IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…EAT IT ANYWAY, THEN TRY AGAIN!

Last week the internet was bursting with pictures and recipes for glorious baked apple roses. Even my Languedoc, France daily newspaper had a recipe and photo of these beauties. And our dearest friend, Michele Polizzi, made gorgeous apple roses and served them for dessert after a feast of prime rib and baked potatoes.

Being the good, understanding chef that he is, we were sent home with the recipe, which I devoured, remembering the sweet taste of my apple rose. Several YouTube videos later, and adding a few embellishments of my own. I was ready to give apple roses a whirl…

What I discovered about mass quantities of recipes for the same thing, most of which use canned photos, is that there has to be thought behind a published recipe, not just words.  My story…

Two Days Ago:

While the puff pastry defrosted, I yakked on the telephone with my daughter. Big mistake — not my daughter, the yakking. The pastry got veryvery limp. I cut the apples the wrong way. I didn’t bathe them in lemon juice and water (thank you Mr. You Tube who didn’t mention the lemon juice bit, but the cook in me should have remembered) but I DID microwave them for three minutes as recommended. Removing my rusty apple slices from the microwave, I KNEW I was in deep doo doo. I laid the still-stiff slices on the pastry, spread the preserves, even grated some marzipan over it all to enhance the flavor, inhaled deeply, and started to rock and roll.

Sheesh — it wouldn’t roll. The rose looked like an apple pancake.

Not one to give up, I used the pastry as a base, piled the slices into it, grated some more marzipan over it all, covered it and baked. Dessert for hubby and I was good… not apple roses, but good.

A Day Later:

I’m not one to give up. I analyzed the recipes for mistakes and started over:

The ginormous honey crisp apples in Whole Foods that I bought weren’t the red delicious apples another You Tube video recommended. But I DID bathe them in lemon juice and water, heated for 4 minutes (one more than the recommended time, but honey crisps are … crisp.) I then covered the bowl in plastic wrap and watched as the limp set in.

Apple roses 2
An almost-perfect rose!

Everything went according to plan, or recipe, from that point on.  My roses were in the oven and my garden, hopefully, was ready to bloom! The photo tells the tale!

That Night:

My version of the apple roses (and these are MY photos) was ok. They should have been baked another 7-10 minutes, but you learn as you go.

The Next Morning:

Concerned about the type of apples most of the online recipes recommended, I bought 2 beautiful red delicious apples. FORGETABOUTIT! They “rusted” very quickly. Stick with honey crisps.

Some recipes said to bake 10 minutes, others said 45. Go with the 35 and check every few minutes beyond that. I also recommend using a muffin tin to get a nice brown bottom!

Some recipes said to microwave the apples 45 seconds, others said 3 minutes. Stick with the 3 minutes and cover with plastic wrap before straining, until they get really limpy.

I AM going to share the recipe — actually it’s a combination of four different recipes, but this is the one I’m sticking with. Disaster photos and all!!!!

My Rose Garden!
My Rose Garden!

BAKED APPLE ROSES

Mis en Place:

What You Need:

Soft butter (or Sweetex, available at baking stores) for muffin tin

2 honey crisp apples, cored and sliced top-to-bottom

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tbsp. apricot preserves

1/2 tbsp. water

1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted

flour for bench

Marzipan (optional)

Utensils and Tools:

Muffin tin

Pastry brush

Slicing knife

Paring knife

Large bowl

Plastic wrap

Strainer

Kitchen towel

Small bowl

Fork

Rolling pin

Pizza wheel

Grater or shredder (optional)

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F

METHOD:

Water. Lemon Juice.

Fill the large bowl half-way with water. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl.

Apples. Water with Lemon Juice. Plastic Wrap.

Cut apples top to bottom, core them and make veryveryvery thin slices working right to left, starting at the top of the apple (where the stem lived) and slicing through to the base. Add the apple slices to the water, making sure they’re covered.  Microwave 3 minutes to soften. If they’re still somewhat stiff, add another minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside.

Apricot Preserves. Water.

Put preserves into a small bowl. Add 1/2 tbsp. water. Stir with the fork then microwave 1 minute.

Flour. Puff Pastry.

Sprinkle flour on the bench. Unwrap puff pastry and place it on the bench. (If you’re defrosting the pastry, use it when it’s cold, not gummy. If it gets gummy, refrigerate a few minutes before using.) Sprinkle more flour on the pastry. Roll it, always adding flour to the bench. You want a piece that is at least 12 inches long and it should cut into four equal long strips, using the pizza cutter.

Apple Slices.

Strain the apple slices and pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Apricot Preserves.

Use the pastry brush to spread the preserves onto the bottom of the first pastry strip.

Apple Slices.

Lay the slices onto the pastry, so that half of the slice is over the left edge and the other half is on the pastry. See photo. Flip the pasty up so that only the tops of the apples are uncovered.

Start at the bottom and begin to roll the strip, using your fingers to tuck as you go.

Place the rose into the muffin tin and bake for 35 minutes, or until the base is crispy and brown.

Puff Pastry ready for assembly.
Puff Pastry ready for assembly.
Apple slices microwaved 3 minutes.
Microwaved for 3 minutes.
Pastry with apricot preserves.
Pastry with apricot preserves.
Laying out the "rusty" apples.
Laying out the “rusty” apples.
After folding and ready to roll.
After folding and ready to roll.
What apple roses SHOULD look like after baking -- whew!!!
What apple roses SHOULD look like after baking!

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