Salted caramel baked right into them!
Many moons ago, I was an adherent of the “life’s too short to stuff a mushroom” school of thought in regard to food preparation. Clearly, things have changed a lot in the ensuing years. When a friend recently shared a video for apple roses and, soon after, I saw them popping up all over the place, my reaction was to throw myself face first onto the apple rose bandwagon. Stuff a mushroom? Nah, let’s make a flower out of a fruit!
Caramel apples are a popular autumn treat, so it seemed only natural to add caramel to these beauties. I had some caramel sauce left over from another project, but you can use store-bought caramel sauce if you don’t want to make a full batch. Once you’ve got the caramel made, it really is very quick to pull these together, and they make an impressive dinner party dessert or just a lovely treat. Not too sweet, a perfect balance of pastry : caramel : apple, they taste of autumn in all its finest.
Preparation time: about 30 minutes
If making caramel sauce: about 30 minutes additional
Baking time: 40 minutes
3 large or 4 smaller red skinned apples (I used gala)
juice of half a lemon
about 2 cups water
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen
about 60ml (1/4 cup) caramel sauce
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5 and butter 6 wells of a standard sized muffin pan.
Halve, core and thinly slice the apples crosswise about 3mm or 1/8″ thick, discard the end pieces, and place the slices in a microwave safe bowl. Pour over the juice from half a lemon and add enough water to make sure the apple slices are covered. Microwave for 3 – 8 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the variety and age of the apples – they need to be soft and pliable enough to roll up without breaking. Drain the apples well and spread out on paper towel to absorb a bit more more of the water.
Heat the caramel in the microwave so it’s spreadable.
Lightly flour a large cutting board and roll out the puff pastry to about 26 x 42cm (10 x 16″). Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut it across into 6 strips.
Spread about 2 teaspoons of caramel sauce along the centre of one strip of puff pastry.
Arrange apple slices along the length of the strip, overlapping (the end of one starting at around the middle of the one before it) leaving them overhanging the edge by about a centimetre or 2/5″. Keep adding slices until you reach the end.
Fold the pastry up over the bottom of the apple slices, so it’s even with the other edge.
Roll up from one end and place in the buttered muffin tin. Repeat with remaining pastry strips and apple slices.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, until the edges of the pastry are golden brown. The caramel will bubble up and probably make a mess of your muffin tin, but a good soak later will get that off.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then use a knife or plastic spatula to loosen them and remove to a wire rack.
Serve warm or cool, dusted with powdered sugar is desired. A scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn’t go astray, either.
Note: this will make a lot more than you need, but it keeps well in the fridge for 2 weeks, and reheats easily in the microwave. You can halve the recipe, to have less left over.
200g (1 cup) granulated (white) sugar
120ml (1/2 cup) whole cream, room temperature
60g (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of a medium, heavy-based saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow the sugar to start melting and the liquid to turn brown, without stirring at all, 3 – 5 minutes. When it starts to bubble and the sugar has all melted and browned, carefully pour in the cream. It will steam violently, so take care. While stirring to combine, allow it to come back to the boil, then remove from the heat. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Add the butter bit by bit, stirring until fully combined.
Add the vanilla extract and salt, stir in well and set the sauce aside to cool, stirring occasionally.