark. Take a few tarts out and test the petals to ensure they're cooked, but not burnt.
Given our mini kitchen, we couldn't have everyone over, but it's definitely a lot of fun. For most of the afternoon and into the night, our apartment smelled like apples and cinnamon. With the window slightly cracked open, it made for a perfect fall day.
Most importantly, don't forget to share and test out a few tarts. Adjust as needed!
Thanks to everyone who helped and mom for the recipe!
Rose Apple Tarts
This recipe is very simple and can be easily scaled based on how many tarts you want to make.
Apples (any type works, but try to pick ones that have some red)
Trader Joe's Cinnamon Dough (pastry dough works too)
Kitchen knives (for slicing apples)
Baking pans (we used a standard muffin pan)
Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash your apples and core them. Then halve the apples and cut thin, moon-shaped slices 1-1.5mm thick. It's ok to have thin and thick ones. Then place the slices flat on a plate and microwave for about 1 minute to soften. Note this may vary based on your microwave, but the goal is to soften enough so that you can bend your apple slices without breaking them. Don't overcook! Open your can of Trader Joe's Cinnamon Dough and line the muffin baking pan so that it touches the sidewalls about halfway up. Then start laying in your apple slices around, starting on the outside and working inwards. After your first two rings of apple slices, drop 1 tsp of apple sauce into the center. Then continue layering more apple slices. Start using your thinner slices as you near the center. For the final piece, take a very thin slice and roll into a spiral. Insert into the center. The apple sauce should help hold its position. Press the apple slices lightly into the pan (since the dough will rise). Bake for about 20 minutes. Check around the 15 minute mark to ensure they're cooked, but not burnt. Enjoy!