When the air grows cool and crisp, I start reminiscing about an apple-picking weekend trip we’d taken several years ago to the orchards along the lake shores of southwestern Michigan. Rows upon rows of trees heavy with the most beautiful red, yellow, and green apples, begging to be picked and eaten on the spot. As we walked along from tree to tree, we ate our fill, promising ourselves to pay extra for the apples we’d eaten. When we arrived at the weighing counter, Jason pointed to his belly, and asked the lady to add $20 on top of our order. We had eaten so many apples right there among the trees that we felt like we might burst.
After we packed all 40 pounds of apples in the trunk, we walked over to the cider mill to grab a cup of hot apple cider and try hand-made cinnamon doughnuts while we sat on a haystack watching a man operating a large cider press. After a day of rest and more apple munching we drove back to Chicago with our treasure, which would soon to be turned into delicious autumn desserts. Baked apple pies, fried apple tarts, baked apples with a granola filling of oats, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, and more fresh cider from our juicer. I love this time of year, when the kitchen is filled with the scent of butter, apples and sugar baking in our oven. Is there a better smell in the whole world?
I found a recipe for a free-form, rustic apple galette with pâte brisée dough. What is a Galette? It’s a French puff pastry or a yeast dough, filled with fruit and topped with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar before baking, but it can also be based on a shortbread dough. They can can be savory and filled with ham, cheese, egg, sausage, grilled sardines; or sweet, filled with a fruit or jam filling (*source from Larousse Gastronomique)
The Apple Galette
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
for the dough
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
chilled water, (I used 4 tablespoons)
for the filling
2 medium apples peeled, cored and sliced (I used Braeburn – sweet and tart)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar (depending on which apples you choose you may need more sugar)
sugar for topping (optional)
For the dough, sift flour in a large bow. Mix in sugar and salt. Cut in the butter, blending it quickly to prevent it from melting. Your dough should resemble course cornmeal. Continue until the the big piece of butter are roughly the size of large peas. Add chilled water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together. Wrap the disc-shaped dough in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
When the dough is ready, roll out on a floured surface to a 14″ circle about 1/8″ thick. Transfer to a silcon mat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400°F.
For the filling, place apple slices in a bowl with melted butter and sugar. Toss to coat. Overlap the apples in a circle, 2″ from the edge of the dough. Continue spiraling inward until you’ve reached the center. Fold the edges of the dough, and sprinkle the edges with sugar. Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or a drizzle of caramel sauce.