Monday, October 17, 2011

Jacques Pepin's apple gallette: Absolutely brilliant

My husband and I have long been fans of super-chef Jacques Pepin.
   Several years ago, we bought a copy of his Simple and Healthy Cooking book, and instantly dug his reliable recipes, which yield delicious results.
   The October 2011 issue of Food & Wine magazine includes some of the recipes from his latest book, Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food.
   I was instantly drawn to the recipe for Country Apple Gallette (click for the recipe). Rux Martin, the writer of the article on Pepin’s new book and the editor of the book itself, said the gallette recipe has officially replaced her apple pie recipe.
   As a person who struggles with pie pastry, I liked Martin’s description of the pastry dough as “foolproof.”
   I set out last weekend to make the gallette. On Friday night, I made the pastry dough, which came together quickly and easily in a food processor, and left it to chill overnight in the refrigerator (although it can be used right away.)
   Saturday morning, I cut the apples for the gallette and rolled out the pastry in a rectangle (it was more like an oval, actually). I followed the easy instructions of layering apples, honey, cinnamon, sugar and butter on the pastry, then pulling up the edge over the apples to create a border.
   After baking the gallette for one hour as the recipe directed, I took it out of the oven.
   It looked as if disaster had struck.
   While the fruit looked fine, the pastry looked too brown on one side and a little burned on the bottom. On the other side, the pastry seam had opened, allowing honey to leak out onto the baking sheet and burn ferociously.
   I left the gallette to cool on the counter and went out for lunch, telling myself that I can’t win ‘em all.
   But when we got home in the afternoon, we were in for a mighty pleasant surprise.
   I cut up the gallette into pieces, and we gave it a try.
   It was delicious, and the pastry had a perfect flaky texture.
   Jacques hadn’t let me down!
   However, that's not to say I won't watch the gallette more closely the next time I make it and likely take it out before the hour is up.
.   The introduction to the recipe says Jacques especially likes the gallette because it’s easy to slice and can be eaten pizza-style, making it ideal for a buffet.
   It was absolutely true – we picked up the pieces with our hands and ate them, savouring the sweet apple taste. Nothing drooped or fell to the ground.
   What piece of apple pie can do that?

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