Here I am. Sitting in my room with the windows wide open as I watch fall embrace nature. This is my favorite time of the year – the time when the world is admired and understood by those who internalize the grand beauty of fall. The trees overflow with its most impressive color palette of deep reds, bright oranges, and beautiful yellows. As the trees begin to strip off their leaves after such glorious displays, the days get shorter and the evening descends on us earlier and earlier each day. And every once in a while, we welcome a hint of snow falling from the sky. Am I forgetting anything else?
Oh, wait. The sweet smell of these vegan apple rose tarts with cinnamon cream cheese… duh hehe.
Fall usually means some kind of basic pie recipe. You’ve got your perfectly baked, buttery crust hiding a wealth of your favorite warm, spiced filling of pumpkin, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon… you name it. Usually I don’t advocate messing around with the classics, but something about this fall wanted me to “fall” off the bandwagon and attempt the apple rose tart (oh dang, that pun), but with a little twist!
LET’S VEGAN-IZE IT. Oh yes. Pepperidge Farm’s Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets are a vegan-approved product, so I conveniently used that as the base of all my tarts. The inside filling is a three-ingredient, vegan cinnamon cream cheese filling I made by combining Daiya’s plain vegan cream cheese with cinnamon and pure vanilla extract for a warmer flavor. You can essentially mix any of your favorite fall spices with the plain cream cheese, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
A few notes about preparation and assembly (I advise you to read the recipe first before reading this section):
- Make sure to THINLY slice the apples and to slice them in UNIFORM thinness. This will assure easy rolling of the apple slices – therefore, no sudden breaking while rolling. If presentation is a main concern, the apple roses will definitely look more impressive since the thinner slices will produce more intricate and aesthetically pleasing petals at the end.
- Your slices should be WARM enough that they are PLIABLE without breaking. Again, this will aid in easy rolling!
- It is ideal that you roll the apple slices in a TIGHT roll, but do not force it as your slices may begin to slip out from under each other. Just naturally roll the slices and immediately stand it up on its bottom. Use your hands to encircle the rose and your slices will uniformly fall into place. After transferring them into your muffin tin, you can fine-tune the slices to really accentuate the petals for that perfect “rose” look. Don’t play with it too much as your slices may slip out! Just enough to give a more three-dimensional look to the apple roses.
I love how this dessert incorporates all the elements of a traditional pie – it’s just that it’s more elegant, not as heavy, and easier to make too! Seriously. Have you ever made apple pie? Because if you haven’t, I wouldn’t even ATTEMPT to try without making these first. Don’t be intimidated by the impressive swirl of the rose petals; all it really takes is solid concentration and a bit of patience. Oh… And maybe just a generous dollop of whipped cream or that scoop of your favorite ice cream to serve with this warm treat? Hehe. Now go and prepare to impress just about everyone you know.
Also: a big thank you to theFeedFeed for featuring this recipe on their page! Check it out here!
- Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (approved as vegan product)
- 2 organic apples
- 3 tbsp water half lemon
- ½ cup plain vegan cream cheese of choice (I used Daiya)
- ½ tsp cinnamon + more for sprinkling
- ½ tsp vanilla extract raw cane sugar for sprinkling flour for sprinkling counter powdered sugar for decorating
- Thaw the puff pastry for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Cut the apples in half, remove the core, then cut the apples in paper thin slices (leave the peel!).
- Right away, place the sliced apples in a medium bowl and toss with water and lemon to prevent browning. Microwave the apples in the bowl, for about 3-5 minutes or until soft and pliable.
- Unwrap the thawed puff pastry over a clean and lightly floured counter. Using a rolling pin, stretch the dough a little, trying to keep it in a rectangular shape. Cut each sheet of dough into 4 strips (total: 8 strips). At this point, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- To prepare the vegan cream cheese: Mix the plain vegan cream cheese with cinnamon and vanilla extract. Lightly spread the cream cheese onto each strip.
- Drain the apples. To assemble: Start with about 10 slices, laying the slices out horizontally, skin side toward you, overlapping the previous apple by half. Sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon and sugar across the apples if desired.
- Fold up the bottom part of the dough. Using one hand to roll and the other to support, roll the dough tightly on one end toward the other. Your tart should resemble a rose. After sealing the edge, place in a lightly greased muffin cup. Repeat for the other roses.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the sides have browned evenly. After they have cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar. These are best eaten right away when still crisp and warm. But, they can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can always warm them up for a few minutes by placing in the oven before serving.