Thursday, January 13, 2011

Apple Galette

Christmas is a season of joy, mirth, and giving. Furthermore, it is apparently a season of potlucks. I love the idea of a potluck. Especially in the case of a really gracious hostess(es) who can devote their attention to entertaining rather than worrying about the food. Potlucks also give me a new crowd of tasters to see if the things that I whip up in the kitchen are actually good enough to share with a wider audience, or in this case palete.

So this year I chose one dessert item and I vowed that I would make it over and over until the ration of flaky crust to moist apple topping was as close to perfection as I was going to get. This thing was Apple Galette. One of those random things that you watch someone make on television, at an ungodly hour, because so-help-you-god you can't make yourself watch another hour of news and you think to highly of brain cells to resort to daytime television.

I happened to watch this on a program called Test Kitchen. This show has it's perks since it explains what is happening to the food as a result of what you are doing to it. It actually made me want to go and find out the difference between the amount of protein in different flours and how it affects bread. As someone who might convert to bread-ism, as a religion, if such a thing does not already exist (I take my bread seriously) a short tutorial is vastly enlightenling.

Anyway back to Galette. I never imagined I would make this as I watched the show because:
A) I didn't know, or ever recalled seeing, something called instant flour.
B) I don't (and this is a sore point) have a food processor.
C) It involved something called frisage, which was referred to as a french pastry technique and I immediately imagined having to attend classes at the Cordon Bleu Institute.

Nevertheless, Thanksgiving rolled by and a request for Apple pie was made. I have nothing against apple pie, mind you, just I don't think I have ever tasted one which blew my mind. I love apples and I like pie, but together they seem to form a gooey (at times) over sweet mass with an occasionally passable crust. So I remembered this Apple Galette and how crisp and non-gooey it looked. Thinking "If it turns out bad, no one need know about it, and the racoons in my neighborhood can share the bounty of the holiday season."

Warning/Note/Enticement **This recipe calls for a lot of butter...a lot of butter. It is deceptively light flaky and crusty but probably carries the equivalent calories of its cousin....the apple pie. On the bright side, it is less sweet than most apple pies I have partaken of. On that note, I would like to try this recipe one day with Irish Butter...hehehe. Suddenly the line from Milton's Paradise Lost comes to mind, Satan says "Better to rule in hell, that serve in heaven." ^^

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C Wondra flour (Pillsbury Instant Flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter , cut into 5/8-inch cubes (1 1/2 sticks)
7-9 tablespoons ice water

Apple Filling
1 1/2 lbs apples (3-4 medium or 4-5 small) Golden Delicious is my choice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 C Sugar
2 Tbsp apricot preserves
1 Tbsp water

**The butter and water should be put in the freezer before you start.

1. Combine all dry ingredients for crust and sift together then scatter butter pieces over flour and cutuntil butter pieces are size of large pebbles. I did this manually. Hooray to the power of determination...omg I need to get a food processor. I tried it other ways but using a handheld cutter actually does help me determine how well the mixture has come together. Butter should be pebbled sized and the mixture crumbly.

2. Sprinkle  water over mixture 1 tablespoon at a time until dough begins to hold together when pinched. The amount of water is not always going to be exact I have used as little as 5 Tbsp and as much as 9 depending on the flour and even the weather. (the 5 Tbsp happened when it was rainy outside).

3. On a work surface and gather the crumbly dough into a line (I just shifted it onto some parchment paper) and apply this method called Fraisage. Basically, you run the heel of your palm down on the mound and moving it into another mound. If I remember correctly it is to flatten out the butter and make the layers more flaky. There should be some videos on you-tube.  ^^
Work all the dough and form into a square and wrap in cling wrap, refridgerate 30 min to 1 hour until firm.  (yes chunks of butter should still be visible)

4. Preheat over to 400 F.

5. Cut apples lengthwise into quarters and then into into 1/8in thick slices.

6. Place the chilled dough on a 16 x12-inch piece of parchment paper and dust with flour. Roll the dough out until it is about 1/8 inch thick and fits the paper, dusting top and bottom of dough and rolling pin with flour. Trim the edges to fit, and roll up and inch of each edge and pinch to create a 1/2 in thick border

8. Start in a corner or start in rows and layer sliced apples to form even row across bottom of dough, overlapping each slice by about one-half. Keep in mind that the way you place them is decorative so layer them quickly but carefully. Overlap each row by half. Sprinkle top with small cubes of butter (See pic above...I know ^^) and sprinkle with sugar. Place on cookie sheet and bake until crust is golden brown 45 to 60 minutes.

9. To get the nice glaze in the pic combine the apricot preserves and water in medium microwave-safe bowl.  and zap for about 1 minute. Brush the apple portion with glaze an let cool for awhile.

I like mine just as it is but some ppl seem to like vanilla ice-cream on top ^^.

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