apple galette • baking with a close friend

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It’s been a while. The last post of sweet-lab was two weeks ago. I apologize. The delay is unacceptable and there is no excuse for such irresponsible behavior on my part, but can I just say that the reason I haven’t written in a while is not because I’m a slacker, but rather because I have started pastry school. Yep, that’s keeping me busy and content. Please don’t expect me to be full of culinary talent just yet. There is actually a certain degree of pressure that comes from my new title—pastry art student—and the fact that people who know me will elevate their level of expectations of my dessert execution, as they should I guess…Ah the pressure!! But alright, alright. We have agreed to no excuses, but there is just so much to share about this exciting new phase…

But not right now. Right now I want to share a recipe that my friend and I executed together a few days ago. I usually bake by myself. Kitchen time is therapeutic time, or at least that’s what it has been so far, but that might change at pastry school. We’ll see about the amounted stress that I feel when I have to whip up flawless pate choux or pate brisée for a midterm exam. But yes, so far I have always appreciated my alone time in the kitchen while I bake, but when my friend and I were planning to meet at her house during such a gloomy and gray autumn day, I couldn’t think of a more pleasing way than to spend the evening with her. Baking an apple galette was the way to go, I thought. Actually, we could’ve been throwing frisbees at each other for all I care because when Megan and I spend time together, it doesn’t really matter what we do as long as we do it together. The specific activity plays a minor role in our rendez-vous. It gets pushed to the background a bit as the laughter, the endeared and silly topics of conversation, and our reminiscing over past memories play major roles.

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Memories. People say not to live in the past, but she and I like to frequently rethink and revive some of our most cherished memories from our high school and early college years. The good and the not so good. And that’s right about when she took out the pictures…

Note: A galette is a free-form pie. For this recipe I made the classic dough that is used for pies: pate brisée. To make the dough, we will follow one of the simplest ratios that exists.  3 (flour) :2 (fat):1 (water). This ratio is commonly known as the pie dough ratio.

Research Question: Will this apple galette add a nice touch to this lovely and cozy fall day spent with a close friend?

Hypothesis: This apple galette will fit right in and harmonize our reunion. Applying good care to the dough by not overworking it, adding a small amount of chilled water to it, and allowing it to chill and rest in the fridge will create a very tender and flaky dough. Adding those spices to the apples, will make the fruit taste just like fall!

Materials/Ingredients:

scale

12 ounces flour

8 ounces butter, cold and cut into small and equal pieces & 2 tablespoons butter seperate

2 to 4 ounces ice water

about 1/2 teaspoon of salt

4-5 five apples, such as Pink Lady or Granny Smith

2 tablespoons brown sugar (increase to 1/4 C sugar if you like more sweetness)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large egg, beaten

(vanilla ice-cream to serve)

**Yield: 2 medium-sized galettes**

Procedure/Recipe for dough (brisée): 

– Put flour on the surface of a clean table or cutting board. Add salt and mix.

-Add butter to flour and cut butter into flour with a a dough scraper until butter cubes becomes pea-sizes or smaller. The dough should resemble really coarse meal.

-Start incorporating water by adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Blend water well into the flour by folding everything together with dough scraper. Stop adding water once the dough holds together. (This step can be done in a mixer as well).

-Cut dough into halves. Flatten each piece of dough just enough to form discs. Wrap each disc in plastic. Allow it to rest in refrigerator for at least one hour and up to 2 days.

Procedure/Recipe for apple filling: 

– Spread walnuts in a baking pan and bake in a 375 F oven until barely golden underskins, about 6 minutes. Coarsely chop nuts.

– Peel and core apples cut each piece into 8 wedges.

– Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick pan. When butter has melted and it’s foamy, add apples an stir often until slightly softened and brown at edges, approximately 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinammon, over apples and stir well to combine and until liquid is syrupy and bubbling, about 5 minutes.

Stir in walnuts and remove pan from heat.

– Unwrap dough. On a lightly floured surface and with a lightly floured rolling pin, begin rolling dough. First push rolling pin down on dough to flatten it out a bit. Begin rolling dough away from you with a rolling pin. Rotate dough 180 degrees and continue to roll away from you again. Dough should be rolled only once before turning. Continue to do this process until dough resembles the shape of a square/rectangle. Once the dough gets close to that shape in appearance, continue to roll and now dough can be turned 90 degrees after rolling. Roll once away from you and turn 90 degrees. Continue to do this until the thickness of the dough is close to 1-8″-1/16”.

– Line a 12-by 15-inch baking sheet with cooking parchment and carefully transfer dough round to meet sheet.

– Pour apple mixture onto center of pastry, mounding wedges in a circle about 8 inches wide and 2 inches high. Gently fold edges of dough over apples, pleating as you go, leaving an opening about 4 inches wide in the center.

-Brush dough with beaten egg. Apply a second coating of egg wash to add more color and browning when it bakes.

– Bake galette at 375 F for approximately 35-40 minutes, until pastry is golden and apples are tender when pierced.

– Transfer galette (with parchment paper, if using) to a wire rack to cool. Transfer galette to a large serving plate. Remove parchment paper by gently pulling from under it.

– For serving, cut a slice of galette and scoop vanilla ice-cream on top if desired. When you cut yourself a slice, use a knife…that spoon is there..But I’m not sure why. I don’t think it should be there.

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 Results/Conclusion:

The dough was flakly and tender. This can be attributed to two essential steps that were performed during the recipe: 1) only a small amount lot of water was added to the dough. In fact, only enough chilled water was added to make the dough hold together. 2) dough was chilled.  Cold water helps minimize gluten development. Increased gluten development makes the dough tough and hard to work with. The less water you add to the dough, the less gluten will be activated and developed. Therefore, the dough will be less tough if less water is used, but the dough should not be too dry either. They say that good pate brisée should look ugly and have shaggy edges. In addition, resting and chilling the dough relaxes the gluten that has been worked and makes the dough more pliable.  As I have previously mentioned, the dough was flaky and tender also because it rested in the refrigerator. This allowed the water and butter to become chilled. The cold butter and water steamed and created flakiness when baked.

– The apple filling was not as sweet as I would’ve liked it to be. This is personal taste as my friend and her mom preferred it just the way it was and wouldn’t have opted to add more sugar. My tasted buds would’ve liked to taste a bit more of sweetness in the filling, especially because we didn’t serve it with vanilla ice-cream. Therefore, I would’ve increased the amount of brown sugar to 1/4 C and added about 3 tablespoons of apple sauce (the “no sugar added” kind) during the last few minutes of cooking the apples. I think that adding that amount of apple sauce to the filling would’ve increased the sweetness level for those people who prefer more sweetness and it would’ve also added more moisture to the filling.

– Next time I try making this recipe I won’t bake the walnuts before adding them to the apple filling. Some walnuts dried out a little too much on their second time in the oven and others even got a little bit burnt. I think they had too much baking time and sticking them in the oven once would have been enough to bring out their natural oils that make them taste extra nice.

Overall, this apple galette added sweetness and warmth to our day. I think it really has the potential to do that many more times to come. We truly enjoyed it as we hope you do as well.

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