Rose Water Apple Tartlets

Seems like I’m on a roll again with the sweet stuff… Ever since the cookery course I’ve been craving something with pastry cream. And even before that I had this vision of a combination of apples and rose water sprinkled with pistachios. So after the course it all sort of came together.

I used the sweet pastry recipe from the cookery course, which is supposed to make enough pastry for 2 – 3 individual tartlets. In the course the dough we made easily filled 2 x 12 cm tartlet cases, but I wasn’t sure mine would go that far so I used 2 x 10 cm cases. I adapted the recipe by replacing 1 tbsp water with ½ tbsp water and ½ tbsp rose water.

For all the other ingredients I had about half the amount left over in the end, which means if you make enough dough for 4 tartlet cases you’ll have enough filling ingredients for them.

The pastry cream needs to be prepared a day ahead. The same goes for the pastry dough if you don’t want to have any waiting time for refrigerating between making and using the dough. You’ll also have 5 egg whites left after making this, so you can think up something in advance that you could make from that.

I used Fuji apples which are firm, are just the right amount of sour, and give off a little colour when cooking so the syrup turned out slightly rosy.

One last thing: Before preparing the apples make sure the pastry is cooked, cooled and filled with the pastry cream!

Rose Water Apple Tartlets

Sweet Pastry
110 g plain flour
50 g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
50 g icing sugar
½ tbsp cold water
½ tbsp rose water

Use your fingers to soften the butter and mix in the icing sugar. Sieve the flour into the mix and rub in well. [You can do this with your fingers, with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula.]

Add water and rose water to the egg yolk, and gradually mix into the prepared ingredients. You need to get a consistency that’s soft but not sticky.

Divide pastry into 2 pieces, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. [Or overnight.]

On the day you bake the dough, take it out of the fridge, allow it to become pliable before rolling out, then roll to a 2 – 3 mm thickness. Butter a tart case, line it with the pastry leaving a little pastry hanging over the edge, then refrigerate again for 30 minutes.

Place a circle of baking paper in the tart case making sure it comes up the sides, and fill the tart with baking beans. Bake blind in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the pastry has completely cooked through.

Pastry cream
300 ml milk
50 g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
20 g plain flour
10 g corn flour
½ vanilla pod

Warm the milk and scraped out vanilla seeds and pod in a heavy based pan.

Whisk the egg yolk and sugar in a bowl until combined. Sieve the flours into the egg mixture and mix well. [I did all the mixing and combining by hand, as we did in the course – but I have to admit I wore rubber gloves.]

Take out the vanilla pod, then pour the milk onto the egg yolks, mix well and return to a clean pan. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time (important!). When the mixture has thickened, pour it into a container, lay cling film directly on the surface to prevent a skin forming, and refrigerate until cool. [It’s best to sieve the mixture into the container as that way you’ll lose any stringy bits from the vanilla pod.]

Before using the pastry cream the next day, whisk it until smooth.

Rose Water Apples
1 apple, quartered, core removed, thinly sliced (with skin)
2 tbsp rose water
4 tbsp sugar
chopped pistachios

Place apple slices in a non-stick pan, add rose water and top up with tap water, just enough so the apple slices are covered. Bring to a boil and cook for a maximum of 5 minutes. [Otherwise the thin slices will become too mushy.] Remove the apples from the pot (keeping the liquid!), leave to cool for a few minutes, then arrange on top of the pastry cream.

Add sugar to the liquid and bring back to boil. As soon as it starts to look syrupy, remove from heat and brush onto the arranged apples quickly before the mixture sets. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Verdict: Totally worth making! Using rose water for the first time I didn’t want to overdo it, so even though I could smell it when I added it to the dough and made the syrup you can’t really make it out in the end product. If you know it’s in there and you taste an apple slice you might be able to notice it, but I would definitely use more next time.