I recently went through my collection of Cooks Illustrated and photo copied several recipes that I really wanted to try. Among them was Apple Galette, from the Sept./Oct. 2007 issue.
The recipe was very simple: flour, instant flour, butter, sugar, salt, apples, apricot jam.
The directions were fairly simple: combine in food processor, chill, slice apples, bake, glaze.
Leave it to me to mess up such simple directions.
My first attempt ended with the dough in a glutenous glob that was nothing like the flakey texture described, and me ready to defenestrate our mini-food processor (it would’ve been easier than cleaning it out).
Gavin reminded me that it was OK to fail, because at least I had tried. Then he asked when lunch was.
After lunch (leftover chili), I decided to try again. This time I was armed with the pastry cutter I got for Christmas and a mixing bowl.
The pastry cutter was easier than the food processor. I could see how the flour and butter were being cut together, the ingredients had room to move around in the bowl, and there was no guessing how many seconds the items had been pulsed. I also got to mash my frustrations out on the chilled butter.
When the dough was at an appropriately flakey consistency I dumped it out on the huge cutting board and mashed it around (CI used a more scientific sounding French term), and ended up with the necessary 4-inch block to sit in the fridge.
As the dough chilled I sliced the apples. I used our melon baller to core the apples – it worked really well, I wish I’d known about this sooner. My apple slices did not look nearly as nice as the ones in the photo, but they were tasty.
After the apples were sliced I carefully rolled out the dough to the 16×12 dimensions recommend. I found our measuring tape, parchment paper and floured up my new rolling pin. About ten to fifteen minutes later I had dough about 1/8 of an inch thick and almost perfectly 16×12.
I curled the edges over and started laying out the apples. Again, my slices didn’t look nearly as nice as CI’s, but I think I’ll live. Once it was dotted with butter, sprinkled with sugar and slid into the oven, I read the next set of directions: apricot preserves for the glaze.
I didn’t have any apricot preserves, but I did have a box full of home made persimmon jelly. They’re similar in color, and both loaded with sugar… I explained my logic to Nick who declared: “The jelly’s really good, so it probably won’t taste BAD” and added “Your logic is tenuous, but I think your conclusion is right.”
I like the conclusion being right part, however, I have no intention of telling Gavin of this slight modification to the recipe (at least not until after he’s tried it and/or he reads the blog).
After forty-seven minutes the galette came out of the oven, was glazed, and allowed to cool.
Gavin came down and immediately started making suggestions on how it could be improved. He was under the impression they would be tartlets, little individual ones with more crust, until I showed him the recipe.
Then he tried it and the praise came forth. The persimmon jelly made a very mild subtle glaze, and the whipped cream offered a cool contrast to the still slightly warm apples. Hot chocolate also compliments it nicely.
The recipe is being filed along with my collection of Recipes that Work Well, along with notes about the food processor and persimmon jelly.