In the United States, Thursday is Thanksgiving. I wish I could be there. Wearing a coat. Eating lots. Being thankful. But alas, here I am, a few million miles away, battling scorching temperatures and a sinus infection. But I have pie. Well, galette to be exact. So I'll be there in spirit - and in dessert - with my American friends and family. For those of you who find the prospect of making pie intimidating, a galette is the solution: all the taste of a pie, with none of the fuss. Here, a quickly-made dough is rolled out, topped with a couple of thinly sliced apples arranged helter skelter and brushed with salted brown butter infused with vanilla. Serve it with whipped cream with a little maple syrup folded through. Air-conditioning and antibiotics optional. Happy Thanksgiving!
Salted butter apple galette
Adapted from a recipe in the November 2014 issue of Bon Appétit
You can make the dough ahead of time - it will be fine in the fridge for up to two days, or in the freezer for a month (defrost in the fridge overnight before rolling out). Make sure you let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before rolling. If not, it will crack, and so will you, and neither will be pretty.
Basic tart dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
1 cup flour, plus more for dusting surface
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Whisk sugar, salt and 1 cup flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with your fingers until mixture ressembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pices remaining. Drizzle egg over butter mixture and mix gently with a fork til dough just comes together.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead til smooth. form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate til firm, at least 2 hours.
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split length-wise
flour, for dusting
1 lb apples (I used Granny Smith, about 2 large), peeled, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon sugar (a sort with large grains preferably)
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 deg F. Place butter in a small saucepan and scrape in vanilla seeds; add pod. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, til butter foams, then browns (be careful not to burn), 5-8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and remove pod.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a rough 14 x 10 inch rectangle or a 12 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Arrange apples on top, overlapping and leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Brush apples with brown butter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Lift edges of dough over apples, tucking and overlapping as needed to keep roughly rectangular (or round) shape.
Beat egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and brush crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake, rotating once, until apples are soft and juicy and crust is golden brown, 40-50 minutes. Let cool slighly on baking sheet before slicing.