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Painless Apple Galette

October 26, 2009

apple tart 048

You may have noticed – but maybe you haven’t, so consider this your warning – that following directions is not my strong suit. This has become somewhat of an issue in the kitchen. Usually when I look at a recipe I pay close attention to the ingredients, but I always, always, always skim over the directions. My reckoning is that it should be pretty obvious how to prepare a dish, given the ingredients and the order in which they are listed.

If my recipes ever get passed down, my offspring are going to be utterly befuddled. My “recipes” are just a list of ingredients, and if the oven is needed, the temperature and time. Usually I don’t even title them. My nieces or nephews are going to be looking for some beloved recipe, and if they are so lucky as figure out which list of ingredients belongs to which recipe… they won’t have a clue as to the method.

Just to prove it, here’s what I scribbed down for this yummy apple tart:

apple tart 115

Here’s how to decipher it: first part is for the pate brisee crust, second part is the filling, third part is the syrup.

Pate brisee, I’ve been told, is difficult to get right. I have never had anything other than a 100% success rate. Yes, I am bragging here. I think the trick is respect the recipe. Yes, I, Queen of Not Following Directions, am telling you to follow the recipe to. the. letter. I might even go a little overboard with keeping things cold, like putting the flour in its mixing bowl and refrigerating, freezing the butter for 15 minutes (after you cut it!), and loading up a big cup with ice cubes and cold water then sticking in the freezer. Keep it cold, cold, cold and you will be fine!!

Apple Galette (or, possibly, Tart)

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves: 4-8, depending on how you slice it.



1 cup flour

1/2 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

6 tbsp (3 oz or 85 g) butter, cut into small cubes *this part is rather important!

3 1/2 tbsp ice cold water


1.5 lbs (or 700-ish g) firm baking apples (I used Golden Delicious)

3 tbsp sugar, divided


1/2 cup sugar

apple peels & cores



Preparing the crust:

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

2. Then, cut in the butter however you usually tend to: with two knives, a pastry cutter, a food processor, or your fingers. I discovered that you can also do this in a KitchenAid: just put everything in the bowl, drape a towel over the whole appliance, and turn on low speed until the butter mixes into pea-sized clumps. You might have to stop and stir the bowl a little bit to make sure all the flour has its fair shake at the butter.

3. Slowly dribble the cold water in, a tablespoon at a time. You just want to add enough that the dough starts to come together. You should be able to pick up a handful as crumbs, and then squeeze it together. This is how you know you’ve added enough water. You might not need to use all 3 1/2 tablespoons (I used only 3) but you might need 4 tablespoons.

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4. Turn the contents of the bowl out onto a baking mat or piece of plastic wrap. Wrangle all the little bits and crumbs into a big cohesive ball. Now smash the ball with the heel of your hand – just once – so it makes a small disc.Y ou should still be able to see discrete bits of butter amidst the flour.

5. Wrap everything up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Fast-forward 30 minutes:

1. Core and peel apples, setting aside the cores and peels in a small saucepan.

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*At this point, you should take your dough out of the fridge and set it on the counter. Also, preheat your oven to 400F/205C.

2. Slice apples in half through the empty core. Set each half on the flat side, and cut into thin slices (I think of it as making armadillos :)). If the apples you got are prone to browning, toss in a little lemon juice.

3. Time to roll out the crust. Sprinkle your work area and dust a rolling pin with flour. And… just roll out the crust into a big circle. It should be 1/8″ (3-4 cm) thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (If you wanted to make a tart – ie, if you are so fancy as to have a tart pan – just place your crust into a tart pan. Duh.)

4. Arrange the apples in a circle on the the rolled-out crust, leaving a good 1.5-2 inch border of crust around the edge. You might not need all the apples you sliced.

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5. Fold up the edges of the crust around the apples. It doesn’t have to look perfect. In fact, mine was hardly round. Sprinkle with the sugar, putting 2/3 of it over the apples and 1/3 on the crust. I added some cinnamon sugar too, more for color than cinnamon-y taste. You can possibly add more sugar to taste.

6. Pop that baby in the oven for a total of 45 minutes (or until nice and golden), rotating every 15 minutes.

7. While that’s cooking, in the saucepan with your reserved apple peels and cores, add half a cup of sugar and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until it reduces to a syrup.

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8. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

9. Strain the syrup, and then brush (or drizzle if you don’t want to dirty another utensil) over the tart. I didn’t use all the syrup, but I was definitely tempted to drink it :).

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10. Cut and serve up. This is the part where other people suggest adding whipped cream or ice cream, but to me it was perfect solo.

Listen, I used to hate pies because I just didn’t understand the whole thing with the crust. It just tasted so boring and chewy to me (my fault for buying store-bought). But this is so much better. It’s obscenely flaky and buttery. I am ashamed to admit how much of this tart I actually ate. From now on, I am making all my pie crusts from scratch. And, yes mom, you CAN quote me on that!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Maz permalink*
    October 26, 2009 08:34

    Ahhhh, apples in a pastry case of any kind! 😀 I am definitely gonna make this but I rather suck at cutting my apples in those nice perfect slices while still keeping the shape. Pate brisee, you are not Kristen’s enemy for any longer!

    • Kristen permalink*
      October 26, 2009 23:14

      It’s really easy to slice them all pretty-like if you do the little armadillos (I just love calling them that :)). Next time I am going to arrange them differently because I don’t like the way they look. Also don’t use 6 apples like in the pic, it was 2 apples too many. At least the horses in our neighborhood got a treat!

  2. Aniekie permalink
    October 27, 2009 09:40

    Girls at this rate I’m going to be giant balloon size in no time..


  1. Pies 101: Making the Dough « Coconut Dreamz

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