Sometimes, It’s the Little Things
Have you ever had one of those weeks where things seemed to swing wildly from one extreme to the other? Where you felt as if you were a trapeze artist jumping off the platform and plunging toward the floor, only to find yourself suddenly zooming skyward to the opposite platform then back again at a dizzying speed? Is someone supposed to catch me? I sure hope that net will hold me. Wait….what am I doing at the circus??
Last week was one of those weeks. It was not unexpected, though. My husband and I are starting a new business and therefore, we have taken up temporary residence in Crazytown. Being self-employed and working from a home office has a lot of advantages. One drawback, however, is learning to find the line where work ends and “the-rest-of-your-life” begins. It can be challenging. Add to that the wrinkle of working with your spouse and the idea of “leaving” work at 5 o’clock no longer exists. Conversations naturally gravitate back to the issues with this person or that deadline or whatever was uppermost on the daily agenda. Sometimes, a distraction is called for. Or a treat. Or a distraction that turns into a treat. This weekend, I found the perfect solution. Mini Apple Gallettes.
A galette by definition is a flat round pastry, typically topped with fruit. Think of it as a rustic, one crust pie. It is not hard to make, but it does take just enough thought and effort that you can become absorbed in the process and so, for a little while at least, you have left Crazytown behind. First step is to make the pie dough and get it chilling. My go-to recipe is below. When it comes to what kind of galette to make, there are as many options as there are fruits. Apples, peaches, pears, berries, bananas, etc. etc. etc. I often make a galette for dessert when we have company because it is quick, easy and looks so delicious that my guests can hardly wait for the end of the meal. One large round, or maybe an individual pie for each guest is what I will typically serve. What made the mini galettes the perfect choice this weekend was their diminutive size. It took a little more time, a little more patience and it put me in a place where my thoughts were nothing but apples and pie. Ahhhhhhhhh………
When it comes to a sweet treat, I prefer a tiny bite. I’m more of a savory gal, so my sweet tooth is easily satisfied. Each mini galette is about four bites. A perfect size for me. You can easily have one or two---or even four---feel happily rewarded for your efforts, and still have plenty for later! The next time you find yourself on the bullet train through Crazytown, find a little time to spend in the kitchen and try your hand at my Mini Apple Galettes. You deserve a little treat!
MINI APPLE GALETTES
Makes 12-15 mini galettes, depending on size
½ recipe Pâte Brisée pie dough (recipe below)
4 apples (firm-fleshed and ripe), peeled, cored and sliced into ½-inch to 1-inch pieces, no more than 1/8-inch thick
¼ to 1/3 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of apples)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup apricot jam, melted
Flour for dusting/rolling dough
2 Tablespoons milk, half & half or cream for brushing on crust before baking (optional)
1-2 Tablespoons Demerara or white sugar for sprinkling on crust before baking (optional)
Peel and core apples. Slice apple no thicker than 1/8-inch and pieces no bigger than 1-inch. This assures they will fit in your mini galette. Place sliced apples in a large bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Set apples aside to macerate while you prepare the dough.
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour. Dust the rolling pin and the top of your pie dough. Roll out dough to a thickness of approximately 1/8-inch. Using a 3 ½-inch diameter cutter (the ring to a mason jar lid works well for this), cut out circles of dough and place on the parchment lined sheet pan. Tip: 3 1/2 –inch diameter is about the smallest that is easy to work with. You may make your galettes any size, including a single large one (adjust baking time accordingly). A small plate or bowl that you trace around with a knife can be used in place of a cutter.
Place a small portion of the sliced apples in the center of a cut round of dough, leaving at least a half inch of margin all around. Begin folding the dough up to the apple slices and pinching or creasing along the round, until a “cup” is formed. (If making one large galette, leave approximately 2 inches of margin and fold dough towards the center, working your way around and folding each new section so that it overlaps the end of the last.) If there is still room after forming your pie dough “cup”, add a few more apple slices to fill. Continue with remaining circles and apples. You may re-roll the pie dough scraps, but may need to briefly chill the dough in the refrigerator before continuing. If desired, brush outside edges of pie dough with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400° for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. (60 minutes for one large galette) Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
In microwave safe container, heat apricot jam for 15-20 seconds or until melted and easily stirred with a spoon. Drizzle a spoonful of jam over the apples in each mini galette. Allow to cool completely and serve.
Pâte Brisée (Pie Crust Dough)
Makes enough for 1 double crust or 2 single crust 9- to 10-inch pies
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
¼ to ½ cup ice water
Cut chilled butter into small cubes by cutting the stick in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half again, lengthwise. Chop these long pieces into half inch cubes. Keep butter cold while assembling ingredients.
In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, salt and sugar. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add chilled butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal (or large bread crumbs), about 10 seconds.
With the machine running, slowly add ¼ cup ice water in a steady stream through the feed tube on the lid. Pulse until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky, being careful not to pulse for more than 30 seconds. To test, take a heaping tablespoon of the dough and squeeze it together. If it is still crumbly, return it to the processor and add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep testing until dough holds together.
Remove dough from processor and divide into 2 equal balls. Place each on a separate piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper and flatten ball into a disc. Chill dough in refrigerator at least one hour. Dough may be stored, wrapped well and frozen, up to 1 month.