Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the tart crust. Mix well. Pour melted butter into mix, and using a wooden spoon or your hands, combine until coarsely mixed together. Transfer the mixture to a 9.5 tart pan, forming a 1/4 inch thick crust.
Once the crust has been formed, place the tart shell into the oven in the middle rack for about 10-15 mins. You may place the tart shell onto a baking or cookie sheet to help with the transfer to and from the oven. Place thinly sliced apples, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl, and toss gently. Set aside.
While the shell is baking, start on the filling. In a medium to large saucepan, place the apples, vanilla seeds and extract, sugar, salt, cinnamon stick , cardamon pods, nutmeg, and combine well. On a medium low heat, let the combination simmer for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until tender. You may test this using a fork. If the fork slices through the apples, they are ready. Remove the saucepan from stove, and take out the spice bundle (if using). Otherwise, as the mixture cools, you may search for the needle in the haystack.
Once all the whole spices have been removed, use a potato masher, or the back side of the wooden spoon to roughly mash the apples. Do not make into a “sauce consistency”. Just break down the pieces, so it is a blend between part apple sauce and part whole apple pieces. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. By now, the tart shell should have been removed from the oven, and cooled down to room temperature.
Using the wooden spoon or a spatula, transfer the apple filling to the tart shell one spoon at a time, and with each addition, smooth out the filling.
In order to make the apple roses, it is best to keep in mind that the more translucent the apple slice, the more butter it has absorbed. This also makes the apples slices flexible. Start off with a small slice, bend into a small “o”. Place this in the center of the tart. Now, using a slight larger apple slice, curve it around the “o”, like a letter “c”. Continue to form the shape of the petals with more “c” shaped apple slices.
After the decorating is done, place the tart back onto the baking sheet and place in the top rack of the oven for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven, and serve at room temperature.