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Apple Rose Tart with Peanut Butter Custard

Foxes Love Lemons teaches us how to make a beautiful Apple Rose Tart!

If you're looking at this Apple Rose Tart thinking "there's no way I can make that," think again. Seriously, I'm SO not a baker. In fact, in culinary school, the pastry chef forced me to BUY one of the cakes I made and take it home because it was so ugly. He said he couldn't sell it at the school's bake shop, so I would have to purchase it myself. Talk about embarrassing.
Since then, I've been on a mission to create beautiful things that are attainable for home cooks. So, let's walk through this Apple Rose Tart with Peanut Butter Custard. We've got this.















•    Crust: I used a 14×5-inch rectangular tart pan, but a refrigerated pie crust that was made for a 9-inch round pie. So, I laid the pie crust across as much of the pan as I could, and then I used the trimmings from where the crust overlapped the pan to piece together the section of the pan that wasn't covered. So yes, I kind of Frankensteined the crust together. Because the crust gets covered with both custard and a million apple roses, the Frankencrust really isn't an issue in the end. Nobody will EVER notice. Alternatively, if you are using homemade pie crust, you can roll it out to a rectangle instead of a circle.
•    Peanut Butter Custard: My only tip here is to try to ignore it while it cools. Because this custard is AMAZING, and you'll want to eat it all with a spoon. It's dangerous. Try to resist.
•    Slicing the Apples: You'll want a mandoline for this. You *could* use a very sharp knife to very thinly slice the apples, but you need so many apple slices that a mandoline will just be much, much faster. And whatever you do, do NOT take the guard off the mandoline. It's not worth the risk. You'll need all of your fingers to make these roses.
•    Turning the Apple Slices Into Roses: You'll need to microwave the apple slices briefly, until they are flexible but not mushy. From there, you'll want to work at rose-making until you find the best technique for you. I folded each apple slice over onto itself once, and then rolled the doubled-over slice up like a pinwheel. I then used another doubled-over apple slice to wrap around the first roll. Repeat as many times as feels comfortable, and then press the rose (apple peel side up) into the custard. The more slices you use, the larger the rose will be. You can also continue wrapping apple slices onto the rose once it is settled into the custard.
•    Placing the Roses – Be confident, and do NOT worry about messing up the custard a little bit when you press the roses into it. It just comes with the territory – you HAVE to mess up the custard a little to get the roses to stand up. Once the whole tart is covered in roses, you won't be able to see the custard anyway.
•    Sizing the Roses – I liked the look of some roses being larger and some being smaller, but if you'd like each rose to be more uniform, go ahead and do that.
•    Glazing – If you're planning to serve the tart right away, glazing is optional. But, if you're making the tart a few hours before serving it, you'll want to brush the apple roses with a simple mixture of apricot preserves and water, to prevent the apples from drying out.


Apple Rose Tart with Peanut Butter Custard
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes

For the Crust:
•    1 refrigerated pie crust

For the Peanut Butter Custard:
•    1 cup milk, divided
•    1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
•    1 egg
•    1/3 cup granulated sugar
•    Pinch of kosher salt
•    2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
•    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Apple Roses:
•    Juice of 1 lemon
•    7 to 9 Michigan Gala apples
•    2 tablespoons apricot preserves (optional)


1.    Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press crust into 14- by 5-inch tart pan; cut off excess crust hanging over edge and use pieces of crust to press into end of pan not already covered with crust. Use fork to poke several holes in bottom of crust. Line crust with parchment paper; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove pie weights and parchment paper; transfer crust to wire rack to cool completely. Leave oven on at 350 degrees F.
2.    Meanwhile, make the Peanut Butter Custard: In medium saucepot, whisk 1 tablespoon milk and cornstarch until smooth. Add egg, sugar, salt and remaining milk; cook over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; whisk in peanut butter and vanilla. Pass mixture through fine-mesh strainer. Transfer custard to refrigerator and cool 30 minutes.
3.    Spread cooled custard evenly in tart crust. Transfer to oven and bake 12 minutes or until custard is set. Transfer to wire rack; cool 30 minutes before starting Apple Roses.
4.    Make the Apple Roses: Place lemon juice in medium bowl and add 1 cup cold water. Working with one apple at a time, cut apple in half lengthwise and use melon baller to remove core and stem. Thinly slice apple on mandoline slicer. Dip apple slices in lemon juice mixture; place apples in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 35 to 45 seconds or until apples are soft and pliable. Transfer apples to clean kitchen towel to drain excess moisture.
5.    Fold each apple slice over onto itself once, then roll apple into tight spiral. Wrap second folded apple slice around first spiral, making sure side of apple slice with peel is facing same direction on both apples. Press roll, peel side up, into custard in tart pan. If desired, continue to arrange folded apple slices around first spiral, building a rose pattern, or begin new apple rose. Repeat with remaining apple slices.
6.    Continue process with remaining apples until entire surface of tart is covered with roses.
7.    Tart is best eaten the same day it is made. If not serving tart within two hours, place apricot preserves and 1 teaspoon water in small microwave safe bowl. Microwave 15 seconds; whisk until smooth. Use pastry brush to lightly brush mixture onto apple roses.

Lori Yates is a Detroit-area recipe developer and food photographer. She is the author of Foxes Love Lemons, where she posts special yet simple original recipes for the "home chef" in all of us.