Wednesday, 19 August 2015

apple frangipane galettes - for when you're feeling fancy!

It’s my friend J’s birthday today and I’m feeling a little sad since I can’t be in New York to help her celebrate, so instead I thought I’d dedicate this post to her. My friend J is the voice of reason. My go to person when I need a firm but reassuring piece of advice, or a reminder that there are many ways to view things/people/situations. I know I can count on her to listen and laugh at my bad jokes and there is no filter between us. And laughter? What’s friendship without laughter in abundance. Sometimes I even forget that she's all the way across the Atlantic as we talk all the time. Thank God for phones!

Strangely enough it feels as though I’ve known her forever, when in fact we became friends eight years ago whilst working for the same company and our friendship has become stronger with each year. We always try our best to support one another in times of emotional crisis and certainly with an added dose of humour and optimism. It may sound trite, but a true friend is one who will always be there when you are up and when you are down and who won’t worry about pulling you up on things even if it means a few annoying moments. You know it comes from a good place.

I FaceTimed her earlier to wish her happy birthday (whist guiltily enjoying a pastry) and we were discussing whether I would be able to parcel her some baked goods from London as I always describe everything I bake to her in excruciating detail. (Sorry J!) I told her that customs would probably end up opening up the package (if it’s even permissible to send) and eating the pastries before returning ‘crumbs to sender’. I’d receive crumbs and she would receive nothing. Maybe I’ll bake biscottis and see if I can send her some of those. I didn't eat them all though. I had lunch with a friend at another friends pop up and took each of them a galette, hastily wrapped up in paper and a red ribbon with half a bow – which I'm guessing didn't matter as they enjoyed the treat.

These free-form French tarts are inspired by the amazing David Lebovitz and would even suit the novice baker. You don’t require any fancy pans or techniques and if you’re not familiar with frangipane don’t despair. It’s super easy to put together. I don’t peel the apples which makes things simpler. I hate peeling stuff.  It’s a pet hate of mine, along with ironing. Carrots aren’t too bad - but fiddly apples with a peeler? No thanks! And forget even suggesting a knife.

Seriously, this recipe is simple in every way. And so delicious! Also it’s perfect for you lazy bakers out there as you can prepare the pastry dough and frangipane in advance the night before (like I did!) and just prepare the apple slices to assemble and bake the next day. Just refrigerate and take out about 30 minutes before use. The apple slices are barely sweet with a sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon – allowing the fruit to shine, and the pastry is flaky, buttery and tender.  These galettes hold together well with the addition of self raising flour to the plain flour, so you can even take them out and about and casually eat one at the bus stop (I swear I didn’t!) include in your picnics, or take to work for fancy elevenses. J

Ingredients (makes 6 galettes)
For the frangipane
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
50g granulated sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
1 small free range egg

For the pastry
120g plain flour
80g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter

Apple Filling
3 medium apples (preferably Braeburn), cored and sliced thinly
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top
1 tbs warm honey to brush on top after baking (optional)

Prepare pastry by gently crumbling butter and flour together in a mixing bowl with your fingertips until crumb like - or you can pulse in a food processor. 

Add 6-7 tbs of chilled water and with a knife bring the mixture together until it just holds. The mixture should be a little crumbly and not sticky. Form into a disc, cover in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile prepare the frangipane by whisking the egg with softened butter. Add the sugar, ground almonds and almond extract and blend everything together. Set aside. 

In a bowl mix apple slices, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 190c or 180c (fan) /gas mark 5 

Lightly knead chilled dough and divide into 6 portions. On a floured surface roll out pastry to about 5 inches in diameter and begin assembling galettes. 

Add 1 heaped tsp of frangipane to the centre of each disc of pastry and spread with the back of the spoon into a circle, leaving 1 inch from the sides.

Start by laying about 8-10 slices of apple on the frangipane in a row and 1-2 slices on either side of this row and carefully bring up the sides of the pastry and gently pinch to form a circle and press down to seal. 

Lay the galettes on a lined baking tray. Brush the sides of the pastry with milk or butter and sprinkle granulated sugar on top and bake 40-45 minutes or until golden. 

Brush with warm honey when still hot, if desired and serve!

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