This simple rustic apple tart is loaded with rich apple flavor and is encased in a crisp, buttery phyllo dough shell. An apple galette is an elegant phyllo dough dessert that's sure to impress!
Why this recipe works
- Homemade applesauce made with boiled apple cider brings the apple flavor to new heights
- Crisp, buttery phyllo dough is a nice alternative to pie crust
- Galettes are freeform, so there's no crimping needed
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. This time I'm making an apple galette tart, a quintessential Autumn baking treat.
What’s a galette? Glad you asked!
A galette is a rustic pie tart
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 tart, aka a freeform pie. Basically, take a pie crust and don’t do any work putting it in a pie pan. Instead you place the crust directly on a baking pan, fill it, then fold over the edges to keep the filling in.
The resulting tart looks rustic and tastes fantastic.
What you need
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 recipe the filling will be homemade applesauce topped with sliced apples. And instead of a regular pie crust, I'm making this recipe with phyllo dough (aka filo dough), that paper thin dough used for making baklava.
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. Plus, the whole apple tart can be brushed with melted apple cider jam to give it a pretty sheen.
How to make an apple galette
Step 1: Peel the apples
Homemade applesauce forms the base on which to place sliced apples.
Start by peeling and coring the apples, then chopping them into chunks (photo 1). I use a melon baller to take out the core and a serrated peeler to peel the apples.
Step 2: Make the applesauce
Bring the apples, water, sugar, boiled apple cider, zest, and cinnamon to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until most of the 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 it aside to cool. The applesauce can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.
Step 3: Prepare the shell
Working with phyllo dough is just a matter of taking a very thin sheet of dough, placing it on a half sheet baking pan lined with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper, and gently brushing it with melted butter or ghee using a pastry brush. Stack another layer on top and repeat until you’ve built up a good base for your filling (photo 3). Here I'm placing the layers perpendicular to the previous sheet to get an approximately round shape.
Step 4: Place the filling on the phyllo dough
Spread the cooled applesauce in the center of the phyllo stack, leaving a 2-inch border, then top sauce with the sliced apples in a nice pattern, mounding slightly. Dot the apples with butter (photo 4).
Step 5: Fold over the phyllo dough & bake
Turn the corners of the phyllo over to form an octagon and press them 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 at 400°F for about 20 to 22 minutes or until the phyllo pastry is golden and the apples are tender (photo 5).
After the galette has come out of the oven, you can brush the edges of the shell with melted apple jelly to give it a nice sheen. Cut it into wedges with a pizza cutter.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions you might have...
Any good baking apple you like will work well, since they will remain firm and tart after baking. McIntosh, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady apples are just some apples that are readily available. Any apples you can pick fresh from the orchard are wonderful!
The baked tart can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days (refrigerated for up to 5 days). Reheat at 375°F for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp up the phyllo.
If you are making the tart for a special occasion in the more distant future, assemble the tart ahead and store it, unbaked and wrapped, in the refrigerator. Bake it before serving. You can also freeze it unbaked. Bake it from frozen, adding about 10 minutes baking time.
Generally, yes. You can also use puff pastry or phyllo dough as I have done with this recipe.
While both give a similar presentation when baked, phyllo dough and puff pastry are quite different. Phyllo is made up of very thin individual sheets of dough that are brushed with butter and stacked, one at a time. There isn't any fat in the dough itself, so phyllo can dry out quickly.
Puff pastry is made by sealing butter into a pastry dough, then folding the dough and rolling it out several times so that there are distinct layers of dough and butter. Because there's butter in dough and in the layering, puff pastry is rich and airy.
Pro Tip: Working with phyllo dough
There are a couple of caveats about working with phyllo dough. 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.
If you don't want to mess with phyllo dough, you can always make an apple galette with puff pastry instead.
Apples on and on, in flaky layers
This Phyllo Dough Apple Galette Tart 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, just like the Apples and Honey Babka.
Try your hand at this rustic apple tart recipe. You'll be rewarded with a wonderful way to celebrate Fall!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Pies, tarts, and cobblers can be sweet or savory, and there are so many fillings from which to choose. From fruits to nuts and custards, there's bound to be a pie, tart, or cobbler recipe that catches your fancy! Here are a few choices to try.
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Apple Galette Tart in Phyllo Dough
- potato masher
For the shell
- 8 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted
For the applesauce
- 1 pound apples, about 3 medium apples, see Recipe Notes
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons boiled apple cider
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated, from 1 lemon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the apple slices
- 1 pound apples, about 3 medium apples, see recipe Notes
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
For assembly and finish
- ½ cup ghee (clarified butter), or melted butter, see Recipe Notes
- coarse sugar, for sprinkling
- 1½ tablespoons apple jelly, for brushing, optional
- Make the applesauce: Peel and core the first 1 pound of apples, then cut them into 1-inch pieces. I like to use a melon baller to remove the core 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, ½ cup sugar, boiled apple cider, zest, and cinnamon 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. The applesauce can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.
- Assemble the galette: Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Line a half sheet baking pan with Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Peel and core the other 1 pound of apples, then cut into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Toss the slices with the lemon juice and ⅓ cup granulated sugar.
- 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 and press them 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 phyllo pastry is golden and the apples are tender, about 20 to 22 minutes. Remove from oven.
- If desired, melt the apple jelly in the microwave on HIGH for 20 to 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!
- The baked tart can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days (refrigerated for up to 5 days). Reheat at 375 °F for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp up the phyllo.
- If you are making the tart for a special occasion in the more distant future, assemble the tart ahead and store it, unbaked and wrapped, in the refrigerator. Bake it before serving. You can also freeze it unbaked. Bake it from frozen, adding about 10 minutes baking time.