Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I'd originally planned to make a recipe for a brown butter apple tart from Bon Appetit for Thanksgiving, but my lack of a tart pan foiled my plot. Instead, I wheeled out an old favorite, a Galette de Pommes au Calvados from Gourmet magazine. I made this recipe to the letter when it was published in 2003, and it knocked the socks of any ordinary apple pie. While the recipe as it is written is heavenly, I've been making cheater's versions of it ever since.
What makes my tarts "cheater's versions?" Well, for one, I almost always swap store-bought applesauce for the homemade variety in the original recipe. And if I am super-lazy, I just use a frozen puffed pastry in lieu of the made-from-scratch all-butter pastry dough. Plus, I never have Calvados on hand (who does?), so I use good old American bourbon in the applesauce. Even with my shortcuts the tart's still delightfully delicious. This dessert isn't super-sweet, so the leftovers (if there are any) are great for a (semi) decadent breakfast.
Here's how I made my simplified tart this year:
Adapted from Gourmet
All-butter pastry dough
1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon
1 3/4 lb Gala apples
1/3 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons apple jelly
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Calvados
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: parchment paper; a large baking sheet (at least 14 inches wide)
1. Heat the applesauce, zest and cinnamon in a small sauce pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool.
2. Roll out all-butter pastry dough (or frozen pastry dough) on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a rough 16-inch round (1/8 inch thick), then transfer carefully to parchment-lined large baking sheet. Loosely fold in edge of pastry where necessary to fit on baking sheet, then chill, covered loosely with plastic wrap, 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 425°F.
4. While pastry is chilling, peel and core apples, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Toss slices with lemon juice and 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
5. Put baking sheet with pastry on a work surface and unfold any edges so pastry is flat. Spread applesauce over pastry, leaving a 2-inch border, and top sauce with sliced apples, mounding slightly. Fold edges of dough over filling, partially covering apples (center will not be covered) and pleating dough as necessary. Dot apples with butter, then brush pastry edge lightly with water and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake galette in middle of oven until pastry is golden and apples are tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
6. While galette is baking, melt apple jelly (apricot will do in a pinch!) in a very small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring.
7. Slide baked galette on parchment onto a rack, then brush with melted jelly and cool.
Serve galette until warm or room temperature with freshly whipped cream.