Petite Cranberry + Apple Tarts

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
apple + cranberry petite rosette tarts | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife

port cranberry + apple petite rosette tarts

Ohh how badly I wanted to share these with you and equally did not want to write this post. Mostly because I knew I would want to really spell everything out for you, so as not to leave you hanging with dough under your finger nails and cranberry sauce strewn about…and I knew it would take hella time. So considering I really need to get on with my Thanksgiving prep let’s get to it without any ramblings or musings.

Before We Get Started:

  • I used a 3-inch round (1 1/5-inch height) food mold (you know the kind they use in restaurants to stack entrees?). I’m thinking you could also use a ramekin or a muffin tin…just note that getting them out could prove a little more difficult.
  • Make-ahead options… You can make the cranberries and the tart dough several days in advance of assembling everything. Put the cranberries in an air-tight container and store in the fridge. The tart dough can be assembled, separated into 12 equal-sized balls, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then put in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Set them out on the counter top when ready to use. Roll out when they are just pliable, don’t let them get too warm or your butter chunks in the dough will melt. Not good.
  • You want your apples thin, but don’t stress too much if some are paper thin and some are a wee thicker. Use the thicker apple slices for the outside of the rose and the thinner ones (that are more pliable) for the very middle of the rose. Additionally, don’t stress that the apples are sitting out. You squeezed some citrus on there which should take care of excessive browning. I let them sit on the counter for quite some time to soften and didn’t find that it negatively effected the final product whatsoever.
  • These are in the food section of the current issue of California Homes Magazine. For that shoot, I made these (including baking) the evening before and they tasted fantastic the following day. So if you’re making them for the holiday dinner, don’t stress yourself out making them the day of. Once baked and cooled, be sure to wrap them tightly and store out of the sunlight (I did not refrigerate). If you’d like to see more of this shoot, which I did with Maili Halme (who is an AMAZEBALLS chef, btw), check it out on her website…lots of beautiful photos and you’ll see the actual pages of the magazine.
  • For the tart dough…I give instructions using a food processor. You can also use a large bowl and cut your butter + shortening in using a pastry blender or two knives.
  • Apples…I picked an assortment from my trees…mostly granny smith and gala. I think the gala ones look especially pretty with the green and red color of the skin.
  • In regards to the quantities of cranberries, apples and dough…you should have extra of all. I hate when I’m making something and I feel like I have to start rationing. Cranberries can become cocktails…swirl the apples in hot oatmeal…make the dough into cookies coated in crystal sugar. Or make yourself more tarts…you decide.
  • One last note… The cranberries are my five-spice cranberries (original recipe here), feel free to sub in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in place of the five-spice if it’s not your thing. Won’t hurt my feelings one bit. The tart dough recipe is America’s Test Kitchen’s Vodka Pie Crust…which, as far as I’m concerned, is the best crust ever. OK, now let’s get our bake on betches.
apple + cranberry petite rosette tarts | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife
apple + cranberry apple petite rosette tarts | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife
apple + cranberry petite rosette tarts | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife
port cranberry + apple petite rosette tarts

Makes 12 Petite Tarts


For the Port Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 2/3 cups ruby Port
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder

For the Tart Dough

  • 6 tablespoons vodka, cold
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 18 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces

For the Apples

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 10 medium-small apples


For the Cranberries

  1. Put the port and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then add the cranberries, cherries, red wine vinegar and five-spice powder. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring periodically, for about 20 minutes. I like some of the cranberries whole and some popped…it looks pretty that way.
  2. Set the cranberries aside to cool completely before using (no fudging here…you don’t want to put warm cranberries on your uncooked tart crust). If using another day, store in an airtight container in the fridge for later use.

For the Tart Dough

  1. Put the vodka and water in a glass together and place in the freezer to get a chill on. Likewise, you can set your butter and shortening in there to get an extra chill as well.
  2. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until well blended.
  3. Grab your butter and shortening and cut them into chunks. Sprinkle over the top of the flour and pulse until it’s the consistency of cottage cheese curds.
  4. Pour the flour-butter mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Grab your vodka-water mixture and drizzle it over the top.
  6. Using the back of a spatula, press on it until it starts to stick together…shouldn’t take much.
  7. Lightly dust flour on top of a clean surface and dump your dough there. Press any rogue pieces of dough into the main dough lump. **Quick tip: set the dough in the freezer while you get our your 12 pieces of plastic wrap (see step below) to wrap the dough balls in…you want to keep the dough as cool as possible. One additional note: each dough ball weighs roughly 3 ounces each, if you want to make sure they are equal size.
  8. Flour your hands and separate the dough into 12 equal-sized dough balls. Wrap each one in plastic wrap (tightly) and then shove in a resealable plastic bag. Either place in the fridge to use after 30-60 minutes of chill time (it needs this before use) or place in the freezer if you won’t be using within the next 12-ish hours.

Time for the Apples, Baby

  1. In a medium-size bowl, add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon and orange juice. Stir around until it’s well blended.
  2. Now, let’s cut some apples. Look at the pictures above. You want all the apples  cut roughly the same size. Cut one hunk off of the apple as above, cut that hunk into two halves and then thinly slice each hunk into thin slices. If some of your slices are super thin and some are a little thicker, don’t stress. You’ll use the thicker apple pieces for the outside of the rosette and the thinner ones, that are more pliable, on the inside.
  3. Stir your apples periodically to make sure everything is nice and coated. Stir gently and try not to break anything. But equally don’t sweat it if you do…I had you do extra slices so that you would have lots to pick from.
  4. One last note…I don’t peel the apples because I think it looks pretty (and takes less time, yay!) when you don’t.

Let’s Assemble These Bitches

  1. Place a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and your molds in the freezer to get nice and chilled.
  2. Cut 12 4-inch square pieces of parchment paper and set aside. You’re going to place these underneath the molds when you are pressing the tart dough into the molds.
  3. Take several dough balls out of the fridge and allow them to soften just a touch. You want them to roll out easily without breaking, but you don’t want the dough sticky (which it will get if it gets too warm).
  4. Lightly dust some flour on a clean surface in which to roll out your dough. Since we used vodka as half of our liquid, we can use a little more flour then we might normally use. Don’t go cray, but more flour is preferable to sticking.
  5. Roll out each dough round to a solid 4-ish inch circumference (at least), about 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Put your 3-inch food mold on top of a piece of parchment paper and set the dough on top of the mold. Very gently press the dough into the bottom of the mold and up the sides.
  7. When the dough has filled up the interior of the mold, use your finger to press down around the edges of the mold and cut off the excess dough. Place each mold with the dough (on top of the parchment…this will help you move it about) onto the baking sheet in the freezer until you finish making the rest of the tart crusts. Finish all of the tart crusts in the same manner.
  8. Once all of the tart crusts are finished and in the freezer, grab one tart crust  from the freezer and place it on your countertop. Put one heaping tablespoon of the cranberries on the bottom of the uncooked crust.
  9. Now, it’s time for the apples. Start placing the apples, cut side down against the cranberries, around the edge of the dough. Make sure they have a slight overlap. Use the thicker slices for the outer edges and then softer ones in the very middle, where you are going to want to roll one apple wedge into a funnel…that will be the middle of your rose. Put about 2 teaspoons of juice (from the bowl where the apples are mingling with the sugar and lemon + orange juice) in the center of the tart.
  10. Once you finish one tart, transfer it back into the freezer and start on the next one. The key to these is to not stress. Have a knife handy to trim an apple that is perfectly pliable, but too fat. Nudge the apples into place and if they start to lay across the bottom of the tart a bit, push them a little more vertical and press them (GENTLY) against the outer edges of the tart, so they are standing upright, not at an angle. Here’s the last tip…your last ones will look better than your first ones. Just a fact. But there is a certain rustic charm to these that welcomes imperfections. Which is probably why I like them.
  11. When they are all finished and freezing away, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure you have a rack in the middle of the oven.
  12. Once your oven is nice and heated, put the baking sheet holding your tarts on the middle rack and set the timer for 25 minutes. You want them nice and bubbly, the slightest George Hamilton along the edges.
  13. Your done. You deserve a drink. They’re beautiful aren’t they? In fact, you should have some cranberries left over…grab a heaping spoonful and put it in the bottom of a glass…add a little ice, some vodka, some soda water if you have it handy, the squeeze of an orange and you’re ready to feel #smugAF.



Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

I love your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot, I look forward to chatting with you!

Rebecca xox


  • Deb|EastofEdenCooking November 23, 2015 at 3:37 PM

    Love how the port cranberry adds another dimension of color and flavor to these stunning apple tarts! Simply gorgeous!

    • DisplacedHousewife November 23, 2015 at 5:24 PM

      Hi Deb — Thank you!! I love how the cranberry bleeds out in spots…these are definitely worth the effort!! xoxo

  • Maili November 23, 2015 at 2:43 AM

    These are as equally delicious as they are beautiful!

    • DisplacedHousewife November 23, 2015 at 5:23 PM

      Thanks a bunch Maili!! It’s always fun working with you!! xoxo

  • Sally November 23, 2015 at 2:36 AM

    REALLY good – beautiful – tarts.

  • Amanda November 23, 2015 at 1:48 AM

    These are absolutely GORG! I must make these for Thanksgiving!