Aside: Apple roses

A week or two ago, this video recipe popped up on my Facebook newsfeed:

And I’ve been obsessed with it. Somehow I’m in a lull with no baby showers or bridal showers or miscellaneous brunches to host, so I made it for a few friends who came over to watch football last weekend.

I tweaked 2 things from the recipe as described by Cooking with Manuela:

  1. I used pie crust instead of puff pastry
  2. I used McIntosh apples instead of red delicious.

Why?

Pie crust is much easier to make and is infinitely more delicious than store-bought puff pastry, which always just tastes like shortening to me. If you are thinking, “Wait, pie crust from scratch is so hard!” continue reading below.

Red delicious apples are certainly a better red, but they aren’t delicious at all. The McIntosh have a nice tartness to them that balance out the jam well. However, whether due to the properties of the apples themselves or just my sub-par knife skills, I had a hard time getting evenly thin slices that didn’t break in half, and the skins didn’t stay on as well. So if you are strictly going for aesthetics, red delicious might be a reasonable option. But they will look nice regardless, so my advice is to choose a tastier apple. (And be better than I am with a knife. That will help.)

Perfect Pie Crust

I’m baffled by so many recipes trying so hard to figure out pie crust, when it is really this simple:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (8 Tbs) cold butter
  • A little water (up to 1/4 cup)

Put the flour and butter into a bowl. Use a pastry knife (or pastry blender or cutter or whatever you call it – I mean this) to blend them into a course meal. Add enough water to make it a cohesive mass. Be careful not to overwork it!

Just the right amount of butter chunks.
Just the right amount of butter chunks.

NOTE: The original post said to blend the butter and flour into a uniformly coarse meal, but my husband/resident pie genius happened to be making some mini pies tonight, and said getting it to be uniform would be too much. Instead, leave it lumpy, as pictured. Chunks of butter make for flaky crust, he says.

If your room is very hot, you may want to pop the dough into the fridge for a few minute before rolling. The warmer it is, the stickier it will be.

To roll it, generously flour your work surface and add more flour than you think you’ll need to the top while you roll. It will be pretty sticky, which of course makes getting it into the pie plate (or rolling it into apple roses) trickier.

This recipe makes enough for a bottom crust of one 9″ pie (or 6-7 apple roses). Double it if you’ll need a top crust too.

Note: Credit for this simple and perfect recipe goes to my husband, who is widely renowned for his pie.

Apple Rose Assembly

I followed the video instructions pretty much verbatim, except as noted above. I should have used more flour in rolling out my dough, because I rolled it a little thin in an attempt to get 7 roses out of the batch instead of 6 so everyone would get one. As a result, the crust was a little thin and sticky, causing it to fall apart.

And since some of my apple slices were a little thick, they were harder to roll into the super-thin crust, compounding the problem.

You can probably pick out from the picture which ones were from the thicker, more stable middle of the crust and which were from the thinner edges.

 

2015-09-19 15.37.47

So some looked better than others, and if this had been for a more formal occasion I would have taken more time to chill the dough and re-roll it with more flour. But still, even throwing this together as quickly as possible during halftime, they looked nice and were a super tasty 4th quarter treat!

And has a happy bonus, Cooking with Manuela has a bunch of great looking recipes I hope to try soon!

 

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