Monday, September 06, 2010
Rosemary Honey Apple Galette
A few years ago, I read a great article attempting to parse the seemingly random trends in baby names. Sociologists weighed the evidence, and tried to figure out why there now seem to be a glut of Isabellas but nary a Lisa in sight. They pointed to numerous factors, but one that stuck out in my mind was the strong pull of the slight variation. Sometimes a name becomes so popular that it starts to feel a wee bit stale. But make the smallest of tweaks, and the name sounds fresh again. Exit Madeleine, enter Madison. My daily world is food (as opposed to baby names), but I know just what they mean. Sometimes I want the familiar flavors of tradition. But I'm also a little bit bored with that, and crave a variation that satisfies off my childhood memories while appealing to my grownup tastes. Exit the honey cake, enter the rosemary honey apple galette.
This week brings Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year celebration. Apples and honey are traditionally eaten on the holiday, to give a sweetly auspicious start to the coming year. Many of my sticky childhood memories involve a bowl of MacIntoshes and a bear-shaped plastic squeeze bottle. I wanted to make a dessert featuring that familiar combination, but providing a more sophisticated riff on the season.
This galette does the job beautifully. The apples are a tart, firm variety, instead of the mealy Macs of my youth, and are featured front-and-center in the open-faced tart. Honey is used to flavor a thin layer of frangipane, a base of almond custard that keeps things from drying out, and also drizzled on top after the galette comes out of the oven. But even better, the frangipane and finishing honey are both infused with the piney scent of rosemary. It's subtle, providing just a bit of sharpness to play against the sweet round notes of apples and honey. I daresay it could start a new tradition of its own.
Rosemary Honey Apple Galette
2 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp finely-chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup ground almonds
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 unbaked pie crust
4-5 apples (~2 lbs), a tart variety like Granny Smith, peeled, halved and cored, and thinly sliced (I like to keep the slices together in the apple-half shape, and just fan them slightly onto the crust)
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 sprig rosemary
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together the frangipane ingredients (this is a snap in a food processor, but you can easily mix it by hand if you take care to finely mince the rosemary). Set aside.
Roll out the crust to a few circle with a diameter a few inches larger than your tart pan. Ease it gently into the pan, and spread the frangipane evenly over the base (just the base, not the overhang). Lay the apples on top, fanning the slices slightly and arranging them in whatever design you like. Take the overhanging crust, and fold it gently inwards to cover the edges of the apple slices, arranging it into folds as needed. Brush the exposed apples and crust with the melted butter, and sprinkle both lightly with the sugar. Bake until the apples brown at the edges and the crust is becoming lightly burnished, ~45 minutes.
Shortly before the galette has finished baking, take the remaining scant 1/4 cup honey and place it in a saucepan with the rosemary. Heat it gently, so that the honey becomes runny and infuses with the rosemary flavor (don't let it come to too much of a boil, or it'll be reduced to an unpourable thickness). Fish the rosemary out with a fork, and drizzle the infused honey over the apples. Serve.