Yearning For Autumn: A Simple Apple Galette
Oh, autumn, how I love thee. Despite having the time of my life and eating wonderfully here in Taiwan, I totally missed that glorious transition from summer into fall. Apparently in Taiwan, it’s a hot, humid summer all year round (ok, I have been informed by my relatives that it does get cold sometimes during December . . . maybe). Maybe it’s a sign that I’ve spent enough time here, but my heart is aching for that chilly, smoky breeze that signals the changing of the seasons back home. My sister and I used to always say that we could “smell” autumn coming for this very reason . . .
So, as of late, I’ve had conflicting emotions; I love it here in Taiwan and would love to spend another month here (there’s still so many things I want to do) but something in my heart keeps telling me to rush back home, to stand on more familiar ground, to be reunited with my dad and my sister, to cook in my own kitchen again and to eagerly anticipate what are easily my three favorite holidays of the entire year: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Readers, please humor me as I live autumn vicariously through this simple apple tart that I baked two autumns ago; to me, this galette is the epitome of everything autumn: delicately spiced apples, comforting buttery pastry, and a return to baking.
For the dough:
- 1 cup (120 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz., or 84 g) unsalted butter, frozen, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water
For the filling:
- 2 pounds apples (I used one Fuji, one Braeburn), peeled, cored and sliced (save the peels and cores)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
Add the chilled water one tablespoon at a time, stirring with your other hand, just until the dough just holds together (you might not need all the water, depending on your flour and the humidity of your kitchen). 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 (or up to 2 days).
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).
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. It doesn’t have to look perfect, the beauty of a galette lies in its rusticity.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the dough edge and 2 tablespoons of sugar over the apples. Use more or less sugar to your preference.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake the galette for 45 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.
While the tart is baking, you can work on the glaze; place the reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan with the sugar. Pour enough water into the saucepan just so it barely covers the peels and sugar and simmer for 25 minutes. Strain the apple-infused syrup through cheesecloth and set aside. Your kitchen will smell amazing at this point.
When the tart 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 before brushing glaze over the tart.
Slice and serve immediately, alone or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling decadent.