I gave you just the teaser in the last post, but here's the whole story of this galette, or rustic tart. And I must say, while a large wedge of two-crust apple pie probably reigns supreme in G's heart, I like this a lot. And yeah, so does he, judging from the second not-so-dainty slice which he cut for himself.
Pi day stole upon me, and I knew I didn't have time to think of, plan for, shop for, and bake a full-scale pie. But I had apples in the fridge. I just needed to create something a bit different from our favorite, already-blogged apple pie.
Galette, I thought, rustic tart. I could whip that up pretty fast. After a quick perusal of that favorite cookbook known as the internets, I took a bit from here and a bit from there, and came up with a few secret weapons to set this galette apart. The first was apricot jam, but not just any old apricot jam. This was a jar of preserves bestowed upon me as a set of three (also including raspberry and blueberry-lime, both of which I have been seen eating straight from the jar with a spoon -- and I don't even like jam all that much, except for this jam and June Taylor's jam). They were serendipitous birthday gifts from a cousin lucky enough to live in Cambridge, where she has breakfast at the Hi-Rise Bread Company every day. These preserves are so good that either Hi-Rise is going to have to start selling them online, or I might have to move to Cambridge. I was saving the apricot, doing my delayed gratification routine, since apricot is one of my preferred flavors of anything. But what better sacrifice than to use a few tablespoons to waterproof a crust and flavor a filling in honor of pi day?
Secret weapon number two is an old baker's trick -- using crumbled amaretti cookies to soak up fruit juices between the crust and the fruit. Fortunately I had some of my favorite pretty amaretti to crush into rubble and sprinkle atop the jam, under the apples. And their toasted almond flavor would be perfect with the apples and the apricot.
My favorite pie crust recipe, a bunch of apples, a shot of Calvados, and we were in business. The lovely thing about a galette is that it's actually about half as much work as a pie -- only one crust to roll, less filling to peel and core and cut and season, and a rough, devil-may-care shaping. None of your (or Martha's) cut-out leaves and hearts here.
The proof, however, as they say, is in the tasting.
"This might be the best crust yet," I said.
"Mmmmff, I mfdunnommffff," said G, from around another large mouthful of galette. He swallowed, and continued. "The crust on the one you made at Thanksgiving was pretty great."
"Well, that was a pie, and this is a galette or rustic tart."
"Yeah, well, maybe it's that the two-crust pie has more crust."
"And it has more apples, too. I use twice as many apples for the pie, and twice as much crust."
G seemed to experience a sudden "aha!" moment through his next mouthful. "Now it all makes sense," he said. "This is diet pie. It only has half as much of everything." Clearly this was ample justification for the second slice, as he got up and ambled toward the kitchen.
Pi Day Apple Galette
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. Spectrum shortening (w/o trans-fats)
2 Tbsp. vodka with 1 Tbsp. water and 3 ice cubes
Process flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until cornmealy, and there are still some small, pea-sized pieces of butter and shortening. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula or your hand, use folding motion to mix, pressing dough until it just clumps together. Flatten dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced into 1/8 inch pieces
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Calvados
1 tsp. cornstarch
4 Tbsp. apricot jam/preserves
3 pairs of hard amaretti cookies, crushed into rubble
2 Tbsp. butter
Cream and crystal sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss apples with zest, sugar and Calvados. Roll out pie crust into a 15 or 16" circle on a piece of parchment. Slide the parchment with the rolled-out crust onto a rimless baking sheet. Spread apricot jam in a circle in the center, leaving a one and a half to two-inch border for folding up over the apples. Sprinkle with crushed amaretti, making a nice thick bed over the jam. Arrange the apples over this in concentric circles. Add the cornstarch to the liquid left in the apple bowl, and stir until dissolved. Drizzle this over the apples until it disappears. Dot the apples with bits of butter. Then fold and pleat the crust up to make a nice rim around the apples. Brush the crust with cream, and sprinkle the whole with crystal sugar.
Bake the tart for 30 minutes in the bottom third of the oven. Rotate the tart, and bake for another 30 minutes in the top third of the oven, until the pastry is golden brown, the apple juices are bubbling nicely, and the apples yield tenderly to a knife point. Cool for a little while at least -- but eat while still warm.