Apple Rose and Custard Tart

One of my favorite things about fall is all the apples that start becoming available. Just like a fresh, off the vine tomato, the smell of a just-picked apple is intoxicating. The first bite of the season can make you giddy at the thought of all the different things you can do with that giant peck of apples that you bought on a whim (oops!). Speaking of giddy, I have been waiting for months upon months for Kitchen Aid to launch their stand mixer attachment that turns fruits and vegetables into sheets. Ever since I saw an episode of Chef’s Table – France, I’ve been dying to get my hands on a device to turn apples into ribbons/sheets to make a tart similar to Alain Passard’s “Bouquet of Roses.” Amazon had a really good deal on it, so I pounced (rather than wait to ask for it for Christmas). It arrived an amazing one day later, and I’ve been itching for a few weeks to use it. I finally made it to an apple orchard and bought a ton of them and took over the kitchen.

The first day I tried out the recipe, I totally screwed it up before I even got the apples in! The puff pastry was way too low in the dish, there was too much custard, and well… it turned into a disaster. A delicious disaster, but a disaster nevertheless. The custard bubbled way up and drowned the soft pastry dough, and it was a giant mess. I hadn’t even put the apples in yet! It was too late to head back to the store for more puff pastry, so mon petit chou dug into the dish, proclaiming it was “amazing!” and “delicious!” though for a baking perfectionist, I had to take a stab at it again, ASAP.

After another trip to the store for more eggs and puff pastry, I was back at it. I found that baking the pastry slightly, and partially cooking the custard BEFORE combining the two together was the magic trick. The puff pastry held up against the custard, and the custard was solid enough to support the apple roses. Fantastique! So if you are looking for a unique dessert to bring to the table for the upcoming holidays, give this one a whirl!



What you need...

  • 1 sheet of pasty dough, thawed
  • Flouring for rolling the dough
  • 6 small firm baking apples
  • 3/4 cup milk (at least 2% or full fat milk, do not use skim)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch or flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Using the thinnest blade of the vegetable sheet attachment, run the apples through the sheeter. Once you have run all the apple through, start loosely rolling the ribbons. You want a variety of thicker roses, and smaller ones. You want the skin to show on the outside so the apple roses have a nice edge and color. You want the apple roses to stand about 1 inch tall, so cut the rolls in half if necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is heating, dust the pastry dough and rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the sheet out so it is large enough to fit into the pie plate (this also keeps it from puffing up too much).  
  3. Place the dough in the pie plate and fold or cut the edges so it just sits along the edge of the pie plate (like you would with normal pie crust). Prick the dough with a fork all around to help the dough stay in it's place. Cover the edge with foil to keep from burning.
  4. Put in the heated oven for about 10-15 minutes minutes. The pastry dough should begin to puff and just barely starts turning a light golden color. Promptly remove. Pat down any large air pockets or puffs. Remove the foil.
  5. While the pastry is baking, is a small sauce pan heat the milk until it just barely begins to have some steam coming off of it. Thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks, maple syrup, corn starch/flour and salt.
  6. Once the milk is heated, slowly pour about half of it into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Once combined, return the milk and egg mixture to the sauce pan.
  7. On low heat, stir the custard mixture until it starts to thicken. You want it to begin to coat the back of the spoon, but still be a liquid.
  8. Pour the partially cooked custard into the pastry shell. Nestle the apple roses into the custard (it should help stand them up). 
  9. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the custard has set and is no longer liquidy. 
  10. Allow to cool before dusting liberally with powdered sugar. You can enjoy this warmed or chilled, it's all up to you!