Happy New Year, and welcome to Thursday Tea!
I find that once Christmas has gone, my appetite for heavy and highly spiced food goes with it, but salads and fresh vegetables are still months away. These elegant little darlings are a nice transitional dessert: substantial and comforting enough for a midwinter treat, but they won’t send you back into Christmas binge mode.
Apple rose pastries are a favourite of mine for entertaining. They look impressive, travel well, contain just four essential ingredients, and come together quickly with almost no risk of a baking catastrophe. For any baker who’s ever watched a cake collapse and burn like the Zeppelin disaster in the oven with only an hour before a party, keep this recipe in your back pocket.
As an added bonus, Lucy was unusually perturbed by my pastry-making.
Recipe Variations: The rosewater and cardamom draw inspiration from the Middle Eastern palate, but the recipe also works well with allspice, cinnamon, or with no extra flavouring at all. A splash of red wine added to the cooking syrup will tinge the petals a deep rosy red colour. Pears make a more seasonally appropriate version, or you could do a savoury version with carrots or any other vegetable that holds its shape in the oven. I prefer to brush the top of the puff pastry with the cooking syrup, but you could also use an egg wash to encourage browning in the oven.
Apple Rose Pastries
Makes 6 pastries
3 apples (the rounder, the better—Fuji and Gala work well)
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. cardamom (optional)
Rosewater, to taste (optional)
2 sheets thawed puff pastry
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Core the apples, then slice thinly.
- Add 4 cups water and the sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice and apples slices, then lower the heat to medium so that the mixture simmers. Cook until apples are soft and flexible, but not falling apart.
- Drain apple slices, reserving a few tablespoons of syrup. Add the rosewater and the cardamom to this syrup.
- Cut the puff pastry lengthwise in thirds (most puff pastry sheets are already folded in thirds; just cut along those lines). Using the largest and roundest apple slices, lay the apple slices on the pastry so that the curved side peeks above the edge of the pastry, and each slice overlaps with the next (see picture). You’ll have leftover apple slices. Eat those.
- Roll up the pastry like a pinwheel. The apple slices should poke out the top like petals. If necessary, secure each pastry shut with a toothpick. Set the roses in a cupcake liner and brush the top with the remaining syrup.
- Bake in a muffin pan for 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
Recipe adapted from Having Fun in the Kitchen.