Introduction: Mini Rosebud (Apple) Pies - With a Gluten Free Option

About: ...after 30 years of becoming corporately numb, my dreams of not working (for pay) and instead creating with my hands has become a reality. Life is grand!

My husband doesn't have a sweet tooth (or fillings!) but is plagued by a wheat allergy.  So, coming up with a Valentine dessert can be a bit of a challenge - - especially since I don't want to consume yummy dessert calories alone.

By combining rosebuds made from apple slices into a pie crust, I am able to create a beautiful dessert that we can both enjoy on Valentines Day!

Step 1: Gather Materials

For the Rosebuds...
  • Mandolin
  • 6-8 Red Apples (I had 6 roma apples on hand)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Large bowl of water
For the Syrup...
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
For the Mini Pie Crusts...
  • Muffin Rings 
  • Round Plastic Lid, or cookie cutter, which is ~2" larger than muffin ring
  • Parchment Paper
  • Baking Sheet (with a rim)
  • Your Favorite Pie Crust - homemade, store bought or a GF version - see Step 3

Step 2: Prepare Apples

  • Because the peel of the apple will be used to accentuate the top of the rose petal, thoroughly wash but DO NOT peel the apples.  

  • Quarter the apples and discard the cores.

  • Using a mandolin with the thinnest setting available, slice the apple quarters and soak in a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice to prevent browning.

  • Cover and place the bowl of prepared apple slices in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Step 3: Gluten Free Pie Crust (optional)

If not using your favorite pie crust, consider this Gluten Free* recipe.
  • Mix in a food processor:
1 - 1 1/4 cup GF all-pupose Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Xantham Gum
  • After adding the following to the food processor, pulse 3-4 times (mixture will be coarse)
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening (Crisco)
3 Tbsp cold butter, chopped
  • Then add the following and pulse until dough forms a ball:
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup Milk 
1 Tbsp Vinegar
Cover and chill the dough for an hour before using it.

*I used Bob's Red Mill products and found that this recipe can be re-rolled to make 10 muffin ring size crusts, or 1 large pie crust.  Because GF products do not contain the protein found in wheat, a fully baked crust will not result in the same color as a traditional wheat-based crust.

Step 4: Form Mini Pie Crusts

  • Place Muffin Rings on a baking sheet that has been covered with Parchment Paper.

  • Roll the pie dough into a large sheet and using plastic lid (or cookie cutter) that is 2" larger than the base of the muffin ring, form individual rounds.

  • After carefully lifting a dough round, bring 4 sides of the dough to the center and slip it into the ring. 

  • Next, flatten each dough round against the side of the muffin ring, creating smooth edges.

  • Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 425 degrees and let cool.

Step 5: Form Roses From the Apple Slices

  • Create a syrup by microwaving Brown Sugar, Butter, and Cinnamon for 30 seconds.  

  • Place a tablespoon of the syrup on the bottom of each pre-baked crust, reserving the leftover syrup for the last step.

  • Working with a small quantity of sliced apples at a time, microwave for 15-30 seconds until they are pliable.  

  • Create the center of the rose by gently rolling a softened apple slice around itself. 

  • Overlap another apple slice around the center of the rose, forming a bud.

  • Continue adding slices until you are no longer able to hold the bud together between your fingers - or about 1".  

  • Place rosebuds in the pre-baked shells.  (Consider filling gaps with smaller apple rosebuds, dried cranberries and/or nuts.)

  • Drizzle leftover syrup over the apple rosebuds.

  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.   

Step 6: Bake, Cool, Display, Yum!

  • After the tarts have been allowed to cool, loosen the muffin rings and gently release each pie.

  • Display proudly (because they are so pretty).

  • Serve at room temperature either naked or with whipped cream. (Couldn't resist...puns intended)

  • Expect loving compliments to flow!
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