Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rose apple tartlets

Have you ever wanted to make a pastry treat that looks mind blowingly difficult, but could not be easier?  You've found it!  There is no technical know-how involved with this at all, and yet, everyone will be scratching their heads, wondering when you had time to go to culinary school.  As I previously mentioned, my family went to an apple festival, and I brought back tons of apples!  So, I had to figure out ways to use them before they went bad.  These apple tarts are all over Pinterest, so I figured I'd give them a try!
As I have mentioned several times by now, I love to bake, and I love things that look really difficult but that anyone can do.  This definitely qualifies!  Even better, you can use a store bought pie crust that you can roll out and slice, which makes this easy dish even easier.  Curious as to how to do it?  This is going to be a pretty short post, because it is just that easy.
Here's your grocery list for this one:
Apples (duh) - I would recommend using varieties good for baking *
Either homemade or store bought pie crust
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
4 C water
3 Tbs granulated sugar, plus another 3-4 Tbs set aside
3-4 Tbs cinnamon

*Like Granny Smiths, Golden Delicious, Rome, Braeburn, and Jonagolds.  I only used 2 apples, and this was enough for 1 pie crust.
To start off with, put your lemon juice, water, and 2 Tbs granulated sugar into a large pot.  Stir to dissolve the water.  

Wash your apples very well, and, leaving the skins on, cut them around the core, into quarters.  

This is my mandolin.  The mandolin is basically a blade that you can adjust, so that you get even cuts of whatever food you run over it.  I usually use it for potatoes, but I'm starting to use it more and more for other things.  You do have to be very careful, though, because the blade will cut you!  The mandolins come with a hand guard, but I have no idea where mine is, so I just go very slowly with it.   As you slice your apples, put them in the water/sugar/lemon juice liquid.  After all of your apples are cut, bring the water up to a soft boil, and boil the apple slices for 2 minutes; you want them to just be softened, but not falling apart cooked. 

Once your apples have cooked for 2 minutes, carefully drain them off, and lay them out on a large baking sheet, lined with paper towels.  You need for these apples to be dry.  Wait a couple of minutes for them to cool down enough to be handled, this really won't take very long.

Apples all laid out, cooling/drying.  I ran out of room on my baking sheet, so I just laid the rest of them out in my colander.  I pressed a paper towel up against the exposed sides of the apple slices, making sure they were good and dry!

Now then, while your apples cool, turn our attention to the pie crust, and go on and get your oven preheating to 425*.  I used a homemade crust, but please feel free to use a store bought one!  You can find them in the refrigerated area, normally where the canned biscuits are.  You want to roll your crust out, into a rectangle, roughly 10" x 12".  You can trim the crust edges off, to make a true rectangle, but it really doesn't matter to have an oval/rectangle shape!

Now that your crust is rolled out, mix together the 3-4 Tbs of sugar and the 3-4 Tbs of cinnamon together, and sprinkle all over your crust.  You'll want to press this into the crust, to make sure it stays on there!  Yum!  Feel free to add other spices, too!  Nutmeg would be great in this, as would some cardamom! 

Once your dough is ready, cut horizontal slices off of it, about 1/2" thick.  Lay your apple slices onto your crust slices, slightly overlapping.  Once your slices are on there, simply roll all of this up, on top of itself!  You should be able to get roughly 6-7 apple slices on each piece of pie crust, depending on how wide you rolled your pie crust out.

I thought these might come unwound after they were rolled up, but, nope!  Not one of them came unwound!  I did sort of pinch the bottom of the pie crust together, just slightly, once it was all rolled up, then set them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Aren't these just beautiful??

I actually had a couple of crust stripes leftover, which I baked up as a little snack for myself!  Yum!  Look how pretty these are!!  I will say, I wanted to have a pink colored apple skin for my roses, but the green of a Granny smith, or a yellow of a Golden delicious would be very pretty, too!  

I had some cinnamon/sugar leftover, so I just sprinkled some over the tops of these mini tarts, before I put them in the oven.  Bake these for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.  My pie crust didn't get lovely and golden brown, but these still looked just beautiful, and tasted even better!  Yum!  Who wouldn't "oohhh" and "aaahhh" over these if you brought out a bunch of these after a Thanksgiving feast?  Plus, since there is a fruit in it, you can't feel guilty if you eat three...or four...or more...of these!  Right?  Right??