Pink pearl apples might be the biggest highlight of the fall season for me. It wasn’t until two or three years ago when I found my first pink pearl apple but since then it is what I look forward to most every fall. I had to travel quite a distance to find last year’s pink pearl apples. When I did get my hands on them I bought many of them and made many treats with them, including:
– ricotta almond cake with pink pearl apples (recipe)
– pink pearl apple tart with almond frangipane, almond pâte sablée, and a rose apple glaze (I still have to share the recipe for this)
– and a few iterations of the above treats
This year I was able to find pink pearl apples at my local farmers market. They are a bit lighter in colour than the ones I found last year, but I love these ones just as much. I showed some self-control and only bought a few apples, just enough for what I wanted to make. There was no apple-hoarding behaviour. I wanted to use these pink pearl apples to make something simple, something that would let the apples shine. I remade the tart that many of you love on this blog. This pink pearl apple tart is a slightly updated version of that rose apple tart. I have made it many times since that first iteration, and each version is better than the previous one. So here is my latest and hopefully greatest version of my rose apple custard tart starring pink pearl apples, of course. If you don’t have pink apples readily available, I promise this tart will taste just as good when made with your favourite type of apple. If you are keen on having a pink apple tart, a little hack to creating your own pink pearls with normal apples is giving them a light hibiscus tea glaze or cooking them down in hibiscus tea.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 – 6 large apples
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Beat the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy.
- Beat in the egg yolk and mix until fully combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, beat in the salt and flour just until the dough comes together and there is no more visible flour. Careful not to over-mix.
- Remove dough from the bowl and press the dough into the tart pan, making sure it is evenly distributed.
- Using a fork, prick the bottom of the tart shell to prevent the bottom from puffing up when baking.
- Wrap the pan loosely in plastic and chill 30 minutes.
- Bake the tart shell at 350F or until the crust is a light golden brown (approximately 13 minutes).
- Remove carefully from oven and let rest on a wire rack.
- Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan.
- Using a sharp knife, split vanilla bean in half lengthways and scrape out seeds. Add bean and seeds to milk mixture.
- Place mixture over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove saucepan from heat. Remove vanilla beans from milk mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar.
- Slowly stream the hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 – 15 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Over medium heat, combine orange juice, sugar, and butter in a medium-size pot. Remove from heat once mixture boils.
- Peel, core, then cut apples in half. Using a very sharp knife or mandolin, slice apples paper thin, roughly 1/8-inch in thickness.
- Place the sliced apples in the hot sugar, butter, and orange juice mixture. Leave apples to soak for 10 minutes, or until they are pliable.
- Remove the apple slices from the liquid and pat with paper towel if too wet. Lay the apple slices on a plate.
- Start with the smaller apple slices first (the centre of rose), roll apple slice so that both ends of the slice overlaps a little. Taking a slightly larger slice, build a second petal on the exterior of the first rolled slice. Continue until you have a fully “bloomed” apple rose.
- Arrange apple roses into the custard-filled tart. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.