Saturday, December 6, 2008

Feeling rustic.

Think of all the wonderful fall fruits, and the apple comes to mind. Apples are a staple in my diet, and fortunately, though their season is in autumn, they're available year round. I love their crunchiness and their often striking shades of green and red. I also like that apples are full of anti-oxidants and vitamins. I couldn't tell you exactly what anti-oxidants do (something about free radicals), but I know they're really good for you and that's good enough for me. The ironic thing, though, is that I rarely make desserts with apples. Holding a peeler or a paring knife with an apple feels clumsy in my hands, and I can sit for an hour and have peeled maybe five apples at the most. I am a painfully slow peeler.

My friend (the same one who gave me the cupcake cookbook and the ride to the airport--she does seem to come up a bit in my posts) had extra granny smith apples, and asked if I'd like to try making something with them. Since she would be able to help with peeling the apples, we decided to try making apple galettes. Fortunately, we were able to use an old-fashioned apple peeler, which made peeling and slicing very easy. After assembling the galettes and taking them out of the oven, they looked so rustic, so charming. I felt, quite truly, provincial.

I found the original recipe from, but I added almond meal to the pate brisee
(this is the pastry crust) to add a nutty flavor. I did make some errors which I would correct the next time. I added a little too much water and didn't chill the dough before rolling it out, so it was too sticky. Because we were trying to use up the apples, the galettes were over-flowing, and the apple slices either dried up or didn't bake completely. Also, because we had so many apple slices, I was only able to leave very little room along the edges to fold over, which made the galette too delicate to handle. Nonetheless, even with my mistakes, the apple galettes turned out delightful.

Apple Galettes
(adapted from the recipe by Christopher Hill)
Serves about 10

Ingredients for the pate brisee:
1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup almond flour
couple of dashes of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
12 T. unsalted butter, chilled, and but into cubes (about 2 T. of butter for each cube)
2 T. of cold water (or more, as needed)

Ingredients for filling:
5 medium sized apples (granny smith, fuji, or other apples appropriate for baking); peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar (less if using apples that are naturally sweet, such as fuji apples)
1 t. cinammon
1 t. lemon juice (optional; can omit if using granny smith apples)
1/2 cup apricot preserves
whole milk
granulated sugar to sprinkle on crust

For the patee brisee:
- Combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and salt in a bowl with a wire whisk.
- Using a hand pastry, coarsely blend the flour mix with the butter. The butter should not be completely blended with the flour.
- Add the ice water, and gently combine by hand until the flour clumps together. If it is too dry, add very little ice water at a time.
- Create two round balls of dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Roll out each ball of dough between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper to a flat disk, about 1/6th of an inch thick. Each disk should be about 11 inches in diameter (though the size may vary).
- Transfer the disks to a baking sheet by loosely rolling each disk over the rolling pin and then unrolling it onto the baking sheet. If using parchment paper, you can also keep the disks on the paper and transfer them directly to the baking sheet.

- Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
- Combine the apple slices, brown sugar, and cinammon in a bowl. This can be done while the dough is in the refrigerator.
- Spread the apricot preserves over the surface of the disks of pastry dough.
- Assemble the apple slices over the apricot preserves, leaving a 1 inch border (this is better done in a single layer, with each slice facing the same way, in concentric circles; and NOT as I have it in my pictures).
- Fold the crust border over, and brush the crust edges with milk. Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the crust edges.
- Bake for about 50 minutes or until crust turns golden brown.
- After removing the galettes from the oven, you can use a large spatula to loosen the galette from the baking surface. After about 5 minutes, transfer the galettes to serving platters to serve warm or to a wire rack to cool completely.

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