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Cranberry Apple Christmas Rose Tarts

Dried cranberries coat apple slices to give a seasonal taste and look to a rosebud apple tart. Marzipan softens the sourness of the cranberries and makes them even more Christmasy!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Canadian
Keyword #applerosetarts, #christmas, #christmastarts, #cranberry, #cranberryapple, #rosetarts
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12


  • Food processor
  • muffin tins
  • Tin foil


  • 1 batch favourite pie dough
  • 1 ½ oz dehydrated cranberries (or 45 gr) (you can use 1 oz or 30 gr for a less assertive cranberry flavour)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 lbs sweet apples
  • ¼ cup tapica starch also known as tapioca flour
  • 1 tube marzipan


  • Make pie dough, roll out and cut into circles until you have 2 dozen circles to line 2 muffin tins. Let rest for two hours.
  • Put your freeze-dried berries, sugar, salt and the vanilla seeds together in the food precoessor until the cranberries are powdered, about one minute. Do not add tapioca at this point.
  • Put the powdery mixture in an ziplock bag or a bowl and place it beside the cutting board where you'll be slicing your apples. Add in the hollowed-out vanilla pods.
  • No need to peel your apples.
    Slice apples evenly about ⅛ inch thick. Don't worry if they are not perfectly even. Trancluscent is fine, transparent is for eating. Throw away the first slice that is mostly skin.
  • Cut the round slices in half and throw in with the cranberry-vanilla sugar mixture, tossing to coat.
  • Once all your apples are sliced, let them sit in the ziplock bag, making their own juices, for at least one hour and up to three. Toss and squish once in a while to distribute flavours evenly.
  • When you are ready to assemble your tarts, add tapicoa and give the apple slices one last good squishing to distribute it evenly.
  • Remove the tart shells (pastry dough) from the fridge and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Cut slices from your tube of maripan, about ¼ inch thick. Line the bottom of the tarts by pressing the marzipan in gently. (Don't skip this step! It MAKES the tarts!)
  • Line each tart with overlapping apple slices, starting at the outer edges and working your way in. Start with the tallest pieces. Use a variety of thicknesses to get a more natural look and to help the bigger pieces stay in place.
  • When there is a small hole in the centre, take a few thin pieces and roll them together, pressing tightly. Jam this little roll into the centre and watch it expand. If there's enough room, do it again.
  • Do not top up your roses with extra macerating liquid, or your little roses will look like little red gummy blobs.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then check to see that no burning is happening at the edges.
  • Cover lightly with tin foil and bake for 15 more minutes.
  • Remove foil and let cook for 2-5 minutes more.
  • Remove from oven, and let cool for 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use a knife to loosen around the edges. Use a fork if necessary to help the tarts out of the pan. The reason to do this quickly is that any juices that may have spilled over could cause them to stick to the pan when completely cooled.
  • Serve with whipped cream or just as is! If you can find any edible metallic spray, gold or silver would be an amazing final touch. Enjoy!


  • Freeze-dried cherries would make an excellent substitute here. Or try raspberries or strawberries. 
  • I prefer almond paste to marzipan for lining pies, but it's been impossible to find this year. Odense makes both: https://www.odense.com
  • Mini-muffin tins make beautiful bite-sized rosebuds. Cut the baking time to 20 min, half covered, half not. They can still burn in a shorter cooking time. 
  • Gratitude to @bravetart, aka Stella Parks, both for introducing me to the glories of freeze-dried fruit, her method of macerating apples for a pie, and her fabulous pastry dough. And to King Arthur's Flour for instructions on how to make a rose apple pie.