It may look complicated and of course there is always the fear of pastry… I assure you, this is as easy as pastry can get. I don’t even use my Magimix to make it. A large bowl and my fingers do just fine. I learned a good trick at Leiths (something which my pastry chef friend confirmed). The trick is to cut the butter up into really small squares. 1 cm squared if you can manage it. Then put the little butter cubes back in the fridge to firm up again (half an hour should do it) after your warm fingers have been all over them.
Then rub the flour and the butter together with your finger tips until you have what looks like breadcrumbs and quite a few fat pea sized pieces of butter. Don’t fret that you will have a dough that resembles swiss cheese. The galette will hold beautifully and will be tender and flaky.
One of the best selling tarts at Melrose and Morgan (my old work place) was the frangipane fruit tart. They are lovely looking and delicious but require blind baking which I always find such a bother. Sometimes I go to the trouble, like if I am serving a lemon meringue pie at a dinner party, other times I just want something low maintenance without sacrificing taste and texture.
There are only three things that I do differently from the master recipe of the master baker.
I use less water, 75-80ml, instead of the 90 ml suggested. I am assuming the reason 90ml is the stated quantity is so that the dough definitely comes together and some poor novice baker doesn’t have a coronary at the sight of his/her shaggy dough. But too much water can make pastry tough so I use less and it works out fine.
The second thing is when I make free form tarts (like Galettes or Pinwheel tarts) I roll out my pastry on a piece of baking parchment. This way, I keep my work space neat, I don’t get my pastry stuck to the work top, and it’s easier to move from counter to fridge to stove etc.
Lastly, I put the rolled out dough in the fridge while I peel and slice the apples, just to let if firm up a bit (this is useful if you are slow when rolling it out and it gets soft) I have reproduced to recipe as it appears in Ready for Dessert and I leave it to you to use (or not) the tips I suggest.
Apple-Frangipane Galette (Serves 8 )
From David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert
1 1/2 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes and chilled
6 (90ml) tablespoons ice water (I have always found 80ml / 1/3 cup ice water is plenty but use your judgment on this one)
For the frangipane:
115g almond paste or marzipan, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon rum, Kirsch or Calvados (optional)
5 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm slices
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons (60g) granulated, Demerara or other coarse-crystal sugar
1. First, make the crust. In the bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and mix until the butter is the size of large pieces of corn. Add 90g / 6 tablespoons of ice water all at once and mix just until the dough begins to come together. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Or just make it the day before)
2. To make the frangipane, place the almond paste, sugar, flour and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer. Mix until the almond paste is in fine, uniform pieces. Add the butter and mix until very well-blended, then add the egg and the liqueur, if using. Mix until the frangipane is smooth (there may be a few tiny unmixed pieces of almond paste, and that’s fine–they’ll disappear during baking).
3. When you’re ready to bake the galette, position an oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 190°C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. To assemble the galette, lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out into a circle about 35 cm in diameter. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Spread the frangipane in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the apples over the frangipane, either scattering them in an even layer, or arranging them in concentric circles. Fold the un-frangipaned edge of the dough over the apples. Brush the crust and filling with the melted butter. Scatter half the sugar over the crust and the remainder over the apples. Bake until the apples are tender and the crust has browned, about 1 hour. Slide the galette (still on the parchment) onto a wire rack to cool a bit. Serve warm or at room temperature, ideally the day it’s baked.