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For a pretty — and pretty easy — pastry treat these apple and puff pastry roses are hard to beat.

Apple Rose Puffs

Juice of 1 lemon

2 large red-skinned apples

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ginger or apple pie spice, or to taste

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners or generously grease with cooking spray.

In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, combine the lemon juice and 1 cup of water.

Cut the apples in half from stem to blossom and remove the cores. Using a mandonline or slicer, cut the apples into even, paper-thin slices, placing them in the lemon water as you go.

Microwave on 100% power for 1 to 2 minutes or until the apple slices are pliable. Drain well.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 6 long strips.

Spread each strip of pastry with cream cheese and then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Working with one strip of pastry at a time, arrange a layer of apple slices, overlapping slightly so that the skin side (curved part) overhangs the edge of pastry and the other edge of the pastry is bare. If desired, add a second layer of apple slices, slightly askew from the first. Fold the bare pastry up over the straight side of the apples. The apples will peek out. Roll the pastry into a spiral to create a rose. Place in a muffin cup, with the "petals" up. Repeat with remaining pastry and apples.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden. If you don't use baking liners, remove pastries from pan while still warm — you may need to run the blade of a knife around the edges to release the pastry.

Make 6 pastries.

For more apple recipes and tips, see RECIPES: Apples abound in many tastes and colors for all sorts of dishes

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