• Cinnamon pastry filled with vanilla cheesecake and poached apple roses - easy to make, stunning to look at!

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Tarts

When a colleague told me they had just popped the question and gotten engaged, my baker’s brain kicked in and I came up with these Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Tarts to celebrate their wonderful news. Knowing they weren’t into crazy sweet confections, what I came up are like a upmarket cross between an apple tart and homemade Cinnabons.

Between the crisp cinnamon pastry, vanilla cheesecake filling and poached apple, you get a happy marriage of warmth, tartness and fruity sweetness. And I can hardly describe how utterly delicious they are if you eat them with the breath of the oven still on them…

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Tarts-5


The inspiration for these tarts came from the memory of when Mary-Anne Boermans, finalist of the second season of The great British Bake Off wowed the nation with her Apple Rose Tarts. I’m quite sure the whole nation gasped in amazement as the episode aired when she presented them to the judges.

It was remarkable to see how effective it was to simply roll up a long line of poached apple slices to form a very old English looking rose. Using red apples definitely adds to the visual appeal as it seeps into the flesh of the apple giving that blushing pink hue. 

Whilst the appearance of my version is most definitely inspired by Mary-Anne’s, the recipe is my own. I couldn’t think of a more romantic bake to celebrate such lovely news.

Here’s the tin I used for these tarts and also my Mini Vanilla Pastry Bing Cherry Bakewells and Mini Lemon Meringue Pies.

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Tarts
Elegant little tarts made with cinnamon pastry, cheesecake filling and poached apple slices rolled into roses. An upmarket cross between apple pie and cinnabons!
Servings: 12
Author: Just Jo
For the pastry
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g soft butter
  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp cold water
For the filling
  • 35 g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 35 g full fat cream cheese
  • 35 g sour cream
  • Seeds from a vanilla pod
  • 1 rounded tbsp plain flour
For the apples
  • 3 large red apples Pink Ladies or Royal Gala work well
  • 4 heaped tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 quill cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla pod
  1. Make the pastry first.
  2. Place all the pastry ingredients in a food processor apart from the water and pulse until you have a sandy texture. Dribble in 1 tsp cold water at a time, pulsing to bring the dough together as a ball. Tip out and wrap in cling, refrigerating for 30 minutes to firm up the butter. (You may of course do this by hand).
  3. Roll the pastry out to 2mm thick on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of cling film and cut out circles about 2cm larger than the wells in your chosen tin and gently press in without stretching the pastry. When all 12 done, place in the fridge to chill as you prepare the filling and apples.
  4. Fill a large sauce pan with 1.5 litres of water plus all the poaching ingredients, bar the apples. Half and core the apples preserving as much flesh as you can then slice about 1mm thick into half moons. Add to the poaching liquid and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes until the apples are tender. Lift one out when you think they are ready then allow to cool briefly before trying to roll it up. If it doesn’t, then cook for an extra couple of minutes and check again.
  5. Drain the apples, reserving the poaching liquid and fishing out the vanilla pod – take half of it and return to the saucepan you cooked the apples in. Bring up to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until thick and syrupy and much reduced (to a few tbsps). Reserve until the tarts are cooked.
  6. Preheat oven to 200⁰C with a rack in the centre of the oven.
  7. Beat all the cheesecake filling ingredients together including scraping out the seeds of the vanilla pod. These must be at room temperature or they will be lumpy. Fill the pastry cases half full, no more, with it.
  8. Line up about 12 slices of apple per tart. Do this by placing one down on a chopping board or clean work surface and overlapping another by half it’s length and repeating until you’ve used 12 slices.
  9. When all of them are laid out, confidently roll up one line of apples at a time to form a tight rosette– try to do it in one syncopated manoeuvre and it will be much easier! Transfer immediately to the tarts and ensure they are sitting 1-2mm into the filling. The roses will unfurl as they bake and the cheesecake mix will puff up a little around the leaves.
  10. Bakes for 22-25 minutes until some petals are a little burnished, the cheesecake filling has set and the pastry is crisp and dry to the touch.
  11. Cool on a rack in the tin for 5 minutes then carefully remove the tarts and brush with the reduced apple syrup. Delectable to eat still warm but will keep for 2 days in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving. And left over apple is delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some of the leftover syrup or some caramel sauce mmm!
Recipe Notes

If not using the Nordic Ware Tartlette tin, then use a standard muffin pan but expect to only make 9-10 out of the pastry and filling. The tartlettes are much smaller than a muffin cup but a little larger than a fairy cake/bun tin. They will therefore take a few minutes more to cook through. Do let me know what you used and how you got on.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a little commission if you chose to buy items I’ve advertised, helping me to bring you all these recipes for free!

Like this post? Then why not try these related recipes:




  1. Beverley 30th January 2016 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Jo they look so delicious…I’ve made the apple roses and they were so fiddly but the way you make them by poaching is perfect. Must give them a go soon. Brilliant recipe and such pretty photos xoxo

    • Just Jo 30th January 2016 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Oh thank you Beverlry – that means a lot coming from you, your work is stunning! It’s much easier to poach them first. You could zap them in the microwave with a little water and lemon juice but I like doing it on the stove 🙂

      • Beverley 30th January 2016 at 1:37 pm - Reply

        You are too modest Jo, you are such an accomplished baker and cook! I would prefer the stove top way too. Have a great weekend xoxo

  2. Erin @ Thanks for Cookin'! 30th January 2016 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    These are beautiful! I love the combination of apples and vanilla cheesecake. These would be perfect for Valentine’s Day!

    • Just Jo 30th January 2016 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      They really would be Erin! They’re very romantic and yummy too 😀 Thank you 😀

  3. Brenda 1st February 2016 at 3:40 am - Reply

    I love cooking. You have some wonderful recioes. Thank you for sharing them. I do especially love baking.

    • Just Jo 1st February 2016 at 5:32 am - Reply

      You’re very welcome Brenda 🙂

  4. Sophie (@S_LovesFood) 19th February 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

    So pretty!

  5. Sylvia 5th October 2016 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    “Place all the pastry ingredients in a food processor apart from the part”
    Shouldn’t that read apart from the water?

  6. Felicity Johnson 21st February 2017 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    I really love this recipe and the special spin that you have placed on it.
    Incredibly smart. I’m probably going to be cooking this for my hubby
    in a few days and I’ll let you know on how I get on. Many thanks for
    the great idea!

    • Just Jo 23rd February 2017 at 9:42 am - Reply

      No problem Felicity – I hope you and your hubby enjoy these tartlets x

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.