Warm cinnamon and orange zest spiced apples in a golden flaky pastry served with creamy butterscotch ice cream. Sounds delicious but never would I have bet on it being my new favourite comfort-food-dessert. Chocolate cake.......would you step down please?
I've always looked at apple pie on dessert menus and wondered why anyone would even think of ordering it over chocolate cake. Well this is why. Tart apples that are just perfectly sweet without being overwhelming, a light dusting of cinnamon sugar and the citrusy zest of a lemon and an orange to round off all the flavors, and oh the crust - the crust mind you is the star here. Ever so butter-y without being greasy, soggy or leaden.
I'll let you in on a little secret here - I had a little accident with the crust. A HUGE one at that. Unsalted butter is the default in baking. It's the golden rule so whatever was I thinking when I was cutting salted butter into the flour? Maybe I was distracted with the delicious spice filled aromas that were wafting out of the apple filling that I'd already prepped(and eaten a fair bit as well). The best chefs out there always recommend adding a tiny pinch of salt in everything but I wasn't sure if they were going to approve of using this much of it. But this was an accident that was very welcome cause it made the best crust I've ever had and people were seconding me on it as well! But I leave it to you to decide whether you want to go the unsalted or salted route!
This dessert is ridiculously easy to make and it tastes so good with just a tiny little scoop of butterscotch ice cream. I was a little scared at first when I saw my husband closing his eyes after taking a tiny bite. Is it frightfully salty? No answer, just more smiling and closing of the eyes. Okay me do it....I grabbed the fork and that's when my eyes closed too. Then came the smiling. Next time around I'm going to make some butterscotch sauce to top the galette slices.....I know it sounds evil but it's not all butter and flour here. There is fruit in here people and it tastes divine as well.
If you've looked at granny smith apples here in Indian markets and weren't sure about what to do with them..... you've hit the jackpot. Henceforth my eyes will always be on the lookout for these fresh neon green apples that are quite tart but are wonderful when baked in pie. These apples are the best bet for baking as they are firmer( hence don't turn into apple sauce) and also sweeten and intensify in flavor when baked.
I googled my heart out looking for the best pie crust recipe and eventually settled down on using Martha Stewart's recipe as a base..... and then ended up mucking it up a bit - all for good. For the filling I've used Ina Garten's super good recipe. It's the best of two recipes. If you've never made pate brisee or pastry dough before be sure to take a look at Shaheen's wonderful tips on how you can get it right. And this is how you end up with something so good that you'll want it everyday.
For the pie crust
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Perfect Pate Brisee recipe
1 1/2 cup flour, chilled
1/2 tsp salt ( leave this out if you're using salted butter)
1 tsp of sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, very very cold and cubed into small pieces
1/4 cup of ice water (really really cold)
For the filling
Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe for Deep dish apple pie
3 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 lemon(I used lime), zested
1/2 orange, zested
1/4 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsps sugar
1 1/2 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg, grated
a pinch of salt
For the pie crust
Ensure that all the ingredients are cold, stick them in the fridge if you have to.
In a wide bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter and using the tips of your fingers gently but swiftly rub the butter into the flour,until the mixture resembles coarse meal or you have pea sized crumbles.
Add ice water in a slow, steady stream until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to overwork the dough. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Shape the dough into a ball,flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
For the filling
Gently toss all the ingredients listed under filling, ensuring that the spices and sugar are evenly distributed; take care not to break the slices.
To assemble the galette
Preheat the oven at 160 C for at least 15 mins before baking.
Roll the dough out into 1/8 inch thick circle. Pile the filling onto the circle and gather the edges , fold and press them together in an attractive manner. Brush the crust with beaten egg or milk to help the pie bake to a golden color ( this step is optional). Sprinkle some sugar on the pie for a crisp crust. Bake in a 160 C oven until golden brown all over, about 30 - 40 mins. Remove and cool for 5 mins before cutting or serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.