Keep a disc of this pastry in the freezer, and dessert is simplified
Much simpler than a pie, a galette is easier and more forgiving. You have only one layer of dough, flat on a sheet, filled, then the edges turned up. It is rustic, lovely to look at, and dessert can be made in a snap. I had two hours notice recently that company was coming, so I pulled the dough out of the freezer, worked on dinner, then prepped the filling. I popped this in the oven just before they arrived. It was a perfect dessert.
A easy dough!
The dough I’ve used is forgiving as well. A basic butter and shortening dough with the addition of vinegar and an egg. The egg keeps everything easy to work, the butter adds tons of flavor, and the shortening and vinegar help in keeping the pastry flaky. Mom knew what she was doing when she used both butter and shortening, although often it was lard in its place. She always had pie crusts tucked in the freezer for a quick tart or little tartlets, always left over from a recipe or made to stash. In a pinch, she might just sprinkle the dough with cinnamon and sugar and cut into little shapes, or spread with jam and make little filled treats.
You can use dairy butter or vegan butter in this pastry. Look for an organic shortening like Spectrum which is not hydrogenated, so no trans fats or GMOs.
A treat with a few redeeming qualities
My mom would have used all white flour, but I’ve added the white whole wheat because it adds a bit of a nutty flavor and fiber. The dough is flakey and tender, and by using golden delicious apples, the filling is plenty sweet with minimal sugar. I’m not pretending this is health food by any means, but if I can slip a little whole grain in a treat and avoid the saturated fat, while not sacrificing flavor, I will make the adjustments.
Let the flavor of the apples shine
This recipe allows the apples to shine with minimal spicing, just a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom. You can use more if you like!
So much is possible, you can use just about any fruit in this dessert, think peaches in season, pears when they are juicy and delicious, cherries, plums, or a mixture of everything good. It’s as easy as, well, you know.
Apple Galette with Whole Wheat Crust
Whole Wheat and Egg Pastry:
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tbsp. white sugar if making a sweet pie, or omit
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter or vegan butter, cubed and chilled
- 6 tbsp. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, chilled
- 3 tbsp. ice water
- 1 large local egg, beaten
- 2 tsp. white or cider vinegar
In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and shortening and mix with a pastry blender or your fingers, preferred method. Feel that dough! You want a crumbly mixture, but don’t overwork. A few larger blobs of butter are fine.
In a cup, combine the water, egg, and vinegar and beat well. Add to the flour and use your hands to lift through the dough and combine the wet and dry. No need to stir, just sift your fingers through until it starts to come together, then turn out onto the counter and gently bring all the edges up and pat into a disc. Cut in two, and gently shape each into a disc. Wrap one well for the freezer and refrigerate the other for at least a half hour. One for today, and one for another.
While the dough is chilling, make the filling.
- 2 large or 3 medium Golden Delicious apples
- Flour for dusting
- 2 tbsp. apple brandy (Calvados) or dark rum (Meyers)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1-2 tbsp. white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and cardamom
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- Apricot jam to glaze
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Peel and core the apples and slice into 16 or 20 slices each and very lightly dust with flour, shaking off the excess in a mesh strainer. Arrange on the crust, leaving a 1 ½-inch border to fold over later. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the brandy, vanilla, sugar, salt, and spices, then dot with the butter.
Fold the edges up over the sides, making little pleats where necessary. Make a egg wash with a beaten egg thinned with a teaspoon of water and brush over the crust. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the crust lightly browned.
Glaze with a bit of apricot jam you have warmed in the microwave, not necessary, but pretty.
Sylvia’s butter and lard crust
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 stick butter or oleo
- 6 tbsp. lard or Crisco
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp. white vinegar
Mix flour, sugar, and salt, and add the butter and lard and mix with a fork. Mix egg, vinegar, and a little water and sprinkle over. Add water to make a dough.
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