american as apple galette

the masterpiece.

Most of the time, I hate getting advice. Maybe I’m a know-it-all, but I like to think I can at the very least figure things out myself. Generally that means I make a lot of very avoidable mistakes (ice-related car crash over the Santiam Pass ten minutes after Mom tells you to drive SLOW and avoid sharp turns = embarrassing), but I guess that’s life.

Anyway, even though I’m not into taking suggestions, allow me to impart on you all a little wisdom I learned the hard way: don’t, as in DO NOT, try to make a pie crust with all the blinds up in the middle of siesta time in southern Spain. I know it’s hard to take, but trust me, it will save you a lot of heartache. Why shouldn’t I? you may ask. To which I answer, just trust me. But just to hammer the lesson home, here are a few reasons.

1. Your host family will think you are crazy for bumbling around in the kitchen right after lunch.
2. You will absolutely miss your nap and then you will be cranky.
3. All the butter in your dough will melt in .25 seconds and you will have to constantly throw everything in the freezer to keep your crust from being ruined.

i always write out the recipe i'm using by hand so i don't have to keep checking back with the computer, book, magazine, etc.

For those of you with no pastry experience, that last reason might be a little weird. After all, you might say, doesn’t it all go in the oven anyway? And isn’t butter supposed to melt during baking?

Well, yes. But the key phrase there is during baking. Allow me to go all Bakewise on you for a second: the most important part of making awesome pastry is keeping the fat COLD and therefore separate from the dry ingredients. What makes a crust flaky is the pockets of butter that melt in the oven, leaving little holes all over the pastry. When I first started making pies, I had no idea how important this was, so I was always disappointed in the slightly soggy crusts I ended up with. But once you get the technique of “cutting in” the fat (butter, shortening, or lard) while it’s still cold, you’re almost guaranteed a successful pie crust.

Hence, the issue of the burning hot Spanish sun.

cold butter, ready for cutting.

Fortunately, at the end of the day I managed to get away with it. My crust wasn’t perfect, but my audience (Hi Asa! Hi Elisabeth!) was appreciative and kind. I’m just glad Chuqui, chef extraordinaire, wasn’t around to give it a try – experts are a little harder to impress!

lovely granny smiths getting naked for the galette!

Despite its shortcomings, the galette was a great bookend to my nouveau-American dinner. Since it was the first time I’ve cooked for Asa, I wanted a menu that was representative of the kind of food most Americans grew up eating, but dressed up a little. I made an ok version of this smoked gouda mac and cheese (through no fault of the recipe – trust, it’s a great one. Mine just turned out a little bland thanks to the lack of cheese options available at the supermarket here) along with some fabulous asparagus. I based my dish off of a Bon Appetit recipe for green beans, leaving out the parsley and adding lemon juice along with the zest.

the joke of a grater i used to push though 16 ounces of cheese...apparently there's a bigger one somewhere, but i didn't think to ask.

But as good as the regular meal was, the galette truly was the star. Asa had some Swedish vanilla sauce that is traditionally paired with apple and pear pastries, so we drizzled some of that on top. The sweet sauce was a great complement to the extra-tart apples – next time I’ll have to make my own!

the finished galette, all ready for the oven.

Rustic Apple Galette
Recipe adapted from Lemon Chocolate Salt
Makes 4-5 servings


Smitten Kitchen‘s All-Butter Crust, halved

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 ounces (1 stick/half cup/115 grams) unsalted butter, COLD, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 4 medium size Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in medium-to-large bowl. Cut in butter using two forks, fingers (carefully), or a pastry blender (recommended) until butter chunks are pea-sized and integrated into the flour. Be careful not to overmix – really.

how the mixture should look when the butter is cut in. this might even be a little overmixed.

Dribble 1/2 cup of cold water (sans remaining ice cubes) slowly over the top of the mixture, folding the dry ingredients over the water as you go. Mixture should almost, but not quite, hold together – slowly add more water (but probably not all of it), one tablespoon at a time, until dough begins to clump.

clumped dough.

Gather the dough together with your hands into one ball, but be careful not to play with it too much to avoid melting the butter chunks. Finally, wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and flatten into a thick disk, then place in refrigerator for at least one hour. Dough can be saved for a few days in the fridge at this point, and much longer in the freezer if necessary.

lightly floured surface.

Preheat oven to 400F (204C). Sprinkle flour on a flat surface, as well as on your rolling pin. Remove dough from refrigerator, allowing it to soften a little if it’s too hard to roll. Roll dough out to a 10-inch circle – don’t worry if it’s not perfect – and place on a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper.

the dough, all rolled out.

Leaving a ring of dough two inches or so wide, place apple slices in a spiral, overlapping as you go. You can make this as pretty or as messy as you want – I like when it looks like a big flower, but that’s just me. When you reach the center, fold the outer edges of the dough inward to cover the first few rings of apples. Brush melted butter over dough and dribble on apples, then sprinkle sugar all over.

all folded up!

Bake for 45 minutes, until crust is toasty brown and apples soften. If the crust looks brown enough before the time is up, cover with foil and continue baking. When done, allow galette to cool for at least twenty minutes. Enjoy!

cinnamon-sugar pie crust cookies made with extra dough!

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2 thoughts on “american as apple galette

  1. movita says:

    This looks awfully tasty – a perfect fall treat…

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