These apple rose tarts, made with thin slices of apple enveloped by a buttery, nutty, phyllo pastry, taste as spectacular as they look. And they’re remarkably easy to make. Here’s how.
These stunning apple rose tarts are, without a doubt, awe-inspiring to behold. They’re also exponentially easier to make than you may imagine. Made with thin slices of apple easily folded in layers of crisp phyllo to resemble a rose and gilded with butter are a truly impressive dessert. And it’s not just the appearance that has stolen our hearts.–Angie Zoobkoff
Apple Rose Tarts FAQs
What is the best time of year to buy apples?
In the past, apples were thought to only be in season in the cooler months, harvested between late August and the first frost. Since then thankfully, storage techniques have improved and apple varieties that stay ripe and crisp longer have been developed, meaning some of the best, tastiest apples are now available virtually year-round. Honeycrisps are always a great choice, and we also love Pink Lady, Ambrosia, and Jazz.
What is the best method for choosing apples?
First, check for firmness. Your apple shouldn’t have much give at all. Then, look it over and be sure it’s free of soft spots, blemishes, and cuts. Give your apple a good sniff. Be weird and close your eyes when you do it. Does it smell like apples? Does it make you want to take a big bite right there in the store? That’s a good apple. Use this technique for each apple you pick up, and then carefully bag the good ones and gently place them in your cart.
Apple Rose Tarts
- 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter melted, plus more for the pan
- 2 3/4 ounces shelled pistachios or untoasted almonds
- Zest, grated, and juice of 1 lemon preferably organic
- 4 tablespoons honey plus more for sprinkling or drizzling
- 2 red-skinned apples such as Pink Lady or Honey Crisp, cored and very thinly sliced
- Four phyllo sheets
- Vanilla ice cream Greek yogurt, or crème fraîche, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC). Butter 4 muffin tins.
- Using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, crush or pulse the nuts and lemon zest until a coarse paste forms.
- Stir in half the honey and 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- In a large bowl, combine the apple slices with the remaining honey and the lemon juice and toss to coat.
- Use a pastry brush to butter the phyllo sheets and then fold each sheet into 4 portions, brushing with more butter as you go, to make strips about 10 inches (25 cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide.
- Spread the nut mixture along the long edge of each strip of phyllo, covering half the strip. Then, using about 1/2 apple per strip, overlap the apple slices over the uncovered other half of each strip, with the skin edge sitting just above the top of the filo strip.
- Fold the nut-covered phyllo over the apple and then, working quickly, loosely roll the whole length up from a short end into a rose-shaped tart.
- Place it in the buttered tin. Drizzle with a bit of the remaining butter and sprinkle with a little extra honey. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Bake until the tarts are golden brown and bubbling and the apple and phyllo are cooked, 25 to 40 minutes.
- Serve warm with ice cream, yogurt, or crème fraîche.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These little apple rose tartlets or hand pies are a delight. We never quite came out with a rose-shaped pastry. However, the finished pastries (in all their shapes) were quite pretty, and since they were DEEEEE-li-cious, no one was the wiser.
We used honey with Pink Lady apples. We didn’t have a muffin tin so we buttered 4 ramekins. We used coarse almond meal instead of almonds and measured the almond meal by weight.
We suspect that our apple slices were a bit too thick, so when we rolled the filo, little shifts in the placement of the apple slices resulted in a funny shape. Take heart: phyllo dough is incredibly forgiving. Just keep brushing it with butter. Two of us worked side-by-side for 45 minutes to get them into the oven.
Be sure to drizzle each pastry with the juice from the apple slices before baking. Serve with premium vanilla ice cream. We promise a happy dessert crowd. The only thing we would do differently next time? Double the recipe.
The presentation alone for this dessert is worth making, but the combination of flavors really wowed me.
If you’ve ever worked with phyllo dough, you know it can be a bit tricky. Keeping it from drying out is key, and just because you get a tear doesn’t mean you can’t still use it. It comes in different sizes and this recipe assumes you will use a 10-inch x 16-inch sheet to end up with 4 inches x 10 inches. The dough I bought said 9 inches x 14 inches on the box but when I measured it, it was actually 8.25 inches x 12 inches. So I ended up buttering and layering 4 sheets, cutting two 4 inch x 10-inch pieces and repeating.
The honey worked well mixed with the lemon. I did think the undiluted lemon on the apples was a bit overpowering and I love lemon! This was easy enough to remedy by adding a good splash of Calvados. You could just as easily use water.
I used Marcona almonds that were lightly salted and toasted and for the apples I chose Honey Crisp. As far as the nut mixture, I divided it into 4 before I started assembly so I would have enough for each.
I used a mandoline to slice the apples as I didn’t want the task of trying to hand-cut thin slices.
Assembly went quickly. I smeared the nut mixture on the bottom cut edge, shingled the apples across the top (I used 10 slices), folded the bottom up to meet the top and then loosely rolled them up. They just fit in the muffin pan and for better browning I put one in each corner. I placed a sheet pan underneath to catch the butter drips. I will definitely make these again. You could even do miniature versions.
I served mine with vanilla bean whipped cream and caramel.
Originally published October 5, 2019