Baked in a snappy pate sucrée short crust, this French Apple Rose Tart is made of thin apple slices nestled in an almond frangipane filling. While the rose pattern takes a bit more patience than tossing the slices straight into the partially baked crust, the extra effort is worth the ahh-worthy rewards.
What is Frangipane?
Frangipane is an almond custard that can be found in tarts (like this one and Bakewells), pastries, and cakes. It is used to coat bread to make bostock or fill flakey croissants - yum!
Frangipane is a mixture of ground almonds, sugar, butter, and eggs. A cross between a paste and a batter, it is often spread into tart shells before being topped with fruit. As it bakes, frangipane puffs up and cradles the cooked fruit. Pair it with apples, pears, and all the stone fruits.
Don’t confuse this almond paste with marzipan. Marzipan is a confection that can be added to baked goods or eaten straight away.
How to Make a Rose Tart
The rose design is actually much easier than you might think to create. First, use a sharp knife or mandolin to cut thin slices of apples. Soak the apples in lemon juice as you go. This makes the apple slices more pliable so you can easily curve the slices around the tart and keeps them from turning brown.
Next, start placing the apple slices on the tart. Starting with the outer edge, slightly overlap the apple slices around and around in concentric circles. Keep the rounded, peel side facing up. The slice should overlap and fit in fairly snug. Adjust the slices so the top edges look uniform in height.
Since they are so thin, there is no need to peal the apples. Using an assortment of apples, like Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Honeycrisp, not only balances out the sweet, tart flavors, but the variety provides a beautiful ombré of autumn colors that swirls around the tart.
After the apple rose tart has been baked, a simple glaze of runny honey (or you could use strained apricot jam), keeps the tart looking fresh into the next day.
Making the Pate Sucreé
Pate sucreé is a sweet pastry dough. Unlike its flaky pie crust cousin, this dough is short and sandy when baked. It is perfect for making fruit tarts.
Like pie dough, keep the butter cold and try to handle the dough as little as possible. An egg yolk and splash of water brings the dough together.
Instead of rolling out the dough, press it into the tart pan. Use the bottom of a straight-sided drinking glass to press down on the dough and in the corners of the tart pan to make sure it bakes in an even layer.
French Apple Rose Tart
1 partially baked tart shell (recipe to follow)
juice of one lemon
3 to 4 apples (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gala, and Honeycrisp all work well)
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (divided)
½ cup almond flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
honey for drizzling
To make the French Apple Rose Tart:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Juice the lemon into a mixing bowl. Slice the apples as thinly as possible and place them in the lemon juice as you go. Sprinkle them with ¼ cup granulated sugar.
Place the almond flour, 2 tablespoons butter, egg yolk, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt in a small food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and pulse until it forms a smooth paste.
Spread the almond frangipane paste in the bottom of the par baked tart shell. Starting at the inside edge of the tart shell, place overlapping apple slices in concentric circles on top of the frangipane. The first row of slices should sit upright - at the same angle as the inside of the tart shell wall. The apples slices should fit fairly snuggly in the tart, the top edges as close to the same height as possible.
As the apple slices approach the center, take a few soft slices and spiral them together to create the center of the rose. Place this bundle in the center of the tart and fill in the gaps with any remaining apple slices.
Dot the top of the tart with the remaining butter. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Once slightly cooled, brush the top of the tart with a small about of runny honey.
The French Apple Rose Tart is best served the day it is made or the day after.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon salt
zest of ½ a lemon
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1 large egg yolk, stirred
2 to 3 teaspoons ice water
Place the flour, sugar salts and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Gently stir to combine.
Toss in the butter. Cut the butter intro the flour mixture by smearing bits of butter between your thumbs and fingers (or use a pair of forks or a pastry cutter) until the butter pieces are similar in size as peas.
Stir in the egg yolk. Adding a teaspoon at a time, stir in the water until the dough just comes together. Evenly press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.* Reserve a small amount of dough to repair any cracks during baking. Chill the tart shell in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with the tines of a fork. Line the tart shell with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet (with the tart shell) from the oven. Carefully lift the parchment or foil and pie weights out of the shell. At this point, fill in any cracks with the reserved tart dough.
Return the tart shell on the baking sheet to the oven and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the tart shell feels dry to the touch, but before the shell begins to take on too much color. Allow the tart shell to cool before filling.
If you’d like the skip the rose pattern, slice the apples into ¼ to ½-inch slices and fan them out onto the frangipane. Bake until apples are tender.
*Instead of pressing the dough into the tart shell, it may be formed into a disk, wrapped in plastic, and chilled. After chilling 20 minutes, roll out the pastry dough before fitting it into the pan. This is our preferred method for a more even tart shell, but it does require an extra step. Chilling the dough also works for when you want to make the dough in advanced. Use within 3 days or freeze for up to a few months (thaw in the refrigerator).
Dry beans, rice, and even granulated sugar work as great substitutes for pie weights. Whichever you use, make sure they completely fill the tart pan to keep the sides from slumping during baking.