Here is a rustic little apple dish for a nice occasion, the recipe for which Carla Parsons in Harrington gave me. Carla makes pastry like this the way other people make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Carla and her mom, my friend Diane Ferris, used to run a bakery in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. So, where having to make pastry slows me right down, Carla and Diane whip it right out with alacrity. Of course, I have a friend who whips his piecrusts out with alacrity from the Pillsbury frozen pie crust package, and it is in the category of Not Bad.
This pastry is so delicious though that it is worth the from-scratch trouble. Assembling the galette once the pastry is chilled is pretty easy, and with apples fresh and ready right now to eat out of hand or use in recipes, this is a timely dessert.
This time of year, I scavenge most of my apples under favorite trees in various island haunts before the doggone deer get them. There are so many apples that I collect enough in three minutes for two or three pies or crisps. For a recipe like this one, coring and slicing is about all that is required unless you prefer peeled apples, or unless the skins are really rough and bruise spots have to be cut out.
A friend who tried a piece suggested that I gild the lily with a sprinkle of sugar over the pastry. In fact, one could brush it with cream or milk or beaten egg in order to make the sugar stick more firmly.
Yields 8 servings
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks cold butter minus 1 tablespoon
2/3 cups ice water
Whisk the dry ingredients together and cut in the butter until it is in small pieces. Toss the flour and butter mixture with the cold water added gradually until a dough forms, and then stop adding water even if you have not used the full 2/3 cup. Pat it into a disc and chill it at least an hour.
5-6 apples sliced
¼ to 1/3 cup light brown sugar, according to the apples’ sweetness
2 tablespoons instant tapioca or flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Grating of nutmeg (optional)
Toss all these together in a bowl.
Assemble the tart. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough out until it is 3/8 of an inch thick. Place on a baking sheet. Pile the apples in the center, and draw up the edges of the crust to hold the apples in place but do not cover them entirely. If you wish, brush a beaten egg glaze on the pastry and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for one hour.