Saturday, November 17, 2012

Apple Frangipane Galette with Cranberries

This time four years ago, I was in New York, completing a public radio internship. I was getting an on-the-job crash course at a stellar program, but I was also kind of freaking out. I was far from home and dog, uprooting my life at the same time all of my friends seemed to be Getting Their Shit Together. I spent my nights house-sitting at the apartments of various friends who all had someplace better to be for the holidays (or else schlepping hours on public transit to sleep on a couch at my mother's house), and I spent my days worrying so much about mastering this unfamiliar work that my forehead would literally hurt from the stress of it.

And then, amidst the winter storm, I heard about the WNYC pie contest. Yes! I could temporarily set aside the still-unfamiliar work of radio production, and turn to the always-comforting kitchen. I could go from feeling alone in the hallways to sharing my recipe with admiring new friends. So I pulled together some of the best flavors of the season, felt my way through someone else's kitchen, and crafted this apple galette — a beautiful array of crisp apples atop a rich swipe of frangipane, then topped with a sprinkling of jewel-bright cranberries. And I lost. I didn't even place.

So yeah. It wasn't quite the triumph I was hoping for. But you know what? Things got better nonetheless. I got the hang of radio production, and, perhaps more importantly, realized that even though something scares the bejesus out of you doesn't mean it isn't valuable and rewarding in the end. That while stress can make your forehead ache, it can also reshape your life in ways you never thought possible. And that even if your galette didn't win over the hard-nosed judge (especially when it was hacked into tiny pieces, its beauty destroyed prior to evaluation), you can take the recipe, tweak it a bit, and come up with something that will win over legions of new fans. And that even if it doesn't, that's okay too. Because even as the days darken, and the radio deadlines loom, there's still a whole lot to be thankful for.

Apple Frangipane Galette with Cranberries

This galette is perfect for Thanksgiving — it's a nice little spin on tradition, and it's also much lighter than the standard overfilled apple pie, so as not to push you over the post-feast edge.

1/3 cup ground almonds (I tend to keep a bag of this in my freezer, but if you don't stock it, just start with a slightly larger amount of whole almonds, and grind the mixture longer)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
pinch salt
1/2 egg (reserve the other half for brushing the crust)

3 good-sized crisp, tart apples, such as Granny Smith
1 unbaked pie crust (I still haven't found anything better than this — and I make a lot of pies)
scant cup cranberries (if using frozen, no need to thaw)
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 egg (left over from the frangipane), beaten with a splash of water or milk (aka the egg wash)
sugar for sanding the top (coarse sugar is especially nice, but regular sugar works fine as well)

Preheat your oven to 400° Farenheit.

To make the frangipane: Place the ground almonds, sugar, butter, salt, and half the egg in a food processor, and process until a smooth mixture forms, scraping down as needed. Set aside.

Peel and core the apples, then thinly slice (I tend to keep the slices together, so that I can just fan them out into the finished tart). Roll out the crust to a about 14 inches in diameter, then either place on a parchment-lined baking pan, or drape into a tart pan. Spread the prepared frangipane in a thin layer along the bottom of the tart crust (or, if making a free-form galette, in a 9-inch circle in the center of your dough), then arrange the apple slices over the top. If you're feeling particularly inspired you can fan them out in concentric circles, but it'll look pretty even if you're lazy like me and go for a less geometrical approach. Scatter the cranberries over the top, then fold the overhanging edges of the pastry over the fruit. Brush the crust with the egg wash, and then drizzle the melted butter over the exposed fruit. Sprinkle sugar generously over both the fruit and crust, so that they're coated with a thin layer.

Transfer the galette to the oven, and bake until the crust is browned and the filling is cooked and bubbling, ~35-45 minutes. Set aside, let cool slightly, and serve.


Post a Comment