Gluten-Free Apple Rose Tart

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non-traditional thanksgiving recipes that aren't pie: Gluten-Free Apple Rose Tart
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Some desserts are gorgeous but taste like cardboard (oh hi, wedding cake). Others are delicious but kinda ugly (what’s up, chocolate pudding?). This gluten-free apple rose tart is the best of both worlds. Its quick-and-easy press-in pecan crust leaves you with extra time to create the breathtaking apple-rose topper.


Pecan Crust

2½ cups pecans

3 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg white

Cinnamon Custard

1½ cups milk

½ cup granulated sugar, divided

¼ cup cornstarch

6 egg yolks

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Apple Roses

2 lemons, juiced

4 apples, such as McIntosh, quartered and cored

¼ cup sugar


1. Make the Pecan Crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pecans, sugar and sea salt until the nuts are very finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl.

2. Stir the butter and egg white into the nut mixture. Press the mixture into the base and up the side of a 9-inch tart pan.

3. Bake until the edge begins to brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely.

4. Make the Cinnamon Custard: In a medium pot, combine the milk and ¼ cup of the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining sugar. Whisk in the egg yolks.

6. Gradually pour a third of the hot milk mixture into the bowl, whisking constantly to combine. Transfer the contents of the bowl into the pot and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles a few times.

7. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the ground cinnamon and vanilla extract, and transfer to the cooled crust. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate until it is set, about 1 hour.

8. Make the Apple Roses: In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice with 2 cups cold water. Thinly slice the apples and place them in the lemon water.

9. In a small pot, combine 1 cup of the lemon water and the sugar; bring to a simmer. Add the apple slices and remove from the heat. Let the mixture rest until the apples are pliable.

10. To form each rose, roll one apple slice into a tight spiral, place it on top of the tart and arrange other apple slices around it in a slightly curved spiral. Repeat to make roses all over the top of the tart.

Nutrition Facts
  • Pecan Crust

  • 228 calories

  • 22g fat

  • 7g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 5g sugars

  • Cinnamon Custard

  • 101 calories

  • 3g fat

  • 15g carbs

  • 2g protein

  • 12g sugars

  • Apple Roses

  • 60 calories

  • 0g fat

  • 16g carbs

  • 0g protein

  • 13g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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