I’m done with apple pie.
This post was originally intended as an extended humble brag about my apple pie baking skills. Did I mention that my pie, which I dubbed “Derrick Rose,” was a semi-finalist in this year’s Bucktown Apple Pie Contest? I spent an inordinate amount of time prepping for the contest, brushing up on apple pie theory and baking practice pies. For my first go round, I theorized that slipping a bit of bacon fat into the crust would result in a superior pie and guarantee me a spot on the winners podium at Holstein Park. I rendered thick-cut bacon strips and cored, peeled, and sliced a few pounds of apples that I had trekked all the way to the hinterlands of Spring Grove, IL to obtain, believing a bushel of apples purchased from a farm stand would lend an authenticity that store bought fruit could not. A few hours later, I pulled a gorgeous pie out of the oven. I was like Tyson in his prime, ridiculously pumped up, chest beating, and ready to start trash talking the competition on Twitter. This vainglorious peacocking lasted a few short hours until my pie had cooled sufficiently to taste. I emailed Lucy a smug pic, cut myself a slice and…it was limp, flavorless. Not even a hint of bacon. Fail.
The final pies that I ended up entering were ridiculously complicated, as in I cooked the apples with a primitive sous vide technique, there was a dulce de leche sauce involved, etc. It was excessive, complicated, and unnecessary, which is right up my alley. I didn’t finish baking until 3AM, just a few hours short of the deadline. Was it worth all the trouble? I don’t know! The fact is I never got a chance to eat my almost prize-winning pie, because…it sold out before I got there. (Okay, okay, that was the last humble brag, I swear!) I tell you, this is no way to live. I vowed to myself, never again.
Until Thanksgiving rolled around, when I was reminded by my boyfriend’s parents that I had foolishly volunteered to bake two pies for the occasion. I made the pumpkin pie off the back of the Libby’s can, which is as lazy as you can get. For the second, I decided I would make life less complicated for myself by baking an apple galette. Not only does it look fantastic and rustic, (it would look quite at home on the pages of Kinfolk magazine) it was also easy. I often find in traditional pies that the apple to crust ratio is off: too many apples and this often results in a soggy bottom crust as well. This galette is slim, elegant, and there are just enough sweet, tart, thinly sliced apples to balance out the rich buttery crust. Did I mention it’s easy? I’m a convert.
Makes 1 approximately 9 inch galette
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbs cold butter
3/8 cup ice water, plus more if needed
For the filling:
3-4 large apples, (I used golden delicious) peeled, cored, sliced 1/4” thick
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
6 tbs sugar (or more, to taste, depending on the sweetness of your fruit)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp corn starch
1 egg, beaten
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 tbs sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Slowly drizzle the ice water into the bowl, and fold the flour and water together with a plastic spatula. On a lightly floured surface, just barely knead the dough together, less than a minute until the dry ingredients are incorporated. If you are having a hard time getting the dough to come together, sparingly drizzle more water, a teaspoon at a time until it forms. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
In another large bowl, toss your sliced apples in lemon juice. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid from the apples and then toss with sugar,cinnamon, and cornstarch.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rough circle about 13” in diameter with a 1/4” thickness. Place the dough circle onto a sheet of parchment paper placed on a baking sheet. Place your apples inside the dough, until you have a smaller circle of apples about 9” in diameter. You can either trim the edges of the dough to a uniform thickness or leave it in it’s natural state for a more rustic look. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples. Brush the dough lightly with a coat of the beaten egg, and then bake for about 45 minutes or until the galette is golden brown. I lift the edge of the galette with a wide spatula to check that the bottom has cooked through before pulling mine out of the oven. Let cool before serving.