October 9, 2012

Apple-frangipane galette

It's apple season!  Fall has arrived and that probably means at least one requisite visit (particularly if you have children) to the farm for a hay ride and some apple and pumpkin picking.  If you're lucky, maybe you'll be able to pick some tomatoes on the vine and roast them for dinner too.
Golden delicious apples we picked and used for this galette
I buy apples every week and "enforce" them on my 7-year old son, who unfortunately receives them with predictable dismay 85% of the time.  He'll eat them...eventually.  It "only" takes about an hour for him to finish an average size one I sliced.  So this apple galette wasn't made with him particularly in mind.  But this is for anyone who love apples, almond flavor, and a flaky, buttery, just-sweet-enough crust.
The French term galette basically refers to a casual, rustic kind of free form tart, which appeals to me since it's a whole lot less intimidating than making an apple pie.  This recipe comes from my well-used copy of Ready for Dessert.  It looked and sounded like something I could do and perfect for this current apple season.
You could make peach, pear or some other stone fruit galette but I like the classic apple and I get a chance to use some of the fresh apples we picked.  This apple galette starts with a really easy crust.  Easy as in you can use a food processor, stand mixer, or even just a pastry blender and your hands to make it (although I had a very bad experience attempting to make dough by hand and prefer the food processor).

A layer of frangipane beneath the apples makes this galette just a bit more special.  Frangipane is an almond pastry cream made mainly with almond paste, butter, sugar, and eggs.  I think the idea of trying the frangipane filling appealed to me as much as making this fruit tart as a whole because I adore almond paste and desserts incorporating some kind of almond/nut component.  And the frangipane really adds a great extra layer of flavor and aroma to the overall.  As a bonus, it acts like insulation between the crust and apples so that the bottom of the crust stays crisp and intact!
I think one of the things I like best about this recipe is how simple it turned out to be.  Yes, there are a few steps involved but each one is fairly quick and easy.  You can (and should) make the dough and frangipane a couple of days ahead of time.  So while it does require some advance planning,  it is by no means a burden.  The other great thing is I think this kind of tart lets the fruit shine.  In this case, I used red and yellow golden delicious apples we picked from our seasonal apple picking trip a few days prior.
Now, I have a tip (for what it's worth): when you go apple picking, please look around and see if the farm sells honey and if so, buy a jar.  I've been just a little turned off by honey lately though I use some almost everyday with my bowl of oatmeal.  I think most of those little jars of honey bears just don't have enough, or the right, flavor.  Your local farmer's market is another possible source for good honey but I struck gold on our apple picking trip when I grabbed a jar there.  It is so good, it makes me want to eat it plain.
This made a chilly, wet Fall day a little sweeter...
Drizzle just a little bit of some good honey over a slice of this galette and it's another level bliss.  Take it one step further and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I've gotten a bit into the habit of making my own) and the story is finished.

This is one of those desserts I'm really proud I made because it's so different from what I'd normally bake and eat.  I love making a new discovery, learning new techniques, and tasting new flavors.  Sharing with family and friends makes it all the more rewarding.

Plan ahead.  I think the steps are easy and can (should) be broken up and done in advance to make the final assembly easier.  The frangipane can be kept in the fridge for a week or frozen for up to a month. The galette dough can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month in advance.  


On this baking project, I started with the frangipane a few days before I planned to bake and serve the galette.  I preferred to use the food processor but this process can also be done in the stand mixer. 

Break off 4 ounces of almond paste (I use and love Love 'n Bake brand) into the food processor.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons, each, of sugar and flour, and 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract.  Process until the almond paste is fine.  Then add 6 tablespoons of room temperature butter.
Process until well blended.  Add an egg.  You could add a teaspoon of rum, kirsch, or Calvados if you  want to and have it around; I omitted it.  Pulse until the mixture is very smooth, although any lingering bits will melt during baking. 
Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.  Make sure to bring frangipane to room temperature before using for easier spreading.

Galette dough

David Lebovitz says this dough is very forgiving and almost impossible to mess up and I think he's right.  You could mix this dough together in a bowl using a pastry blender, use the stand mixer, or food processor.  I like using the food processor for dough. 

Place 1 1/2 cups flour, a tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt together in the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Add one stick of cold butter that you've sliced into about 8 cubes and chilled thoroughly (cold is key with tart and pie doughs).  Process until the butter is broken into somewhat large pieces, described as the size of large corn kernels.  These bits of butter make the crust flaky and crisp when baked.
Add 6 tablespoons of ice water (minus the ice) all at once and pulse until the dough comes together.  You should probably stop a little earlier than I did and just use your hands to squeeze the dough together; luckily, the dough is very forgiving.
Seriously, that's it!  Remove the dough and place it on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Form it into a round 5-inch or so disk and place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before use.

Use this galette dough to make a variety of fruit (peaches, pears, plums, apricots) galettes. 

Baking the Apple-Frangipane Galette

Time for assembly on the day you're ready to bake and serve the galette.  Start by setting the frangipane out well in advance to let it comes to room temperature and fully soften for spreading.  The same goes for the dough.  Let it sit at room temperature (won't take as long as the frangipane) to soften just enough for rolling.

1. Prep your apples.  Peel, core, and slice 6 medium apples into 1/2-inch thick pieces.  I used a mix of red and Golden Delicious.  The choice of apples is yours.  I often read that people use a mix of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Cortland, Empire, etc. 

1. Roll out the galette dough.  Here's what I discovered and highly recommend: Take a big sheet of parchment paper, lightly dust it with flour, place your dough on top of it, then cover the dough with a large piece of plastic wrap on top and roll it out that way.  This keeps the process pretty neat and clean and best part, you can just transfer the rolled out tart onto the baking sheet!
Roll the dough out into a rough circle, 14-inch in diameter.  Take a ruler and get to that 14 inches.  It seems like the last two inches never want to materialize but you don't want to skimp.  It can roll out to 14 inches and you want that 2-inch border/overlap in the crust because it is THE BEST PART!  It is flaky and just delicious so don't miss out on that border!
3. Spread the frangipane.  Take the room temperature frangipane filling and spread it around the rolled out dough, leaving a 2-inch border for that foldover later.  Use all the frangipane; it might look like too much but it's not.
4. Add apples.  Arrange apple slices in concentric circles or simply scatter them around on top of the frangipane.  This was the best I could do (sadly, I am no artist nor am I patient) and I think rustic looks great in this kind of simple tart.
Fold the border over the apples.  Then take 2 tablespoons of melted butter and brush it over the border and then over the apples.  Lastly, take about 4 tablespoons (I used a little less but it depends on what you like and how sweet your apples are) of coarse or granulated sugar and sprinkle half over that border and the rest over the apples.  I used turbinado sugar and like how coarse sugar looks on the crust.
5. Bake!  Lift the parchment paper and transfer the galette to a baking sheet.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, til the crust is browned and the apples are tender.  Remove from oven and slide it off the parchment and onto a wire rack (use a large spatula to help you ease the galette off).
There you are: Apple-Frangipane Galette!  Serve it warm or at room temperature.  A light drizzle of good-quality honey is divine (particularly if your galette is not too sweet) as well as vanilla ice cream. 


Apple-Frangipane Galette
From Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz

- Serves approximately 8 -

Galette dough (see recipe below)
Frangipane (see recipe below)
6 medium apples (approximately 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, melted
4 tablespoons (I used a little less) coarse-crystal or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper onto your counter and lightly dust it with flour.  Place dough on top of parchment and spread a large piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough.  Roll dough out between the parchment and plastic wrap into a rough circle, 14 inches in diameter.  Transfer to the baking sheet (you could simply lift up the parchment and place it right on the baking sheet, folding down the excess parchment to make it fit if necessary). 

Spread all the frangipane over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around.  Place apple slices either in concentric circles or simply scattered on top of the frangipane.  Fold the border of the dough over the apples (this is the best part and bakes up so flaky and delicious) and brush half the melted butter over the crust and the rest over the apples.  Sprinkle half the sugar over the crust and the remaining over the apples.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until the crust is brown and apples are tender.  Slide galette off the parchment (using a large spatula to help you) onto a wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  You can top it with a drizzle of good honey and serve a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside as possible accompaniments. 

Galette is best eaten the day it's baked.

Galette Dough
From Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz

- For one 12-inch Galette -

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced into 8 cubes and chilled
6 tablespoons ice water

Place flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Add chilled butter and process until butter is broken into pieces about the size of large corn kernels.  Uneven size pieces of butter is to be expected and larger bits will make for a flaky crust when baked.

Add all the ice water at once and process until the dough begins to hold together.  (Note: this whole process can also be done with a pastry blender or a stand mixer.)

Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap in the plastic wrap and shape dough into a round 5-inch disk.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.  Dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

From Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz

- About 1 cup, or enough for one 12-inch Galette -

4 ounces almond paste, crumbled (I use Love 'n Bake brand)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon rum, kirsch, or Calvados (optional; I omitted)

Process almond paste, sugar, flour, and almond extract in a food processor until almond paste is in fine pieces (you can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).  Add butter and process until completely incorporated, then add egg and rum, kirsch, or Calvados, if using.  Continue mixing until almond paste is as smooth as possible.  If you do see tiny bits of almond paste, they will disappear with baking.

You can store frangipane in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 month.  Bring it back to room temperature before using.

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