Sunday, October 16, 2011

chai-spiced apple galette

This weekend we went on a spontaneous apple picking excursion. I've never been apple picking before - it was so much fun! I ate so many apples off the trees I almost made myself sick. These apples were the best apples I've ever tasted in my life. Completely different from what you get at the grocery store. Sweet, tart and not a hint of mealiness.

And I came home with a 20 lb bag of them.

Needless to say, there will be a burst of apple treats on this blog in the coming days. I knew that I was going to make some kind of apple pie, but I wasn't sure just how I was going to do it. It actually came to me in the middle of the night (yes, even in the night I am thinking about cooking projects) - I was laying there and suddenly I realised that I absolutely had to put chai spices in an apple pie. So I did. It was so good that when Adam took his first bite, he said "Holy crap!"

Believe me, this is not a guy who gets overly excited about eating.

I'm not joking when I say that this is probably the best dessert I've ever made in my entire life. I know that most of it of it had to do with how perfect the apples were, but a hefty chunk of the credit also goes to the spice combination, the perfect (and restrained) level of sweetness and, last but not least, the flaky flaky pastry recipe courtesy of Alice Waters.

Thank you to Tina Kaminiarz for linking me to Alice's apple tart recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I decided to use this as my base recipe, then add my own spices to it. As usual, I used my frozen butter on a cheese grater method and the pastry was flaky as can be! When peeling and coring your apples, do not throw anything out! You'll need your cores and peels when making the glaze.

chai-spiced apple galette

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, frozen and grated on a cheese grater
3 1/2 tbsp chilled water (I measure mine before starting, then put it in the freezer)

6 small to medium apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp granulated sugar (coarse sugar for the 1 tbsp if you have it)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 cup granulated sugar
peels and cores

Pastry: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt and combine well. Add frozen butter and work it with your hands until the texture resembles oatmeal. Gradually add cold water. Use your hands to gather up all the dry bits and form a ball of dough. Flatten dough into a disk and wrap it in cellophane and chill for at least 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/8" thickness.

Filling: Place your rolled dough on a parchment paper or foil lined circular pan. Arrange your apple slices nicely on the dough, leaving a border of approximately 3 inches. I did mine in a circular pattern that sort of degenerated in the middle. Smitten Kitchen has a very good how-to with pictures if you need further help. Brush your apples with butter.

don't forget to save your peels and cores!

In a small dish, combine cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over your apples, then fold up the edges of your dough, folding and crimping as you go. Sprinkle the dough with 1 tbsp sugar, coarse sugar if you have it.

Bake at 400ºF for approximately 45 minutes, rotating your galette every 15 minutes to ensure even baking. Your apple filling will be bubbling and your crust will be golden brown. Let sit for at least 15 minutes after removing from oven.

Glaze: Put your peels and cores as well as 1/2 cup of sugar. Fill with water until just covered, then boil until it has reduced to a syrupy texture. Using a pastry brush, glaze the entire galette, from apples to crust. Serve slightly warm with either whipped cream or ice cream.

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