I am good at a few things in the kitchen, but pie crust is not one of them. I can make the pastry dough, no problem, and I usually use the food processor to speed things along. Getting the thing inside the pan in one piece, especially for a deep dish pie, is quite another story. Yes, I have seen all the tricks, from folding it into quadrants and then unfolding it into the pan, to rolling it up around the rolling pin and transferring it that way. The problem is, by the time I finish monkeying around with patching cracks and moving it (especially if it sticks to my roll-out surface and it always does), I have usually either let it get too warm so that it loses its flakiness or I have overworked the dough to the point that it becomes tough rather than tender.
Thank goodness for this easy-peasy alternative— the galette!
At first glance, a galette might seem like a fancy-schmancy dessert. Not quite a tart, which usually has egg in the pastry dough and requires a special shallow, fluted pan. Also not quite a pie because it only has one piece of pastry, there’s no blind baking involved and it doesn’t require a pie pan at all. Just a cookie sheet or pizza pan, and almost everyone has one of those.
This rustic dessert has all the familiar comfort factor of a pie, but without the fuss. You roll the dough out directly onto parchment, then add your filling, fold up the edges and slide the whole thing right onto your baking sheet. I would not recommend trying a galette for a pie that requires any kind of loose, wet filling, but for uncooked apple slices and raw cranberries, the stars of this dessert, it was perfect.
My recipe is adapted from one that King Arthur Baking Company released just before Thanksgiving. Their version was called Apple Butter Apple Galette, and it did not include cranberries or the tiny flecks of fresh rosemary that I added to adorn the outside of the pastry. I swapped out cinnamon for cardamom because I love the flavor with apples, and I didn’t have apple butter on hand (nor the time to make my own), so I subbed in pre-made fig butter from Trader Joe’s. King Arthur’s recipe already calls for mostly whole wheat flour in the pastry, which makes the dessert feel even more rustic and fall-like.
The pastry dough itself is somewhat unusual as there is no water in the mix; rather, the typical cold butter-and-flour mixture is moistened with sour cream, of all things. That inclusion lent a tangy note that was a nice contrast to the slight sweetness of the apple-cranberry filling. The dough needs a good long rest in the fridge, so it’s best to make it the night before and then shape it up when you have the filling ready.
Shaping the dough goes about the same as any pie crust. It helps to use the end of a rolling pin to slightly beat the dough disk into a slightly flattened shape first, then roll it out onto parchment paper for final assembly of the galette.
The fig butter is spread out onto the rolled pastry, serving as a base for the apple filling. The apples, which I didn’t even bother to peel, were halved top to bottom, then sliced into half-rings for even appearance and easy arranging. A little lemon juice preserved the color and a good sprinkling with maple sugar and a bit of cardamom added warmth and sweetness. I tucked in the cranberries here and there, including up under a few edges of the folded-up pastry dough, and dotted it with butter, just as you would with an apple pie. A little egg wash and the sugar-rosemary embellishment, and off it went into the oven!
This was a terrific dessert that would work for any meal during the rest of the holiday season. The fig butter, apples and cranberries were a great combination. The sparkling sugar and rosemary made it festive enough to serve for a special meal, but it would be equally nice for a casual weeknight dinner.
Fig Butter Cranberry Apple Galette
Not quite a tart and not quite a pie, a galette is a quick and simple, rustic dessert, and this fig-apple-cranberry combo is just right for the holidays!
- 1 cup (113g) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, cold; cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 6 tablespoons (85g) sour cream
- 3 medium apples, peeled (or not) and sliced about 1/8″ thick
- juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar or maple sugar (see ingredient note below)
- 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup prepared fig butter
- 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries
- 1 tablespoon cold butter, cubed
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp. cold water (egg wash)
- coarse sparkling sugar
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- For the pastry dough, combine flours, sugar and salt in a bowl. Pinch cold butter cubes into the flour mix until the whole bowl is filled with crumbs ranging from pea-size to almond-size. Add cold sour cream and blend with a fork just until evenly blended. Shape the pastry dough into a composed disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Roll the edges along the counter to seal it for easier rolling later. Refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 F, with oven rack in center position. Prepare apples and squeeze lemon juice over them, tossing to help prevent browning. Sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and ground cardamom. Toss to distribute.
- Unwrap pastry dough and place it on a lightly floured countertop. Use the end of a rolling pin to gently “pound” the disk so that it flattens slightly. Transfer pastry to parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/8″ inch thickness, approximately 14″ across.
- Spread fig butter evenly over pastry dough, to about 1 inch from the edges of pastry dough. Arrange sugared apple slices in concentric circles over the fig butter, approximately 3 inches from the edges. Make radial cuts, about 3 inches apart, from the outer edge of the pastry dough toward the apple filling.
- Fold up cut edges of the galette, overlapping as needed to close up the pastry over the filling. Tuck fresh cranberries into layers of apple and under edges of the pastry. Place galette in freezer for 10 minutes to re-chill pastry dough.
- Arrange dots of cold butter over the sliced apples. Brush egg wash all over exposed pastry. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar and minced rosemary.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until pastry is deep golden brown all over and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.