Nearly finished brandied apple rosette pie.

Brandied Apple Rosette Pie Recipe

Warning:  You are about to read a ridiculous apple pie recipe!

It involves salted caramel, cheesecake, brandied apples, candied nuts and of course, flaki-licious pie crust. As if the flavors were not enough, this pie is also a stunning beauty that will no doubt steal the show.

This apple rosette pie recipe was to be the crowning achievement for the students who enrolled in my pie class at In Good Taste Cooking School. Once all their pies were in the oven, the participants were going to work together to make a couple of these and then enjoy them as their pies finished. But that never happened; the school closed before anybody but me got to make it. How sad. Fortunately, you can make it at home because there are nice, detailed instructions and pictures to help you on your way.

So if you want a truly gourmet piece of edible art to grace your Holiday table or just because you want a gourmet freakin’ apple pie, you MUST try this. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom and reference the gallery!  As always, if you want help, email me at or better yet, tweet at me and I’ll do my very best to help!

PS – if you make nothing else from this apple pie recipe, at least make a double batch of the caramel recipe – you will be so happy about it!

Yield: 1 Pie, using 9″ pan

Crust: Flaky Baked Pie Shell (use this pie crust recipe for even more outrageous results.)

Cheesecake Base:¾ c Milk4 Eggs

¾ c Cane Sugar

¾ c Cream Cheese, cut into chunks

2 T Cornstarch, organic if possible



3-4 Apples, peeled, cored and sliced to ¼” thick

¼ tsp Cinnamon

4 T Butter

¼ c Brown Cane  Sugar

¾ oz. Brandy

Salted Caramel:1 c Cane Sugar⅓ c Water

A couple drops Cider Vinegar

Dusting of Cream of Tartar

⅓ c Heavy Cream

2 T Butter

Sea Salt to taste


Candied Pecans:

¼ c Chopped Pecans

1 T Cane Sugar

Mise en Place:3 Small SaucepansSmall Dish of Water

Pastry Brush

Small Mixing Bowl

2 Metal Whisks

Large Sauté Pan

Wooden Spoon

½ Sheet Pan

Small Sauté Pan

Soft Spatula



Make the Caramel:

Make in advance for shorter prep time. Double the recipe and you will have plenty for the pie and snacking afterwards.

  1. Combine the water and sugar together in a small saucepan. Add the cider vinegar and place over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to bubble.
  2. Sprinkle the cream of tartar lightly over the top, aim for approximately 1/16 of a teaspoon.
  3. Continue to simmer at a very low level, washing down the sides of the pan regularly with your dish of water and pastry brush to prevent crystallization. The sugar will need to cook until it turns a deep golden color. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the cream to your other small saucepan and heat until it simmers.
  5. Add the butter to the syrup, then the cream. Whisk until smooth, return to the heat just until the caramel comes to a boil.
  6. Remove and stir in sea salt to taste. Try not to eat it all.

Make the Cheesecake Base:

Get this going after starting the caramel.

  1. Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat gently over medium-low heat until it starts to bubble.
  2. Crack the eggs into your mixing bowl, and whisk together with the cane sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Once the milk is heated, temper it into the eggs by pouring it in very slowly while whisking the eggs vigorously.  (Watch a demonstration of tempering in episode #30 – when I make the little strawberry parfaits)
  4. Fold in the cream cheese and return the mix to the heat. Heat until it just starts to boil, whisking regularly as it comes to temperature. Once it starts to boil, whisk it vigorously for about one minute and pour into the pie shell at once. Place plastic wrap so that it is flush with the surface of the cheesecake base and refrigerate until the filling is firm.

Make the apples:

Have all these ingredients prepped, then flow into this after you set the cheesecake base in the fridge.

  1. Put the apples in the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. Toss regularly as it comes up to temperature.
  2. Cook the apples until they are flexible enough to roll up, but not so soft that they break or turn into mush when handled. (See the gallery for a few visuals on this)
  3. Add the brandy and swirl around the pan for a moment to heat to a boil. Ignite to burn off most the alcohol and glaze the fruit. (Do this in 2 stages if you have a low ceiling or are not experienced with lighting booze on fire. Divide the brandy in half and repeat this step twice.)
  4. Pour off the fruit at once into your sheet pan and spread it out so that cools quickly.

Glaze the Nuts:

Make these before or after you do the apples. It’s easy to burn them, so give the nuts your full attention.

  1. While you wait for all the components to come together, make the nuts by dropping them into your small sauté pan and heating over medium heat until they start toast.
  2. Sprinkle the sugar over the hot nuts and toss. Normally the nut will render just enough oil to bind the sugar to them. If not, add a drizzle of peanut or coconut oil to help the sugar stick to the nuts.
  3. Cook until the nuts are glazed and fragrant. Remove from the heat and pour out onto a plate to allow them to cool.

Note: You may need to break them up with your fingers or a fork before you can use them on your pie because they have a tendency to cluster.

Assemble the Pie:

Reference the gallery for visuals on this. It will all make sense.

  1. Remove the cooled shell from the fridge and discard the plastic wrap.
  2. Look for the smaller, fatter pieces of apple and wrap them so they look like little cones, with the broadside down and the skinny side up. Place on the cheesecake base and press in gently to set.
  3. Begin building rosettes by wrapping strips of apple around the cone centers you placed in step 19. With these outer “petals,” press the broad end of the slice down into the base so the slim side is up.
  4. Overlap the petals to create a rose-like effect and continue adding until the cheesecake base is covered. Use the longest pieces in the middle and shorter pieces on the outside.
  5. Sprinkle the nuts between the rosettes.
  6. Finish with a generous drizzle of caramel, but make sure that your caramel is pouring off the end of a spoon in a thin stream so as not to overfill the apples. If the caramel is too thick, rewarm to thin it down.
  7. Eat immediately or chill and eat within 5 days.

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