The addition of almond paste elevates this rustic apple galette and best of all, you can mix the dough by hand. It doesn’t get easier than this.
When outfitting our kitchen in Idaho I tried to be mindful about bringing in only the appliances/tools that would get the most use (I’m determined to have a clutter-free kitchen). A Vitamix is essential for morning smoothies and I was able to select a model that came with a food processor attachment so it meant requiring only one heavy base for two appliances. My bread baking tools are a given so an enameled dutch oven, scale and proofing baskets were at the top of my kitchen list during the initial move-in. I ultimately opted out of a toaster oven even though I’d coveted one for years after a gentle reminder to myself that not having one for last 20 years meant that I could probably live without one for the next 20.
To have or not to have a stand mixer has been the harder decision to make. My 20 year old Kitchenaid here in the Bay Area now lives under the counter, its heyday coinciding with my obsession with French macarons some years ago. These days a hand mixer is sufficient for most jobs and it hardly gets much use anymore either.
But I love to make fresh pasta and my pasta maker attachment requires the mixer base. This is the dilemma and admittedly not one I’m losing sleep over but I might just solve the problem by buying an old school, hand crank pasta machine.
Making Tart Dough by Hand
At least this galette will never call for special equipment–not even a pastry cutter–which must be why it’s been on repeat for a year. I mix the dough by hand in a bowl, first tossing the dry ingredients together then pinching the butter between my fingers to form large slivers then adding just enough ice water to bind the flour and fat together. There’s no need to turn the dough out on the counter; I press it into a ball right in the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap and it’s off to the refrigerator to be chilled. It’s quick, easy work but one I’ve found to be therapeutic…and mess-free. This is much better than previously having to carry my heavy food processor from the pantry to the counter and spending minutes cleaning several pieces for a few seconds of pulsing the ingredients.
Besides being easy, this galette has the added feature of being positively delightful. There’s no shortage of apple desserts in this blog but this particular one was loosely inspired by David Lebovitz’s popular Apple Frangipane Galette prepared by my friend Georganne last year, our last hurrah together right before Covid.
Apple Galette with an Almond Layer
My galette uses the same apple-almond combination (which I love) but instead of preparing frangipane I dotted the rolled-out dough with slivers of store-bought almond paste before layering the apples. Frangipane isn’t hard to make (my recipe for Strawberry-Frangipane Tart here) but all the nurturing time I’m willing to devote to baking projects lately seems to have gone towards bread making.
I’ll never say no to a classic apple galette but the little hint of almond in each bite has been a welcome addition. The simplified approach doesn’t hurt either. Even with only a partially-outfitted kitchen in Idaho last summer, before the appliance orders started to come in, I could easily make this galette since all it required were the most basic kitchen tools. It’s a good thing, too, since I seem to be no closer to making a decision about that stand mixer.
The addition of almond paste elevates this rustic apple galette and best of all, you can mix the dough by hand. It doesn't get easier than this.
For the Galette Dough
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 200-205 grams)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (about 30 grams)
- 5 ounces cold, salted or unsalted butter (about 145 grams), cubed in roughly 1/2 inch pieces
- pinch kosher salt
- 5-9 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
- 4 medium apples (I used Fuji here), peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 – 2 ounces almond paste (roughly 1 1/2 inch log if using Odense brand)
- dash or two ground cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten for brushing dough
Prepare the dough: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cubed butter and toss lightly with your fingers until the butter cubes have been coated in flour. Using both hands, pinch the butter with your thumb and forefinger until you have nickel or quarter-sized slivers. Some of the butter pieces will be smaller and this is okay.
Add three to four tablespoons of ice water to the butter/flour mixture and use an underhand scooping motion (like tossing a salad with two serving forks) to incorporate the water into the flour. You want to add enough ice water to bind the dough but not too much. Add more water one tablespoon at a time, incorporating the water and pressing the dough into a ball to see how well it binds. The goal is to incorporate enough water to eliminate most of the dry spots in the dough. Be careful not to add to much so the dough becomes too wet and sticky. I used nine tablespoons of ice water for this dough (but depending on the flour, you might need only six or seven). As you add water, press the dough into a ball while it's in the bowl and as soon as it comes together without crumbling and falling apart in places, it's done. (Alternatively, you can turn the dough out on a floured surface to form it into a ball.) Take a large piece of plastic wrap and press it into the dough and lift it from the bowl. Wrap the dough completely in the plastic wrap and form it into a disk. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
Prepare the filling: When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Toss the apple slices in a large bowl with the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Assemble the galette: Take the chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a floured surface to roughly a 13-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pinch small slivers of the almond paste and scatter them on the surface of the dough. Scatter them in a circle but leave a two inch border clear since you'll be folding this over the apples. Arrange the apple slices over the almond paste slivers and fold the outer edge of the dough onto the apples. Brush the dough with the egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden and flaky. This galette is wonderful warm or at room temperature and will keep for a few days.