This beautiful tart went down really well at Christmas and by taking a few cheeky short-cuts, isn’t too time consuming to get right. I made this a day before, used store-bought pastry and my favourite easy vanilla custard for the base, so the only tricky part is the rolling out pastry and rolling up the roses!
- 1 block or rolled sheet of pre-made shortcrust pastry
- 4 large Braeburns (or similar crunchy apple)
- 200ml of your favourite vanilla custard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apricot jam
First, preheat your oven to 180C fan/Gas Mark 5 to bake the pastry (or follow the guidelines for your premade pastry or shortcrust recipe. Roll out the room-temperature pastry to the width of a £1 coin and lay over a 23cm flan/pie dish with fluted edges. Don’t cut off too much excess as the pastry always contracts. Better to trim once baked. Line with greaseproof paper and add baking beans then bake for around 10 minutes, depending on the recipe/brand. Once baked, set aside to cool for 10 minutes then add a 1-2cm layer of custard to the base.
Next, in a large microwave-safe bowl add the lemon juice, water and honey and set aside. Core your apples and using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, halve and cut into the thinnest possible crescents of apple. Place in the bowl of lemon water to prevent browning. Repeat for all apples for a large bowl full of thin slices.
Warm the apple slices in the microwave for about 1.5 to 2 minutes until hot and pliable. Tricky bit – Lay a line of apple crescents out on a work surface, thinnest possible at the beginning of the roll as this will form the center of the rose. Roll the line of apple crescents into a tight spiral using both hands to make sure it doesn’t fall apart and stand it up vertically in the custard. Continue to arrange the apple roses in a concentric pattern around the first one, largest in the center. Repeat until the top of the tart is completely covered with apple roses.
Thin a tablespoon of apricot jam with a teaspoon of boiling water and dab onto the roses with a pastry brush. then return to the oven for another 10 minutes at 160C and keep an eye on it, the apples should colour slightly but not catch.
Finally trim the excess pastry with a very sharp knife and serve warm or cold with cream, more custard or I like it on it’s own as a lighter option amongst the Christmas puddings and Chocolate bombes!