Afraid of making a pie crust? Try a Galette it's easy-peasy or easy as pie.
Many people just can't get the hang of making a pie crust. That includes me! And, life is much too short to get all bummed out about not being able to make a perfectly beautiful pie crust. I've tried and tried, with cold water vs ice water, frozen butter vs soft butter, hand mixed vs cutting the butter with pastry cutter, electric mixer vs food processor, lard vs butter, eggs vs no eggs, and the list goes on. I have even purchased those metal pie beads for making a blind pie crust. But, my pie crust never quite turns out like my Gram's pie crust or even my Mother's. As I said before, "A galette is easy-peasy, and easy-peasy actually means 'easy as pie.'"
It's interesting that their pie crusts were always consistently the same, but Gram's was a sweeter, flakier crust while Mom's had less flavor to it but still very very good. (When I was much younger, I could always pick out my Gram's delicious double crust pie at a family reunion or at a late summer harvest threshing bee because of her cute little curlicue signature steam vents she would make on the top crust. It may sound cynical, but I always hated to waste my time on somebody else's pie when I loved Gram's the best, anyway.) Even my oldest brother makes a wicked good pie crust. And, I don't think any of those three ever used a recipe. They seem to do it by the "feel" of the dough. I can make bread and pizza crust by the "feel" of the dough, but NOT pie crust. So, I'm resigned to take a big shortcut to get a home (not homemade) baked pie crust.
So, how do I address the inability to make a perfect pie crust? No, I'm not ashamed - I use a store bought pie crust from the refrigerator section. I buy a box of two and keep it in the freezer until I have a desire for a nice pie, whether it be a blueberry, apple, strawberry, lemon or my favorite - a one crust Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Chip Pie. Yum! I'm very happy with any of those on a premade pie crust.
So, what's a galette? Technically it's just a flat and round pastry dough. There are many varieties and different flours can be used, depending on the cuisine. I use a store bought pie crust and call it a galette since I fold the edges up around the filling, leaving about a 1" overlap all the way around the fruit. This version of the apple galette gives you a quicker, easier way to have your apple pie and eat it too.
The fun about a galette is that you can actually make a couple small individual pies from one pie crust. Just cut the crust in half and roll them out into two round crusts. Don't forget to roll them large enough so you have about one inch to make your fold around the entire outer edge. Each crust could make one or two servings or maybe even three.
So, here's what my Apple Galette takes to be made. I've incorporated some of the ingredients my relatives have used. And, there are many spices and ingredients you could substitute.
- One store bought pie crust, or one homemade crust
- Follow the directions on the box with the store bought pie crust. Bring it to room temperature before you take it out of the wrapper or roll it out. Depending on whether the crust is frozen or has thawed in the refrigerator, it could take about an hour for it to come to room temperature. Roll it out on the counter with some flour to keep it from sticking to the counter and the rolling pin (be sure to splash some flour on the rolling pin, too) so it's about 11-12" in diameter. You will eventually fold it up about 1" around the entire edge to create a barrier to keep the apples from spilling out while it bakes.
- Place the rolled out dough on a larger piece of aluminum foil with the edges rolled up a little to block any juices that may spill out. Even though you have the 1" pie crust barrier around the apple mixture, it may still spill out some of the juices.
- Place the crust and aluminum foil on a larger pan. I actually use a round pizza pan that's about 15" in diameter.
3-4 Apples, medium, sliced or diced
2-3 T Sugar, depending on how tart the apples are, or how sweet you like your pie
1/4-1/2 t Cinnamon depending on how strong you like your cinnamon
1/4 t Nutmeg (optional)
1/4 t Allspice (optional)
Tiny pinch of Salt
1 T Butter, cut in small dabs
1/4 C Pecans, rough chopped and toasted (optional)
- Toasted pecans add another dimension of nutty flavor to an apple pie. Spread them out on a baking/cookie sheet. And, toast them in the oven at 300F degrees for about 5 - 10 minutes, stirring them or shaking the pan periodically so they toast evenly and so you do not burn them. It's a good idea to keep a close watch on them because they can burn quickly once they get warmed up. If you would rather toast them on the stove - that's my preferred method - heat them in a fry pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally, and keep a close eye on them. Rough chop them before you put them on or in the pie.
- Core your apples, and peel them if you like. I actually like the peeling left on since there are so many vitamins in the peeling. Dice or thinly slice your apples. You might like to layer the slices in a circle so they bake evenly. It's your galette, so you choose.
- Toss all the spices and sugars (not the butter) together with the apples in a bowl and stir to combine all. The apples will react with the sugar to create some nice juices for your pie.
- Place the apple mixture in the middle of your unbaked pie crust. (If you feel there's too much filling and it may overflow, don't hesitate to bake the extra filling in a small buttered ramekin type container, or any other oven safe bowl. You can always eat it with ice cream, or eat it for breakfast on top of cooked oatmeal or eat it with your breakfast cereal.)
- Spread the dabs of butter around the top of the apple mixture.
- Bake your apple galette at 400F degrees for up to an hour, or according to the directions on the box from the store bought pie crust for baking a one crust pie. I normally bake it for about 35 minutes, check it through the window on my oven without opening the door to see if the folded 1" crust portion is getting too brown. If I think the apples look like they are getting soft, take the galette out of the oven and test their doneness with a form. If it is getting too brown around the edges, it's time to take it out of the oven (do it carefully so juices don't overflow) and fold the excess aluminum foil up around that visible 1" crust. That's why I like the aluminum foil to be a good deal larger than the pie crust, so I can fold it up over top of the crust if I need to. Do pat it down on the crust. If it's not getting too brown, just leave it in the oven and check it in another 5-10 minutes.
- Let the galette cool before serving so the juices get a chance to thicken a little as it cools.
- Serve with apple flavored ice cream or top it with homemade or store bought whipped cream.
- Some people even drizzle it with caramel sauce normally used for putting on ice cream. Enjoy!