Current status: actively avoiding my job.
Sometimes recipe development and finding weird things for people to use in their cooking feels awesome: sometimes it feels like the worst job ever. “Worst” is an overstatement, yes, but it’s not all sunshine and adorable Asian fruits, if you know what I mean.
It can feel like you’re trying to shove a very large square peg into a very small, round hole. Not everything works; no surprise there. But sometimes I spend days just mulling over what I think I’ll do with an ingredient, only to buy all the things I need, fiddle with it for hours, and then have it fail. Not just fail like “oh, fine-tuning!” – nope, although that happens often. I mean real, unsalvageable, back-to-the-drawing-board, burn-the-plans-and-angry-cry failure.
That happened to me today. I saw it coming; I should have known. I didn’t prepare correctly, I glossed over technical details, my flavors could have been better. I forced it; I made less than a full effort, which never ends well for me, and it was no different today.
So it got me thinking about this apple tart I made over the holiday. I developed this one too, for a side project I do for work, and I nailed it on the first try. Why?
- I knew what I was doing, with both the filling and the crust.
- I researched “best practices” for a recipe like this: what’s the best method for keeping this together? How best to settle those apples in? Egg wash or nah?
- I was in the mood. Honestly, if you’re going to actually create recipes and not just follow along in a cookbook, or if you’re going to attempt a recipe outside your normal skill level, you need to be in the mood or disaster will strike. Trust me.
So, if you’re ever feeling super bummed out about your kitchen fails, or you just want something that’s been thought out for you, make this tart. It’s an apple tart: I love these in the fall with ice cream and a little caramel sauce (haaaayyy), but it’s pretty great in the summer, too – I don’t like to discriminate. Just do what I do and you’ll have a pretty low-key impressive dessert on your hands for whenever the mood strikes.
If I stop typing words, I have to think through my fails today and figure out how to fix them and I.
Want to. *sighs* I’m always so mature about this. What do you do when something you work hard on fails? Someone tell me I’m not the only one who really has to resist the urge to tantrum out.
Rustic Apple Galette + Caramel Sauce (for all your ice cream needs)
Serves | 8 to 10 |
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting workspace
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, in 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp ice water
- 2 1/2 lbs baking apples (6 to 7), a mixture of Granny Smith and Braeburn or Fuji
- juice of 1 lemon, strained
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- fat pinch kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 to 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch kosher salt
- 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
| Preparation – Galette Dough | Add flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor; pulse to incorporate. Add cold butter cubes; pulse until butter has broken down and mixture looks like damp sand with pea-sized lumps. With motor running, stream in 1/3 cup ice water; slowly stream in remaining 2 Tbsp ice water until dough just begins to form. Dust workspace with flour; remove dough, pat gently into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
| Preparation – Apple Filling | Preheat oven to 400˚F. Peel and core apples; slice lengthwise into uniform 1/8-inch thick slices. Toss into a large bowl, add lemon juice, and toss gently to coat. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and 2 Tbsp melted butter; toss gently using a folding motion to coat, being careful not to break apple slices. Set aside.
Dust workspace and rolling pin generously with flour and roll out dough evenly to 13- to 14-inch circle, rotating as you work so dough doesn’t stick to work surface. Fold dough over rolling pin and lay in center of tart pan; unfold and press gently into pan and up sides, allowing excess dough to hang over sides. Starting at the edge, line the perimeter tightly with apple slices upright to form an accordion-like circle in the pan. Make two rows of apples in the center, filling in gaps as needed. Trim dough around perimeter to leave 1 1/2 inches around edge. Fold over onto apples, overlapping as needed, and press to secure; chill 15 minutes. Whisk together egg yolk and heavy cream in a small bowl; brush over crust and sprinkle with sugar. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter and brush over apples; bake for 20 minutes in center of oven. Reduce temperature to 350˚F and bake for 35 to 40 minutes longer, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling throughout. Transfer to wire rack to cool to room temperature; loosen sides as needed with thin knife, then hold sides and press bottom firmly up to release.
| Preparation – Caramel Sauce | While galette is baking, stir sugar and water together in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; brush sides with water to keep sugar from sticking. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking gently until sugar has dissolved; bring to a boil and allow to bubble undisturbed until liquid is a dark amber color, watching carefully to avoid burning. Remove heat and slowly stream in heavy cream while whisking; place back over heat and stir 2 to 3 minutes to combine. Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla, and salt until incorporated. Serve warm over Apple Galette.