Published September 1, 2007.
Getting a flaky crust and caramelized apples can make this simple French tart not so simple. We wanted both—every time.
It's challenging to make a crust strong enough to hold a substantial layer of apples and still be eaten out of hand—most recipes create a crust that is tough, crackerlike, and bland.
Our ideal galette has the buttery flakiness of a croissant but is strong enough to support a generous layer of caramelized apples.
Choosing the right flour put us on the right track. All-purpose flour contains too much gluten for this dough; it made the pastry tough. Lower-protein pastry flour created a flaky, tender, and sturdy pastry. As pastry flour is hard to find, we created a practical alternative by mixing regular all-purpose flour with instant flour. Technique also proved to be important. We used the French fraisage method of blending butter into dough. To begin, butter is only partially cut into the dry ingredients. Then, with the heel of the hand, the cook presses the barely mixed dough firmly against the counter. As a result, the chunks of butter are pressed into long, thin sheets that create lots of flaky layers when the dough is baked. The apple topping was simple. We found that any thinly sliced apple would work, although we slightly preferred Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Empire.list of recipes