As part of my recovery from my addiction to perfectionism (which leads to mental paralysis in all things) I am making my mistakes public. Rather then wait for the perfect recipe, the perfect shot, light, or catchy phrase, instead of trying to “sell it,” I’m going to own it.
I have fibromyalgia and yesterday was not a good day; I was tired and miserable, but I wanted to bake, thinking that doing something besides whining would make me feel better. Looking into my fridge and finding three, almost empty bags of apples, I decided to combine the few apples that I had and make a galette which is a free form open faced pie, rustic and beautiful. I make them often, as they’re easy, fast, and I’m lazy. However, I always use a pie tin as they are easier to move around and just in case it breaks open while baking, the pie’s juices (flavour) won’t flow all over the oven. For some reason, instead of listening to my better baking judgement self, I though I’d use a parchment lined baking sheet instead.
After 15 minutes at 400, my kitchen smelled wonderful; buttery and vanilla like with a hint of Calvados, the timer went off and instead of reducing the temperature and walking away for another 45 min, I checked the galette. It had blown apartand now resembled an apple pancake. The baking sheet was covered with apples, crust and vanilla scented apple juice. Dam!!!
Using two wide spatulas I tried to slice the galette into a pie tin, but because it was so juicy and the parchment had soaked thru. The tart instead of gently sliding, did a rough back flip. I scooped up the bits that landed on the counter, piled it all up to make it look like a Cubist sculpture, put it back in the oven for 45 minutes at 350, and voila. It’s ugly but so delicious; tart apples, caramel, vanilla, and butter, and I’m unapologetic when I say, “lots of butter.” It’s January and it’s ok.
The crust recipe is one that use often, it’s not mine, but I cannot remember the source. So if it’s yours, I’m sorry, but thank you, it’s delicious.
Galette dough (make this dough a habit, use it for other fruit too)
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (this adds a nutty flavour)
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (6oz) chilled salted butter
1 lg. egg
1 tbsp. milk (not skim)
In a large bowl, combine both flours, cinnamon, salt and sugar. Mix with a fork. Cut cold butter into small pieces, add to flour, and with your finger tips, or a pastry blender, cut the butter in until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.
In a measuring cup mix the egg with the milk, make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the wet. Using your hands, work the mixture until it forms a ball, this takes no more then 2 or 3 minutes. Flatten into a disc, wrap and chill for 30 minutes while you get the filling ready.
Apple Filling (this is my recipe, it’s flexible)
5 to 6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin (I generally use a mixture of whatever is in the fridge that needs to be used, Granny Smith, Cortlands, Golden delicious)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (it’s what I use but if you have golden, that’s ok)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. flour
1 vanilla bean scraped, (the seeds go in the bowl with the apples, the pods go in your sugar container)
1 tbsp. Calvados
1/2 tsp. salt
! tbsp. butter to dot on the filling
Milk for brushing on the crust
In the same bowl that you made the pastry, combine all of the filling ingredients, mix well and set aside.
Now roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll into a rough circle, transfer it to a pie plate, pile high with the filling, dot with a generous tablespoon of butter and fold the edges of the dough over the filling. Don’t cover the apples, and this is supposed to be rustic, it never looks the same way twice. Brush the pastry with milk and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, CHECK IT, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and the juice is thick.
Serves 6 to 8, it’s delicious warm or at room temperature