Hidden rose apple tarts with ruby chocolate

I just love it when fruits come in unusual or different colors. Purple kale, watermelon radishes, rainbow carrots, blood oranges, all things that I came to love when I first got into cooking over 10 years ago. Then about 3 years ago, I learned about naturally pink apples. Mountain or hidden rose apples, depending on the grocery store you purchase them from, start out looking like a normal Granny Smith apple with that bright green exterior. Then you cut into them, and they are bright pink on the inside! They kind of remind me of watermelon radishes in that sense, with the color contrast being so fascinating and unexpected! I have used these naturally pink apples years ago, but I wanted to bring them back, since they were in limited stock in the Tokyo Central right where I lived(these apples are available for maybe 2 weeks in the year in the fall, so they come in extremely limited supply!). So of course I had to hop on any chance I could to grab a handful of them, and use them to make this recipe!

For the components of these tartlets, we have a short crust pastry that uses apple brandy to add that apple flavoring, and give the dough a flakier texture. Inside, we have a gelee made from the hidden rose apples, and a ruby chocolate ganache, just to tie back in with that pink coloration. The top is made of shaved hidden rose apples that are brushed with a simple syrup made from the apple peels and cores, and perfumed with a little rose water, just to tie in with the presentation of the dessert. Lastly, a little rose apple fluid gel, made from blending the leftover gelee and piping it onto the tarts, to resemble the morning dew on a rose. These tarts were a ton of fun to make, just because of the assembly, and I really enjoyed being able to embrace that pink color to the fullest!

For the tart shell:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and diced
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp apple brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor, start by combining the flour, sugar, salt, and butter until that forms a crumbly mixture. Then add in the remaining ingredients and pulse together until fully combined into a dough. Chill down the dough for 10-20 minutes in the freezer. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8th an inch thickness. Line 4 4-inch crumpet molds with oil and flour. Cut out disks from the dough and place into the crumpet molds. With the remaining dough, re-roll it to about 1/8th an inch thickness again and trim the dough into strips to line the sides of the crumpet molds with. Prick the bottom of the shells and freeze for another 10-15 minutes. Then bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Press the still-hot tart shells so that they stay thin and circular in shape. Allow the shells to cool down completely before unmolding.

For the apple gelee:
1 hidden rose apple, peeled and cored
2 tbsp agar agar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon or yuzu juice

Puree everything in a blender first. Pour through a sieve into a pot and heat up until reduced by half. Pour into a shallow container and chill down until set. Cut out 4 3-inch disks of the gelee. With the remaining gelee, puree with 2-3 tbsp hot water until it forms a fluid gel. Transfer the fluid gel to either a piping bag or a squeeze bottle.

For the apple syrup:
reserved peels and core from 1 hidden rose apple
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon or yuzu juice
1/2 tsp rose water

Bring everything but the rose water to a simmer for 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Take off heat and strain out the peels and core. Mix in the rose water and allow the syrup to cool completely before using.

For the ruby chocolate ganache:
8oz ruby chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup milk

In a pot, heat up all of your ingredients together until they begin to melt. Whisk on medium heat until completely combined and thickened to the point where the mixture clings to the sides of your whisk. Take off heat and allow the mixture to cool down completely. Mix with a rubber spatula until softened for assembly.

For assembly:
2 hidden rose apples

Slice one of the apples on the thinnest setting on a mandolin, then slice the other on the 2nd thinnest setting. Brush the slices with the syrup so that the slices do not oxidize. To assemble, start with the gelee in the tart shells first. Then spread on the ganache. Place on the 2nd thinnest apple slices first. Wrap the thinnest apple slices around one another to form a rose. Place the rose on top of the tarts and finish with dots of the fluid gel. Continue to add layers to the rose until it is about 90% the size of the tart.

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