Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When life hands you apples and oranges

Fall is my favorite season however, I’m lamenting the fact that I did not eat enough watermelon, cherries or nectarines to sustain me through the winter. I usually notice the impending fall around my birthday, which signifies summer is 2/3rds of the way complete. Then, I vow, as I do every year, to eat more summer fruits before it’s all over and I’m faced with apples and oranges for the next six months straight. I typically fail to do this and by September there is a produce section pity party.

Summer certainly slipped away again this year and as soon as I noticed I went to the store to hopefully shake out one last bag of cherries. I was too late. As if they had been abducted by aliens, all of them gone, without a trace. Replaced by strawberries. As if we wouldn’t notice.

I like apples, oranges and pears just fine, but like a bad party guest, they always seem to linger around too long, in fact, they never leave. Perhaps I take their steadfastness for granted, they patiently wait in the same display day after day, but so do bananas. But bananas are fun, you can ‘go bananas’ or ‘get bananas’, but you never ‘get’ or ‘go’ appley or orangey (or peartastic for that matter).

Dinner parties call for desserts. This one is as easy as it gets, it’s not a full blown pie and not overly sweet. I’d dare to call it ‘adult’ but Jim’s kids love it as well.

Apple Galette - Serves 6

Pate Brisee (From the Bouchon Cookbook)

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces (2 sticks or 16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup ice water


4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin (on a mandoline if you have one)

3 lemons


1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

Make the dough at least a day ahead. this recipe makes enough for two tarts so you can divide and freeze the rest for another time. Place 1 cup flour in salt in standing mixer, turn on low and add the butter in a handful at a time, in about 4 batches, increase to medium speed and when butter is incorporated, stop machine, scrape down sides, turn on to low again and slowly add in remaining flour, followed by the water, mix until just incorporated. remove and divide in to two disks, wrap in plastic wrap.

Cut lemons in half, peel, core and slice the apples on a mandoline. As you slice the apples squeeze lemon juice on them to keep them from turning brown, Add slices and lemons with more juice to a bowl of cold water. Continue slicing apples and squeezing lemons until all are peeled. When ready to bake the tart, remove apple slices from the lemon water and dry on paper towels.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 10’-12” in diameter, place on parchment on a baking sheet, arrange the apples on top leaving an inch-inch and a half edge, fold the edge over roughly crimping, brush apples and crust with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool on the baking sheet on wire rack. Take care when transferring it to a plate or cutting board, the pastry is very flaky. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes: The butter and the water in the pastry really want to be cold. I throw the butter in the freezer for about 10 minutes prior to using. The ice water as well, I find using the water from the fridge is quite cold or I make a glass of ice water and strain the cubes just prior to using. Many recipes say the pastry is fine to use an hour after making once returned to the fridge. I have not had as much luck with that method and more luck letting the pastry sit overnight in the fridge.

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