Saturday, June 18, 2016

Baker's Corner: Cinnamon Apple Roses

So I believe these apple roses are a thing right now? Since the past few months, they have been popping up relentlessly on my Facebook wall, on Instagram, Pinterest and circulating in Whatsapp videos. The internet has been exploding with them. It was hard for me not to get sucked in and so here I am, finally joining the brigade!  

For the uninitiated, these are delicate rose-shaped pastries made with soft and delicious apple slices perfumed with cinnamon, wrapped in sweet, buttery and crispy puff pastry. Sounds amazing right? It is really not hard to understand the appeal of these bite-sized beauties 

Besides, I for one am game for anything with apples in them!

Before it comes to your attention, let me concede that my apple roses are FAR FAR from perfect. To get great looking roses, the apple slices have to be pretty thin. I don't have a mandoline (don't plan on owning one in the future) so I sliced the apples by hand. This may not sound like such a big deal but it kinda is. For this, you need to have a razor sharp knife and a patience reservoir full to the brim. Unfortunately for me, both were lacking on that particular day (bummer huh?). As I was assembling the roses, I realized that I didn't do a good job and the apple slices were thicker than desired. I almost didn't end up blogging this recipe but changed my mind when I tasted the pastries because taste-wise, the thickness didn't matter at all and they still tasted pretty darn good!

The apple roses in the original recipe that I followed looked gorgeous (even though the author called them 'ugly apple roses'). Mine could easily earn a place in the ugly category! Anyway, I'm not too much into appearances....as long as my culinary creations taste nice, I'm content with it. 



Even though these apple roses look fancy and complicated, in reality, they are not. You need about six basic ingredients and about 1 hour of your time. That's it! Oh yeah and patience helps a great deal (look who's talking right?!)  *grins sheepishly*. Depending on your affinity to cinnamon, you can add as much of it as you like or skip it entirely. To me, the apple-cinnamon combination is a match made in culinary heaven so my version has incorporated it. But to each his own....

These beautiful and gourmet individual apple pastries can be made ahead of time and are perfect for entertaining. You would definitely wow your guests with these! 





Don't be intimidated by this recipe okay? I had so many things going against me that day (muggy weather, not-so-sharp knife, lack of patience, lack of time and distractions galore) but still I managed to produce decent-ish apple roses (which tasted much better than they looked may I emphasize). If I could pull it off, then anyone can! 

Give it a go, do an infinitely better job than me and prepare to dazzle!

Cinnamon Apple Roses

Preparation time: 20 min; Baking time: 40-45 min
Total time: ~ 1 hour
Makes 6
Recipe category: Dessert/Western
Recipe level: Intermediate
Recipe source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

2 red apples (I suggest pink lady, braeburn or honeycrisp)
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup (53g) brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder + more for sprinkling on the pastry
Icing sugar for dusting, Optional

Note: This recipe easily doubles to make 12 apple roses

Method: 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (~180°C). Grease a standard muffin tin, and set aside.

2. Cut the apples in half and core them. Using a razor sharp knife or a mandoline, slice the apples into 1/8-inch thick slices. If you are slicing by hand, note that the slices must be thin so they get pliable and facilitate easy rolling later on. Place the apples cut side down on the chopping board and make full length slices from top to bottom. 



3. Place the slices in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the lemon juice, and toss gently to coat the slices without breaking them. This keeps them from turning brown. Add 1/8 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder and the melted butter, and toss to coat the apples evenly. Place bowl in the microwave and cook for about 1 minute, until the slices are slightly warm and bend easily. Note that if the apple slices are thicker, they may need more time in the microwave (I needed 2 minutes). Bend a slice and if it snaps in half, that means the apples need to go in for longer. Once done, strain apple slices and discard liquid. 


4. Lightly flour a work surface, then roll one sheet of puff pastry until it is a 9×12-inch rectangle. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, slice the dough into six rectangles, each one being 9×2-inches. 



5. Lay one strip on the work surface, and line the top edge with 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter cut into tiny pieces. 

The heat and humidity in my kitchen was soaring high that day so the butter started melting.


6. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of brown sugar evenly over the dough strip followed by a uniform light sprinkling of cinnamon powder. 


7. Lay apple slices over the butter one at a time, overlapping them slightly, using about 7-10 slices per strip (depending on their thickness). The round edge of the apple slices should face away from the dough, lining up like flower petals. 


8. Fold the lower part of the dough over the bottom of the apples, and press gently to hold the dough and apples in place. Starting at one end, roll the strip up, forming a rose shape. Place the rose in a muffin tin, then repeat with the remaining strips. 



9. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the edges of the pastry are golden brown and the centers are fully cooked. Let cool for 2 minutes, then remove roses from pan and transfer to a serving plate. 

10. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar if desired, and enjoy! You could also serve with vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream or natural greek yoghurt. 




Notes:
  • Aside from the apple varieties mentioned, Gala or Fuji apples would work in this recipe too 
  • If you do not have a microwave, you can place the bowl over a pot with a little simmering water and stir occasionally until the apple slices are warm and bendy
  • You can spread some cream cheese or apricot/strawberry/raspberry preserve or jam on the puff pastry for different variations
  • Make sure that the apple slices have come to room temperature while assembling the roses. If the apple slices are still hot from the microwave, they will melt the butter in the pastry
  • You can re-align the 'petals' in the muffin tin if they have not aligned properly during rolling

Cheers,


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