02 November 2008

Pommes Galettes

Yet another link that's missing from my sidebar is Smitten Kitchen. I don't always want to run right out and make whatever she's making (really, most of the time I'd rather she just delivered it straight to my belly! ;-) but I am always inspired.

I don't remember reading a recipe for Apple Galettes on her site, but I'm sure there's something just like what I did today, somewhere. Or, perhaps, I just feel like this is something she might do.

According to The Joy of Cooking....

(Were I to have a holy book for the kitchen, Joy would be it. My go-to for any term, fruit, vegetable, technique, or direction for things I am unfamiliar with.)

A galette consists of a flat crust of pastry or bread dough covered with sugar, pastry cream or a thin layer of fruit. Most galettes are simply made (check) and rustic in look. (definite check plus there)

Thanks to the inventive re-engineering of my apple peeler-corer-slicer by someone with a weeee bit more of a clue when it comes to, oh, reassembling stuff than me, I've been anxious to bake either an apple pie, or apple dumplings. I don't bake cherry or peach pies, and I'm not into the extreme fussiness a meringue pie takes, but apple? Sign me up. The problem with dumplings, though, is that I want to eat them. More than one of them, which would constitute the entire sugar intake for a small country for a year. Pies are problematic, too. I want more than a slice. Since it is just DH and me in our house, unless we're having company, no pie. Too much temptation.

Galettes can be as big or as small as you like, so I decided I'd use the peeler-corer-slicer (thanks F!) and make a bunch of individual little pies. One or two for DH and I, and the rest would be taken straight to work, where my co-workers are the lucky recipients of most of what I bake. I like to think of that as a win-win...I get to bake, which I enjoy, and they get to eat it, which they enjoy. The only downside is that they complain about their expanding waistlines. (Hello? Why do you think I take it to work? I don't need that at my house!!!) Truth is that I don't bake, knit, or cook for people I don't like, so draw whatever conclusions you like about that.

Pommes Galettes avec gousse de vanille
Apple galettes with vanilla bean

Oven 350/makes 16

For the filling:
16 apples, any variety that bakes well, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon (more or less to taste, I like A LOT)
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped out
1 stick butter
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon

For the crust (adapted from Joy)
make 2 batches
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup lard, or butter, cold or frozen
1/3 cup ice cold water

Because the dough works better when cold, make the crust first, and stick it in the fridge while making the filling.
I make pie crust in the food processor, because I am lazy and impatient. Sue me.

In the working bowl of the food processor, place flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse for 10 seconds to combine. Add the fat cut into small pieces, and pulse for just seconds at a time, until the dough looks like pea-sized crumbs. Pour water over dough, and pulse briefly again. Do not allow the dough to come together in a big lump in the food processor, it isn't good for the motor.

Dump the contents of the working bowl onto a large piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until needed.

Peel, core, and slice apples. Use the lemon juice to keep them from turning brown, a little sprinkled over the slices as you add them to a big bowl works well. Add zest, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and vanilla seeds, mixing well to combine. Taste a slice....add sugar or seasonings as appropriate if needed.

Separate each disk of dough into 8 equal portions, and roll each out to about an 8 inch diameter. Spoon sliced apples into the middle, and fold corners up to form a little tart. Dot tops of each tart with butter.

I placed them 4 to a cookie sheet, and baked them for about 45 minutes. When the crust browns a little and the apples are tender, they're done.

Maybe the reason I've never written a cookbook is because my directions are too vague...bake until done....that's priceless, Luce.

Remove from cookie sheets as soon as they're out of the oven (carefully!!) and cool on wire racks. The galettes are very fragile, use caution as you transfer them to the racks. They're going to present a challenge to get them to work intact.
Anywho, Joy says galettes are best served on the day they're made, but who in the bloody hell has time to make something like this on a weekday morning to take in to work, where you need to be at your desk before 8? Not me. So I'll have to let you know how they were the second day, because I can tell you that right out of the oven they're A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. And slightly dangerous...the caramelized sugar/butter mixture is a bit like napalm on the tongue.

The vanilla bean is an expensive indulgence, but I liked the note it added to the galettes. It is optional. I would have liked to add chopped pecans to each galette, too, but there are a few people in the office that can't do nuts, so I left 'em out. If I was making these for a dinner party, I'd add about a tablespoon of chopped roasted almonds or pecans to each galette, because I like the crunch, too.

Hmm, maybe the challenge won't be getting them to work intact, maybe it will be getting them to work at all. They're really good. I may have to lock them up or hide them so they don't get eaten before tomorrow morning.

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