Last-minute Thanksgiving dessert: Apple galette

Okay, so I didn’t technically make this for Thanksgiving dinner, but it is definitely worthy of such an occasion.

And lets be honest, if it’s Sunday afternoon and you’re still not sure what you’re making for Thanksgiving dessert, well this is probably as easy as it gets. So read on. Or just skip to the bottom in case you’re cutting it close for time and just need to see how to get this baby made as fast as possible.

Thus far I’ve made two versions of this apple galette, one of which we will label the first, the other which will hereon in be called version two (creative, huh?). Also, for those of you who don’t know, a galette is basically a freeform cake of sorts, a dessert whose shape relies not on some fancy pie dish. Even better for last minute bakers.

The first galette was made in Toronto last weekend when I went to visit Matt. Since we were going to one of his friend’s house for a food party on Friday night (for the record, Matt’s friend is Brian, and he has a really awesome blog which you should all read and love), I needed to think of something that could be made using Matt’s limited baking supplies (really, no parchment paper?). The answer was this apple galette. I had been planning on making it earlier in the week, but had completely run out of time. And so, I brought the apples to Toronto in hopes of making the dessert there. Backstory with the fruit: I accidentally bought two kilograms instead of two pounds of apples. This was a tragic mistake.

Version two apple galette was made this past Friday night. It was better in every way: the crust was flakier (I actually followed the instructions) and the apples were more cinnamon-y and tossed in a light coating of lemon juice. The addition of some coarse sugar for decorative purposes didn’t hurt either.

Despite one galette being better than the former, both would definitely be passable in the great chaotic mess they call Thanksgiving dinner. This was a baby dessert (it made four medium-sized servings), so plan appropriately. And please god, be thankful for dessert. I sure as hell am.

Recipe: Apple galette
Adapted from Too Much Food
Dough
– 1 cup all purpose flour
–  1/2 tsp white sugar
– 6 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen, cut into 1/2″ pieces
–  4 1/2 tbsp cold water (or however much you need)
– 1 tsp coarse sugar

Filling
– Two Royal Gala (or other kind) apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
– 1 tbsp coarse sugar
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tsp cinnamon

Make the dough first: sift together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the frozen butter cubes using two knives or a pastry cutter. Make sure that you do this rather quickly, you want to keep the butter as cold as possible to insure a light, flaky pastry dough. No need to blitz the heck out of the butter; just cut it in until the biggest pieces are about the size of large peas.

Add the chilled water one tablespoon at a time, stirring with your other hand, just until the dough just holds together. You may need more or less than the amount of water listed above. Play it by ear! Dump the dough out on a mat and pat into a circle about 1.5″ inches thick. Double-wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

After the chilling period, take the dough out and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes; this allows the dough to soften slightly so that when you roll it out, it doesn’t break into a million pieces on you (trust me this has happened to me and it’s not fun nor pretty). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured mat into a 14″ circle, about 1/8″ thick. Using a pastry brush, dust off the excess flour. Carefully transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C).

Cut the apples into thin slices. In a large bowl, toss the apple with the lemon juice and cinnamon, coating well. To fill the tart, overlap the sliced apples on top of the dough in a ring 2 inches from the edge and continue towards the center. To complete the tart, fold over the edges of the dough.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the dough edge and 1 tablespoon of sugar over the apples.

Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake the galette for 35 minutes, or until the apples are soft and have slightly browned edges. Try to rotate the tart every 15 minutes to ensure even browning of the crust.

When the galette is done baking, remove from the oven and slide it (parchment and all) off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes.

Slice and serve soon after, alone or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I highly recommend the latter).

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