Baking for a Non-Baker: Apple Galette

I’m not much of a baker really, so I prefer uncomplicated fruit desserts. Especially when I’m already making dinner. Here’s an easy one for a dinner party. Just make the crust ahead of time and then cut up the apples and roll out the dough while you’re chatting up your guests. Pop it in the oven while you serve dinner. It will be ready by the time everyone is finished eating. Serve it warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.

The cornmeal crust is easy to work with and the cornmeal adds a nice crunch to the final product. The secret to a flaky crust is to keep the ingredients as cold as possible and don’t over mix the dough.

3 tablespoons yogurt

1/3 cup ice water

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon sugar, plus about 1 tablespoon additional for sprinkling on top

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

About 3 large apples, sliced thin

Stir together yogurt and water and keep in the freezer while you mix the other ingredients.

Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Add butter and work in quickly with a pastry blender, leaving some pieces of butter the size of small peas.

Sprinkle the ice water/yogurt mixture over the flour-butter mixture gradually, mixing it in with a fork. Be careful not to over mix. The dough can still be crumbly, but should stick together when pinched. You may not need to use all the yogurt-water mixture.

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight for convenience. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

Roll out dough to a quarter inch thickness and transfer to a baking sheet. Top the dough with sliced fruit, working in a spiral from the inside out, leaving a border of about 2-inches all along the edge of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough inward to encase the fruit, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees until the crust is brown and flaky and the fruit soft, bubbling and fragrant, about 20 minutes.

Serves 6

Recipe Copyright Vanessa Barrington 2010

Image: Perfecto

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.