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Apple pies and domestic felicity have kept company for a long time.  Suppose, one day, the love of your life should make an observation along these lines:  “Thy breath is like the steam of apple pies”…. Is this a compliment?  Back in 1590, in his story Arcadia, Robert Greene put these words in the mouth of a shepherd wooing his beloved.  “The poor country lovers knew no further comparisons than came within the compass of their country logic,” he explained.  But was that a negative?  No, for “twas a good world when such simplicity was used.”

Several centuries later another English writer had kind words for the apple pie’s contribution to social harmony and well-being.  “Good apple pies,” wrote Jane Austen of her family life , “Are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.”

Many, many years later, on the other side of the the Atlantic, songwriter/ singer Don McLean sang ‘bye-bye’ to ‘Miss American Pie’–a farewell to the passing of an era in American culture–to another “good world when such simplicity was used”.  Even though the apple is never mentioned in the song, a lot of folks naturally connect ‘Miss American Pie’ with the ‘American as Apple Pie’ pie that is still for many a culinary expression of the virtue of an uncomplicated way of life.

An apple galette is an especially straightforward form of that pie.  It is flat, neither rolled out nor moulded, requires no pie tin, and no wait for cooling before cutting.  A galette is so quickly and easily made that it is no trouble at all to make more than one and invite a few more friends to share it.  It gives back much more than the labour that goes into the making, contributing a homely virtue to an occasion…as the apple pie has done for centuries.

(For those who run with chocolate lovers, a Dessert and Coffee is an opportunity to have–not only some very good form of Chocolate–but this very good form of Not-Chocolate, as well.)

Warm Apple Galette (1 galette)

Note:  To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon:  Print & PDF.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 8 Tablespoons of butter for making the pastry and 1 Tablespoon of butter cut into bits for dotting over the apples
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 or 4 Tablespoons of cold water
  • a lemon, halved:  squeeze the juice of one half over the apple slices and use the other half for something else
  • 5 or 6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices:  squeeze the juice of one half of the lemon over the slices to prevent them from discoloring
  • 2 Tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • a little flour for flouring your hands and the ball of unbaked pastry

Equipment:

  • a pizza pan:  the photographed Galette is made on a 14-inch pizza pan, but a baking sheet of any form will do as well
  • Parchment paper
  • Waxed paper for wrapping the unbaked dough and chilling it in the refrigerator
  • a food processor is useful and optional for mixing the pastry dough
  • a pastry board is useful and optional for forming the dough into a ball and wrapping it up for chilling in the refrigerator

Optional Finishing:

  • sweetened Whipped Cream, served in a bowl from which guests help themselves, if the Galette is part of the diplomatickitchen’s Dessert and Coffee Menu

I.  Making the pastry

1.  Pour the flour, sugar and salt in the processor, add the butter, cut into pieces, and process to blend in the butter with the dry ingredients. (Work the butter into the flour and sugar with your fingers, if you don’t use a processor.  All the subsequent steps may be done by hand as well.)

2.  Add the egg yolk and briefly process again.

3.  Turn on the processor and add 3 Tablespoons of cold water, a Tablespoon at a time.  The mixture should form a ball.  A fourth Tablespoon of water probably won’t be necessary.

4.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry board and form it into a ball.  Wrap the pastry in waxed paper and refrigerate it for an hour or more.

II. Assembling the Galette

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Streak the pizza pan or baking sheet with butter and line it with Parchment Paper.

2.  Place the dough in the center of the pan and press it out into a 10-inch circle with your hands. The dough is not crumbly, and it is easy to form a decorative edge around the tart.  Pinch the dough all around the circumferance at regular intervals and, at the same time…

…push into the center of each ‘pinch’ with the index finger of your other hand:

3.  The pastry is soft and pliable and not difficult to shape by hand:

4.  Arrange the apples on the crust.  The apples in the photographed Galette are arranged in overlapping circles, beginning on the outside edge of the circle of pastry and changing the direction of the overlapping apple slices on each new circle, working inwards towards the center:

5.  Cut 1 Tablespoon of butter into bits and dot it over the apples.  Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the apples:

6.  Bake the galette for about 20 minutes, or until it is brown…

and the apples release their juices:

A Serving Suggestion:  The Apple Galette is very good sliced straightaway and served warm with a bowl of whipped cream at the side.

Coffee Suggestions:  A slice of lemon peel…

goes well in a cup of sweetened Espresso…

…and, besides as an accompaniment to the Galette, sweetened whipped cream is convenient…to add to a cup of regular coffee instead of milk and sugar.  

 A Note:  Warm Apple Tart is on the Occasional Menu:  Dessert and Coffee, along with Chocolate PavlovasThe Pavlovas, as well as the Apple Galette, are very easy to make in larger quantities and for more guests than the ‘6 people’ on the Menu.

A Second Note:  Robert Greene’s Arcadia or, Menaphon is available free from Google books.  (The full text of the shepherd’s declaration of love is on page 72.)

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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