Saturday, September 26, 2009

fall splendor

Well folks, I have an announcement. I thought I'd mastered my nemesis the homemade pie crust last month, but it was a lie. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have mislead you. I know lies are wrong and I had only the best intentions at the time. But tonight's fresh-from-the-orchard homemade apple galette proved me wrong.

With this chill we've been having in the city, a girlfriend and I put aside our Saturday afternoon chores and headed upstate to kick off fall with one of the season's most quintessential activitites: apple picking and apple cider and donut inhaling. We steered her car to Stuart's Farm in Granite Springs (Westchester County), New York, bought our apple picking bags and set off into the orchard to do some hard labor. Izzy lead the way through Macoun, Empire and Macintosh rows and we ended up with pounds of fruit that were begging to be baked into sweet delights.

After a lunch picnic in the field, a shop at the farm stand, and a quick stop to pet some friendly neighborhood horses, we rolled back to the city with lungs full of fresh fall air and hands full of produce. I planned a last-minute dinner party for four and decided to finish it off with a fresh apple dessert (it doesn't get more fresh than dangling from the branch hours prior!). Galette's had been on my mind since Deb posted this one last month, and with little time to prep I thought it could be the perfect time to try the rustic pie. Boy, was I right. The crust was perfectly flakey, the apple combination was super tasty, and did I mention the crust was flakey? I'm patting my back (and thanking Bon Appetit) for this one, and all that's left is one slice to treat myself for breakfast in the morning.

I may never use my pie pans again, at least not for fruit pies. I love how the crust looked so rustic, crimping and folding in all the right spots to keep the apple-y goodness inside. The secret to this recipe is the apricot preserves hiding beneath the concentric rings of apple slices. My friend called out exactly what it was, and we all agreed the pie is delicious. Worth 4 stars in my book... now I just have to go try the one at Chez Panisse to compare :)

Fall is here! Go grab a bag of apples and get to making this super easy and insanely delicious treat. Bonus: The thin apple slices and crust folds make it an impressive sweet for guests --- shhh, don't you dare tell them it only took you minutes to put together!

Apple Galette
Bon Appetit

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water (it took me 5 tbsp's)

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices (I used 5 apples of varying varieties)
4 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Whole milk

Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles course meal. Add 2 tbsp. ice water and blend just until dough begins to clump together, adding more water if dough is dry (I used a pastry cutter, old-school style). Gather dough into a ball, flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thick round, 14 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using bottom sheet as aid, transfer dough on parchment to large unrimmed baking sheet. Chill 15 minutes. (I didn't re-chill).

Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine apple slices, 2 tbsp. sugar, and lemon peel in medium bowl; toss to blend. Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping slightly. Using parchment as aid, fold plain crust border up over apples, pinching any cracks in crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining sugar.

Bake galette 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F and continue baking until crust is golden, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

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