Recipe: Jacques Pépin's Apple Galette

The famed chef and TV personality Jacques Pépin offers "Sunday Morning" a favorite pastry dish:

"This apple galette is a favorite at our house. The dough is very flaky, almost like a puff paste. The apples are only flavored with butter and sugar in the French style, but a bit of cinnamon could be added to the sugar if desired."

Jacques Pépin's Apple Galette 

Yields 6 servings

Pâte Brisée

Yield: Enough pastry for one 14 by 16-inch crust

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (measured by dipping the measuring cup into the flour, filling it, and leveling it off with your hand)
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup very cold water

Filling:

5 large Golden Delicious apples (2 pounds)
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Calvados or Cognac (optional)

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • For the pâte brisée:
  • To mix by hand, put the flour, butter, and salt in a large bowl, and mix them together very lightly with your fingertips, so that small pieces of butter remain visible throughout the dough. Add the cold water, and mix it in quickly with your hands, stopping as soon as the dough coheres. Gather the dough into a ball; the pieces of butter should still be visible. Refrigerate the dough, wrapped well, for 1 or 2 hours, or use it right away. (If using it immediately, the butter will be soft, so you may need a little extra flour in the rolling process to absorb it.)
  • To mix by food processor, put the flour, butter, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 5 seconds. The butter should still be in pieces. Add the cold water, and process for about 5 seconds more, just until the dough starts gathering together. The little pieces of butter should still be visible in the dough. Remove the dough from the food processor, and gather it into a ball. Refrigerate, or use right away.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the pate brisée until the dough measures approximately 14 by 16 inches and is 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Using a rolling pin, transfer it to a cookie sheet of approximately the same size as the dough rectangle.
  • Peel and cut the apples in half lengthwise, core them, and, placing each apple half flat side down on a cutting board, cut it into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside the large center slices of about the same size, and chop the end slices coarsely. Sprinkle the chopped apple over the dough. Then, beginning about 1 1/2 inches from the dough edge and working inward, arrange the apple slices on top of the chopped apple, staggering and overlapping the slices so they resemble the petals of a flower.
  • Cover the dough (except for the border) completely with a single layer of apple slices, arranging smaller slices in the center so they imitate the heart of a flower. Carefully lift the border or dough, and fold it over the apples at the edge. Sprinkle the apples with the sugar, dot them with the 3 tablespoons of butter, and bake the galette in the preheated 400-degree oven for 65 to 75 minutes, until it is very brown and crusty.
  • Slide the galette onto a cutting board. In a small bowl, mix the apricot preserves with the Calvados or Cognac (or, if you prefer not to use spirits, add 1 tablespoon of water instead). With the back of a spoon, carefully spread the preserve mixture on the galette, lightly coating the crust edge as well, if you like.
  • Serve the galette lukewarm, cut into wedges.

       
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