Monday, December 3, 2012

Adventures with Galette

Growing up, my mom would always make us completely clean the kitchen before we started cooking. It annoyed the crap out of me, but rests on the sound principle that you want to have a clean and cleared space to cook.  Fast forward to now, and every time my kitchen is completely clean, I get this irresistible urge to cook or bake.  When I'm done with those projects, any desire to clean my kitchen has worn off though...leading to my only have a completely cleaned kitchen for short periods of time between my cooking adventures.

Yesterday, my adventures lead me to peruse my much loved Joy of Cooking book looking for something tasty but not difficult to make, and I came across a recipe for apple galette. It was perfect! I was staring at 12 granny smith apples that I'd purchased from Costco in retribution for the apples I bought to make pies that were too soft (all purpose my ass) but now I had no pies to make...or did I?

A galette can be many things, and stuffed full of whatever you want.  An idea of making or having one was planting in my head after seeing these amazing "pies" in Oregon with my mother in law. They had a weird name I couldn't pronounce, and thick yummy crusts that were folded over the fruits in the middle, and were created free form, without a pie pan.  They didn't have a top crust either and they look...amazing.  I'd seen galette's before, but it didn't occur to me until I was standing in my kitchen with leftover pie crust, an over abundance of apples and a cookbook to try to make it.  This one...was easier than pie (haha was easier than making pie!).  If you look up pictures of them, you can see a million different designs and beautiful ways that people organize the fruits.  I tried, but until I can cut things in a more uniform wasn't happening.

I'm going to post the recipe from the Joy of Cooking, and then talk about the changes that I made (good and bad!)

1/2 recipe Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough (basically one 10'' pie crust and I totally cheated and used a leftover one from Thanksgiving)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large firm apples, such as Golden Delicious (I used Granny Smith and they were perfect!)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (my book said 1/4, and I loooove cinnamon so I probably used almost twice that.)
This is a bit like pizza, with thinly sliced apples on a buttery crust.
Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough (or pull out your trusty Pillsbury and roll it according to directions)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
On a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil (I used a silcone baking mat that nothing will stick to, mostly so I didn't drop the galette) , roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch round. Pick up the edges of the paper and transfer with the dough to a baking sheet. Melt and cool to lukewarm:
   unsalted butter
   Brush a thin coat of butter over the pastry, reserving the rest. Sprinkle the pastry with:
   Peel, core, and slice 1/8-inch thick firm apples, such as Golden Delicious

Leaving bare a 1-inch border at the edge, arrange the apple slices in slightly overlapping concentric rings on the pastry. Fold the border of the dough over the edge of the apples. Brush or drizzle all but about 2 teaspoons of the remaining melted butter over the apples. Combine, then sprinkle over the apples:
sugar, ground cinnamon

Bake until the pastry begins to color, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake until the pastry is golden brown and sounds crisp when poked with a skewer, 20 to 30 minutes more. Set the pan on a rack, brush the apples with the remaining butter, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. The galette is best served the day it is made.  

1. So...I have no idea how thick 1/8'' in, so I went as thin as I could cut...and did NOT know how many slices that I would end up with. Next time, I'm checking out a ruler first.
2. You brush the entire pastry with butter basically 3 times. This pastry is already pretty much nothing but a fat, flour and water so adding MORE butter to it is a bit excessive, and frankly unnecessary. You CAN taste that last brushing as you bite into it, but I hate that greasy feeling that many pastries have from excessive amounts of fats.
3. This recipe only uses 2 apples (I saw another calling for 2 POUNDS of apples), so you aren't going to get that heaping galette you've seen in magazines.
4. You could probably reduce the sugar by half and see no change at all, or add some nutmeg or all spice. I really liked the simple flavors though.
5. When this is cooking watch it! Mine did not take as long as they said it would.
6. I wouldn't use tin foil or parchment paper. I would destroy this thing if I did. I have awesome silicone mats courtesy of my mother in law, and I slid it on and off a cooking sheet to put it in and out of the oven. After I took it off, I slid it onto a cooking rack.

My husband came wondering in after I pulled it out of the oven. I think he has this sense for when yummy food is going to be available for him to consume and he just 'magically' appears.  I mentioned to him that we probably needed to eat the entire thing today, and he drooled happily.  I wasn't sure I would like the apples cooked and exposed to the air, that they might be dry, but I was so so wrong. I took a bite, and was transferred to a land of sweet cooked apples baked in cinnamon and sugar and a crisp crust melting in my mouth. I need to mention that I love apples in a dessert.  Take me anywhere and I will order the apple dessert if given a chance. This thing....was probably better than my pie.  Maybe it's that there is less crust to contend with, or perhaps it is because the flavors, with only butter, apple, sugar and cinnamon are more simple and easy to deal with than adding in nutmeg and cloves and all spice.  Either way, it's pretty out of this world and we both agreed that we actually like it more than pie.

What cooking adventures have you been up to? I really need to make some smoothies and use a butternut squash that is sitting on the top of my fridge, taunting me.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I decided to host Christmas brunch at our house this year. I get so sick of having Christmas morning at home, and then rushing to get everyone dressed and piled in the car so we can make the rounds to parent's/grandparent's houses. One year the husband and pneumonia and we stayed home and I LOVED it. But of course I still want to see family so I invited myself over to my mom's for Christmas Eve, and then my dad, uncle, and in-laws will be coming over Christmas morning.

    We aren't an overly-sophisticated bunch, but I thought it would be nice to do a traditional holiday brunch.....complete with mimosas (virgin and erm....not virgin?) for everyone.

    A fruit tray is first on my list....of course making it myself because it is cheaper, and long do those take to throw together? No time at all. I think I will get some of those big aluminum baking dishes and make a french toast casserole (a Paula Deen recipe), and either a few quiches or an egg casserole type thing. Both are the "make the night before" types of dishes, so the morning won't be too hectic.


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