This simple tart, loaded with rich apple flavor, is encased in a crisp, buttery crust. An Apple Galette in Phyllo Dough is an elegant dessert that's sure to impress!
On apples and pies…
I recently went apple picking in New Hampshire, and picked up a couple of pounds of McIntosh apples (great for baking and eating). It’s an activity that still delights my Southern-Californian-heart as something so unique to New England in the Fall. (Not another Fall-in-New-England rhapsody, please!) Don’t worry…I only bring it up to show why I decided to make yet another apple dish…apple galette, a quintessential Autumn baking treat. What’s a galette? Glad you asked!
Longtime readers know how much I like pie, in all its variations…in a crust, as a bar, or just as a slab (yeah, we get the picture). One way I haven’t talked about pie is as a galette, aka a freeform pie. Basically, take a pie crust and don’t do any work putting it in a pie pan, crimping the edges, etc…just lay it on the counter, fill it, then fold over the edges to keep the filling in. The resulting pie looks rustic and tastes fantastic.
You need a fairly solid filling when making a galette, so save those custard-y type fillings like pumpkin or pecan for the regular type of pie (that is, unless you like having filling running all over the bottom of your oven. I won’t judge.) For this apple galette, homemade applesauce is used as a base on which to place sliced apples, and the whole tart is brushed with melted apple cider jam to give it a pretty sheen. Oh, and that homemade applesauce? It’s made with boiled apple cider, that concentrated concoction of intense apple flavor, to really ramp up the apple goodness.
Paper thin dough leads to crispy goodness
Similar to tarts, galettes are usually made with pie crust, but can another type of crust be used? I didn’t feel like making pie crust, and had a box of phyllo dough in the freezer…could I use that? Well, you might have already guessed the answer (or seen the header picture), so…uhm…yes.
Working with phyllo dough is just a matter of taking a very thin sheet of dough, gently brushing it with ghee (aka clarified butter), melted butter, or in a pinch, a neutral oil, then stacking another layer on top, brushing that with ghee, etc, until you’ve built up a good base for your filling (that’s how baklava is made, by the way). All those layers separated by the brushed-on butter produce a delicately crispy crust that’s perfect for any number of fillings, either sweet or savory.
There are a couple of caveats about working with phyllo dough…first, the sheets tear easily, so make sure you fully defrost them in the refrigerator and lay them out gently. Also, said sheets also dry out quickly, so after you lay them out, cover them with plastic wrap and a clean, damp kitchen towel. Pull back the covering just to take a sheet to work with, then return the covering onto the rest of the stack. Don't worry too much if the sheet tears a little as you brush on the ghee...all those layers will make sure everything works.
Another Franken-recipe is born
I was inspired to make my Apple Galette in Phyllo Dough from two different sources, Epicurious’ Apple and Calvados Tart and The Messy Baker ‘s Mixed Berry Phyllo Galette. Originally I had wanted to use Calvados (an apple brandy) to flavor the applesauce (anyone for a boozy tart? I thought so), but I didn’t have any, didn’t want to buy any, and had the boiled apple cider on hand. The resulting applesauce was so incredibly yummy, sometimes things just work out. 'Nuff said.
Apples on and on…in flaky layers
This Apple Galette in Phyllo Dough was auh-mazing! Deeply apple flavored thanks to the boiled apple cider in the applesauce (and those freshly picked apples) and flaky and crispy from the phyllo dough. I really liked how the crust’s flakiness didn’t compete with the apple filling as a regular pie crust might have. I brought this tart to a celebratory Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) dinner to rave reviews (remember the Apples & Honey Babka? Another Rosh Hashanah treat as those are the symbolic foods of the holiday).
So there you have it, fall baking in a rustic, yet elegant, full-flavored apple galette. Give it a try and let me know how it goes by tagging me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or just drop me a comment below…I love to see your creations. In the meantime, I’ll be watching the leaves turn color…after all, it’s Fall in New England!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Apple Galette in Phyllo Dough
- potato masher
- pastry brush
- pizza cutter
For the crust
- 8 phyllo sheets, defrosted
For the applesauce
- 1 lb apples (16 oz, 454g), about 3 medium apples
- 1/2 cup water (4 oz, 113g)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3-1/2 oz, 100g)
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated (1 lemon)
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp boiled apple cider
For the apple slices
- 1 lb apples (16 oz, 454g), about 3 medium apples
- 2 tsp lemon juice, from 1 lemon (save the rest of the juice for another use)
- 1/3 cup sugar (2 oz, 60g)
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter (1-1/2 oz, 45g), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For assembly and finish
- 1/2 cup ghee (4 oz, 113g)
- turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- 1-1/2 Tbsp apple jelly, for brushing
- Make the applesauce: Peel and core the first 1 lb of apples, then cut them into 1-inch pieces. I like to use a melon baller to remove the core (mine is from Pampered Chef), and a serrated peeler for peeling the apples. Zest a lemon with a microplane grater, then juice it and set the juice aside for later.
- Bring the apples, water, 1/2 cup sugar, zest, cinnamon, and boiled apple cider to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes more. Mash the apples with a potato masher or a fork to a coarse sauce (if you need to...mine kind of fell apart on its own), then set aside to cool while you prepare the sliced apples.
- Prepare the apple slices: Peel and core the other 1 lb of apples, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Toss the slices with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
- Assembly: Unfold the phyllo dough, then quickly cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and a lightly dampened clean kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Place one sheet of phyllo lengthwise on the prepared baking pan and brush with the ghee. Place a second sheet of phyllo on top crosswise, then brush that sheet lightly with the ghee. Repeat until all 8 sheets are used.
- Spread the cooled applesauce in center of the phyllo stack, leaving a 2-inch border, then top sauce with the sliced apples in a nice pattern, mounding slightly. Dot with the butter.
- Turn the corners of the phyllo over to form an octagon. Press flat. Fold the pastry edge over the filling to form a rim, pleating the dough as necessary. Brush the top of the pastry rim with a last bit of ghee, then sprinkle the crust and filling with sugar.
- Bake the galette in middle of oven until the pastry is golden and the apples are tender, about 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Melt the apple jelly in the microwave on HIGH for 20-30 seconds, then gently brush on the galette (you don’t want to break the phyllo crust). Allow the galette to cool on the Silpat until room temperature.
- Once cooled, cut with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife. Enjoy!