irvin’s spiced brown butter apple rose tart


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart|A Brown Table

Irvin Lin needs no introduction, he writes Eat the Love , one of the first baking blogs that I started to read many years ago, even before I started mine. And now Irvin has a gorgeous new book on baking that is reflective of the work on his blog; he creates the unexpected dessert that’s not only a visual treat but also one for the tastebuds. This book reinvents baking through interesting flavors and ideas and Irvin executes every recipe in the book with perfection. For example, I’ve struggled with making apple roses for a long time. Most recipes require you to pour boiling water or keep popping them into the microwave while they sit in a lemon juice-water bath. But Irvin’s technique is much simpler and actually works with ease, you’ll still need one apple to play with. But with a few pulse in the microwave, I got my apple roses without any fuss and you don’t need a water bath. 

With Christmas around the corner, I figured I’d redesign this tart to resemble a wreath and be extra festive. I used the left over pastry to make the bow and simply cut out strips of pastry that I shaped into the bow and placed that on tart. I actually ended up using 2 large apples versus the ones listed in Irvin’s original recipe from the book below but if you want to fill up the entire tart and skip the wreath, stick to his amounts. 

I think this is a book you definitely want to add to your Christmas list this year! There’s something in it for everyone, a sweet treat for every day and every occasion! You’ll be cooking your way through Irvin’s book just like I am.

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table


irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin's spiced brown butter apple rose tart| A Brown Table

irvin’s spiced brown butter apple rose tart (from Marbled, Layered and Swirled – Irvin Lin – HMH – 2016)

yields: one 10 inch tart


1 1⁄4 cups (175 g) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup (75 g) whole-wheat flour
1⁄4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
3⁄4 cup (170 g or 1 1⁄2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
1⁄4 cup dark rum

browned butter filling
1⁄2 cup (115 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter

6 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

3 green cardamom pods

1 star anise
1 large vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (35 g) all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

apple roses
2 1⁄2 pounds (about 5 medium) red-skinned firm apples, such as Braeburn, Gala, or Jonagold
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


crumble topping
1⁄4 cup (55 g) packed dark brown sugar
1⁄3 cup (50 g) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

make the crust

Combine both flours, the sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1⁄2-inch cubes and sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Toss the butter cubes with your hands to coat, then squeeze until they flatten out, squeezing and tossing until the dough starts to resemble crumbly cornmeal with bits of butter still in flattened chunks. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the rum, then drizzle the liquid over the flour-butter mixture and fold together. As the dry ingredients become moister, work the ingredients together with your hands until they come together and form a dough. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle a little more flour into it. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more rum or cold water. The dough should be soft. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle, but don’t worry if isn’t perfect. This dough is really forgiving. Fit the dough into a 10-inch round tart pan with are movable bottom. This recipe makes a little more dough than necessary, so if you need to, use the extra dough to patch up any holes or tears. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork all over, then line with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights. Freeze the lined pan for about15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Set the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until very lightly golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Let the crust cool on a wire rack, and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

make the browned butter filling

Combine the butter, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and star anise in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the pan then add the vanilla pod as well. Add the nutmeg and orange zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts and starts to brown and turn fragrant. Once the butter starts to brown, turn the heat off and let the residual heat bring the butter to the right point. You don’t want to burn the butter fat, you just want it golden brown. Discard the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and vanilla pod. Let cool to room temperature.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the butter, scraping the brown bits at the bottom of the pan into the bowl. Pour the filling into the crust.

make the apple roses

Cut the apples by placing the apple on its bottom and slicing down near the core but not close enough to get any seeds. Rotate the apple 90 degrees and slice down again. Repeat two more times until you have a rectangular core, which you can discard, and 4 apple chunks with skin on them. Place the apple chunks flat side down on the cutting board and cut thin lengthwise slices with a sharp knife (or use a mandoline). Each slice should have one flat edge and one rounded edge with a thin piece of red skin. Place the apple slices in a large microwave-safe bowl with the lemon juice. Toss to coat to prevent the apple slices from turning brown. Slice all the apples, continuing to toss the apple slices with the lemon juice as you go. Add the sugar and butter and toss to coat.

Microwave the apple mixture for 1 minute. You don’t want to completely cook the apples, just soften them enough to make them pliable. If they are still too crisp and break when you bend them, cook in additional 15-second increments, testing until they are bendable. The amount of time will depend on how thick you cut the apples and how powerful your microwave is.
Starting with the thinnest, smallest piece you can find, curl the apple slice, with the skin side at the top, into a spiral, forming a rose-like shape. Wrap another, larger slice around the first slice. Build a rose with as many slices as you can. Use a spatula (or the side of a large chef ’s knife) to move the apple rose to the filled tart crust. The filling should help hold the apple roses together. Repeat with the rest of the apple slices, until you have tightly filled the entire surface of the tart. Any gaps in the tart where the roses don’t quite fit can be filled with extra apple slices and smaller roses.

make the crumble topping

Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and stir together with a fork. Drizzle the butter over the dry ingredients and toss until crumbs start to form and stick together. Sprinkle the crumble in a ring, about 1 inch wide, around the edge of the tart on top of the apples.
Bake until the apples are a rich golden brown and the filling has set and looks puffy and slightly golden, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least
30 minutes before releasing the tart from the sides of the pan.


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