This recipe has been doing the rounds of the internet all year. It first came to my attention when Simon sent me a link to a Facebook entry by someone in Normandy who had made them. Since I am still using up our pantry full of homegrown apples I decided to make them myself and take to Tim and Gaynor's annual curry evening.
Ready for the oven.
2 packets puff pastry
3 red skinned apples
1 litre water
Juice of a lemon
6 tbsp apple jelly
Ground cinnamon (optional)
Icing sugar (optional)
A little flour for dusting the bench
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
- Grease a 12 berth cupcake tray (unless you are using silicone).
- Put the water and lemon juice in a bowl that you can use in the microwave (or a medium sized saucepan).
- Cut the apples in half vertically (ie from stem to blossom end).
- Take out the apple cores (a melon baller is useful, or just cut out with a paring knife).
- Slice the apples horizontally. This gives the most even curved skin edge to your apple slices. Slice as thin and evenly as you can. Use a mandolin if you have one. As you slice each apple half put the slices immediately in the acidulated water so they don't brown.
- Microwave the apples in the water for 5 minutes (or blanch on the stove). This makes the slices more flexible but doesn't cook them enough that they disintegrate.
- Drain the apples.
- Microwave the apple jelly for 30 seconds (or heat in a small saucepan) to make it easier to spread evenly.
- Sprinkle some flour on the bench, lay out one of your your puff pastry sheets and roll it to stretch it out so it is thinner than pre-rolled pastry and forms a rectangle about 22 cm x 30 cm.
- Divide the pastry into 6 strips about 5 cm x 22 cm.
- Smear each strip with a couple of teaspoons of apple jelly.
- Lay the apple slices along one long edge of the pastry strip so that the curve of the apple slice projects very slightly beyond the pastry and each slice overlaps the other by about half.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
- Fold the other long edge of the pastry up to partially encase the row of apple. Press gently to embed the apple a bit and prevent it moving so much when you start to roll them into roses.
- Take one end and start rolling. The apple slices will more or less automatically form themselves into a petal like arrangement. Roll all the way to the end of the strip.
- Place the rose in a cupcake well.
- Repeat steps 10 - 17 until you have a dozen roses.
- Bake for about an hour. After half an hour turn the tray around and loosely cover with a sheet of foil. After 45 minutes check every 10 - 15 minutes for doneness. If in doubt give them 10 - 15 minutes more as there is a lot of moisture in them and the pastry needs to be crispy not stodgy.
- Remove from the tin immediately and cool on a rack. You may need to run a knife around them to release them from any escaped toffeeised apple jelly.
- Dust them with icing sugar.
- Serve slightly warm, with vanilla icecream or custard.
- puff pastry comes in different configurations in different countries. The best for this recipe is pre-rolled rectangular sheets. These are rare in France, but I have seen them in Auchan. I have done the recipe with the usual circular pre-rolled French puff pastry. Just roll the circle in one direction only to get an elongated oval and line up your apple on the straight edge of the outer strips. These two outer strips will make slightly smaller roses, but it's not really a problem. Blocks of puff pastry could also be used, just roll them out thinner than normal and try to keep their rectangular shape.
- use perfect medium sized apples. If you have to cut bits out it makes them more difficult to arrange on the pastry and they have a tendency to poke up at funny angles. Don't use an apple with a bitter skin, such as Red Delicious. Discard the round end slices and cut your slices paper thin. A mandolin is useful if you have one. The apple slices need to be flexible but remain intact.
- don't use so much apple jelly it oozes everywhere. This is a bit difficult, because you have to use enough to give a reasonable level of sweetness.
- when you roll the pastry around the apples to form the roses the apples will want to slide up and out of their pastry sandwich. Just keep gently tapping them back as you roll.
- use a silicone cupcake tray if you can. If you don't have one use a regular cupcake tray that has been really thoroughly greased. Don't be tempted to put the apple roses in cupcake papers. Apparently the roses won't come out.
- don't worry if your roses don't look perfect on going into the oven. You'll be amazed at how they come out, and any remaining irregularities can simply be dusted with icing sugar. Hey presto! All is beautiful and appetising!
Dusted with icing sugar and packed up to go to the party.
For those of you who can't be bothered with such long written instructions, Cooking with Manuela has a video demonstrating the method. It's not quite as easy as she makes it look, but it's fairly easy.