Posts Tagged ‘Epiphany Recipes’

Rustic Apple Tart

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Last night my family celebrated Epiphany a little early with a simple but hearty supper of soup, bread, and apple tart, followed by a vigorous game of Clue.
I’ve written before about my love of Epiphany. The quiet final day of Christmas, it celebrates light, hope, and winter magic.
You could make much fancier desserts than this one for Epiphany. Last year I shared TWO recipes for Galette des Rois, one for chefs and one for klutzes—and the previous year I posted a gaudy Mardi Gras version of King Cake.
This scaled down version of a galette is delicious and ever so easy. A rustic tart, in case you hadn’t guessed, is one that looks really, really homemade—my personal specialty. This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman, the king of simple and sweet.
If you want the recipe for the soup we served with the tart, please consider buying my book about my mother, Pulling Taffy. Happy Epiphany!
Tarte aux Pommes Rustique
1-1/4 cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar, plus 2 tablespoons later
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold sweet butter, plus a bit for dotting later
1 egg yolk
ice water as needed
3 apples, cut into rough slices
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons peach jam (optional)
In a cold bowl combine the flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Carefully cut in the butter, making sure not to mix it in too finely.
Whisk together the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of the water. Use a fork to stir them into the butter mixture. Add a little more cold water as needed to make the dough capable of forming into a ball (but barely).
Wrap the ball of dough in wax paper and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.
At the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter (the rougher looking the better; remember; we’re being “rustique” here) on a nonstick cookie pan with edges that come up at the sides (so nothing can spill into your oven).
Toss the apple pieces into the cinnamon and remaining sugar. Arrange the tossed apple pieces on your crust. If desired, heat the jam and drizzle it over the apples Dot with butter.
Bake until the crust browns nicely (it’s best a little crispy), about 20 to 30 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Farewell, little tree!


Galette des Rois à la Nouvelle Angleterre

Saturday, January 9th, 2010


In my last post I shared Chef Marty Yaffee’s delicious recipe for Three Kings Cake (Galette des Rois), along with photos of Marty at work on his creation.
The French eat the Galette des Rois not just on Three Kings Day (Epiphany) but throughout the month of January. So naturally I was determined to make the Galette myself this month!
I was also determined not to ingest all of its calories myself. My mother and I invited friends and neighbors to dinner so that all could partake. Because I am naturally indolent the guests helped construct the Galette as well.
My Galette differed from Marty’s in a couple of ways. First, I just don’t have a light hand with pastry. (Here’s a photo of my not very graceful first puff-pastry fold.)
I used Marty’s Blitz puff-pastry recipe so my pastry rose less than his classic puff pastry; it resembled an extra puffy butter pie crust. Someday I’ll try the real thing, but this time around I was comfortable making the simpler crust—and for me cooking is all about comfort!
I also didn’t have enough almonds on hand to make the classic almond cream filling. So I made what I like to call a Galette des Rois à la Nouvelle Angleterre (New England Three Kings Cake) by using local apples in my filling.
It was DELICIOUS. It felt and tasted like a warm, cream-filled apple turnover. My gala apples from Apex Orchards held their shape and texture in the oven and gave the Galette a warm crunch that contrasted nicely with the goopy cream and the melt-in-your-mouth pastry.
As we munched around the table we discussed the meaning of the word “Galette.” According to Merriam-Webster it is a flat, round French cake, usually combining pastry and fruit. It comes from an old French word, “galet,” which signified “rounded pebble.”
My guests also decided that a Galette might be a cake made by a petite gal (like me).
Now this little gal will walk you through the process of making it.
Galette des Rois à la Tinky
Nothing in this recipe is difficult, but you do need to allow most of a day to make it. The labor won’t take all day (I happily wrote and did other chores in between brief spurts of Galette), but there are lots of resting times involved.
I started the pastry, then made the pastry cream and chilled it. I actually rolled out the crusts a couple of hours in advance (I’m a messy roller) and chilled them in their shapes, but you may roll them at the last minute as well.
We cut and sugared the apples just before putting them into the Galette so we wouldn’t have to worry about discoloration.
for Marty’s Blitz Puff Pastry:
1-3/4 cups flour
2-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water (maybe a tiny bit more)
for the Pastry Cream:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 pinch salt
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
for the Apples:
2 firm medium apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
for Assembly and Presentation:
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
1 nut for the prize (whoever finds it in the pastry is king or queen for the day!)
a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar for final dazzle
First begin the puff pastry. Put the flour in a medium bowl, and make a well in the center.
Place the cubes of butter in the well, and sprinkle the salt over everything.
Using knives or a pastry blender work the butter cubes into the flour until the mixture starts to look grainy but still shows small flakes of butter. Add the water, a little at a time, until the dough just comes together.
On a lightly floured board roll the dough into an 8-inch square. Fold it over itself in thirds (as though you were folding a letter to go into an envelope). Turn the dough 90 degrees (so that the horizontal part of the dough becomes vertical) and roll it out again. Fold the dough into thirds again and refrigerate it, wrapped in waxed paper, for at least 30 minutes.
Repeat this process twice more. (The dough will become easier to roll as you go along!) After the third double folding, cut the dough into 2 pieces so that it will be easier to roll out into top and bottom crusts. Refrigerate those pieces for 30 minutes more.
Somewhere in the middle of those steps make the pastry cream (I used Fannie Farmer‘s basic formula for this, but you may use any pastry cream of your choice; you’ll need about a cup and a half.)
For the pastry cream heat the milk in a heavy saucepan until it is very hot (don’t let it come to the boil, however). Remove from heat.
In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk them into the hot milk and blend completely.
Put the pan back on the stove over low heat and cook, whisking, until the sauce is thick and smooth (somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat again.
Whisk a little bit of the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Whisk in a little more, then a little more. You want to get the yolks used to the heat of the milk without curdling them.
When the egg yolk mixture has been well heated by adding bits of the sauce, stir the egg yolk mixture into the other ingredients in the saucepan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over low heat, whisking.
Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool to room temperature, whisking from time to time (this took about 1/2 hour in my kitchen). Stir in the vanilla, and put the sauce in a bowl.
Cover the sauce with plastic wrap (making sure it adheres to the top of the sauce to keep the sauce from forming a film) and chill it until you’re ready to assemble your Galette.
When you are almost ready to bake the Galette, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Look around in your kitchen for two round objects (plates or bowls or one of each!) that are between 8 and 10 inches in diameter. One should be about an inch wider than the other.
Roll out one of the pastry halves so that it is a little larger than the smaller object. Place the object on top of the rolled pastry and cut around its outline so that you have a round of pastry that is as wide as object.
Repeat with the other pastry half. (You’ll have a little extra pastry at the end, which you may bake with cheese for cheese straws if you like.)
Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat and place the smaller pastry round on it.
Quickly core and slice the apples. (You won’t need to peel them.) In a bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the apples, and toss the apple slices into the mixture.
Return to the first pastry round. Using a spoon or brush dab a little egg wash on the outer edge of the round; it should go in about 3/4 inch from the edge.
Spoon about half of the pastry cream inside the egg wash; that is, don’t go to the edges of the pastry. Place the apple slices on top of the cream. Place the nut somewhere on the apple slices. Top with the remaining pastry cream.
loading applesweb
Take the other half of the pastry and lay it on top of the fruit and cream. Use a fork to press the two layers of dough together; then score the top surface of the crust with a sunray design.
My sunrays were plain old rays instead of Marty’s artistic swirls, and I actually did them BEFORE I put the top crust onto the Galette in order to avoid making more of a mess.
Dab a little more egg wash on the top.
Place the Galette in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the Galette springs back a little when you touch it and looks done.
Remove the Galette from the oven and increase the oven heat to 475 degrees.
Use a sieve to dust confectioner’s sugar onto the Galette; then return it to the oven to cook again quickly.
Marty’s confectioner’s sugar made a lovely glaze; I used a little too much so the smoke alarm went off (and I removed the Galette from the oven!) before a glaze formed. It was still quite pretty (if not his work of art), as well as warm and delicious.
Serves 6. Leftovers make a terrific breakfast.

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The Last Gasp of Christmas

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Marty at Work (Courtesy of Deborah Yaffee)

Marty at Work (Courtesy of Deborah Yaffee)

The New Year has arrived, and like everyone else I know I’m making an effort to eat a little more lightly.
Once the cream in the refrigerator is used up it will not be replaced. Salads are making a big comeback, dessert is limited to plain fruit, and my comfort food of choice is now something healthy like pea soup rather than a heavier dish like a pot pie.
Today, however, all dieting is suspended—for today is Epiphany.
Twelfth Night, the time at which the wise men (or kings or whoever the heck they were) finally found the Baby Jesus, marks the end of the Christmas season.
Americans generally celebrate this occasion rather sadly by taking down their Christmas trees and putting away the decorations that have made the season extra festive.
In contrast, the French celebrate the arrival of the wise men with A TON OF BUTTER. (The French know how to welcome people as American G.I.s learned in 1944.)
The traditional French Epiphany food is the Galette des Rois (kings’ cake), which is basically puff pastry baked around rich almond cream.
Like a New Orleans King Cake the Galette contains a tiny prize (a crown or a bean or an almond) baked within its folds. Whoever finds the prize in his or her slice of cake is crowned king or queen for the day.
Marty Yaffee, a talented local chef who recently opened the Little Cooking School in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, conducted a Galette des Rois workshop on Sunday at a nearby church.
Marty kindly supplied me with the recipe for his creation, which appears below.
I’m going to try to make a version of it tomorrow so you’ll see photos of MY galette on Friday. (I’m going to try the “blitz” version of the puff pastry to keep things simple.)
I have a feeling—no, a certainty–that my galette won’t be nearly as lovely as Marty’s. But it will taste fantastic, I know. Did I mention that the recipe calls for a ton of butter?
Happy Twelfth Night, everyone. I wish you moments of epiphany all year long…..
Chef Marty’s Galette des Rois (Three Kings’ Cake)
Marty makes standard amounts of Puff Pastry and Frangipane filling so the recipes for those actually make more than you will need for one galette. Your choices are to make more than one galette (you may actually make a rectangular cake called a jalousie if you are so inclined), to freeze some pastry and frangipane for a future occasion, or to cut down on his recipe.
for the Puff Pastry (enough for at least 2 to 3 galettes):
3-1/2 cups flour plus 1 cup for dusting during dough “turning”

7/8 cup cold water

1-3/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vinegar (either rice vinegar or white wine vinegar)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened

Put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
Add the water, salt, vinegar, and melted butter into the well in the center.
Turning the bowl slowly pull small amounts of the flour into the liquids and then mix all ingredients into a dough. Knead with the heel of your hand until ingredients become almost homogenous, but don’t overknead. (Knead as little as possible to make an almost smooth dough).
Form the dough into a ball and cut an “X” deep into the dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll the “arms of the “X” until you have a starfish shape.
Cover and refrigerate for at least a half hour.
Using two pieces of plastic wrap, line the sticks of slightly softened butter up on the plastic wrap, cover with the other plastic wrap, and beat the butter gently with your rolling pin to shape the butter into a square.
Before making your dough “turns” make sure the butter is about the same consistency as the dough (if the butter is too warm it will not roll out with the dough; nor will it roll well if it is right out of the refrigerator).
Put the butter square in the center of the “starfish,” fold the arms of the starfish over the butter to completely enclose it. Now roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is a rectangle about 15 by 26 inches.
Imagine the rectangle divided into thirds.
Fold one end of the dough over, then fold that to meet the other end to achieve 3 layers. This is the first “turn.”
Use a brush to remove extra flour that is on the dough as you are folding.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again to the same 15-by-26-inch size.
Fold in the ends again. That was the second turn.
Now wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to relax the gluten in the dough (the substance that makes dough get stiffer as you work with it).
Keeping your work surface slightly floured and removing excess flour as you fold, roll out the dough to the same size again and do the folds.
Turn and repeat.
Now refrigerate the dough again if you wish. You may do 2 more dough “turns” to make it even flakier, though 4 turns is the minimum recommended.
You may refrigerate the dough if you are going to use it in an hour or 2, or freeze all of it or pieces of it for future use. It will keep well in the freezer for up to a month. 
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using frozen dough.
for “Blitz” Puff Pastry (a little quicker than the standard version), which again makes enough for at least 2 to 3 galettes:
Note from Marty: If you feel like you don’t have quite enough time for making the classic puff pastry and you don’t mind your dough puffing up about 30 percent less than regular puff dough, you may save some time and effort with the “Blitz” puff pastry.
3-1/2 cups flour

4-1/2 sticks slightly softened unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold water (maybe a drop or two more)

Put the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and put them in the well.
Sprinkle the salt over the butter.
Work the butter cubes into the flour until the mixture starts to look grainy but there are still some small flakes of butter visible. Add the water, a little at a time, until the dough just comes together.
Roll out this dough into a rectangle about 8 by 16 inches.
Fold in thirds.
Roll out to the same size again and fold in thirds.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make 2 more turns and the dough will be ready to use. Again, you may freeze a least half before making this recipe.
for the Frangipane Filling (make enough for at least 2 to 3 galettes):
1 pound 2 ounces almond paste (either store-bought or combine 3-1/3 cups whole almonds with 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar and process in a food processor until the almonds and sugar make a thick paste)

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

5 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but it may be needed if you have made your own almond paste)

Beat the almond paste in a mixer with a paddle attachment.
While beating, add the butter a little at a time and beat until smooth.
Beat the flour in.
Add the eggs one at a time while beating; then add the extract if you are using it.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat once more to make sure the mixture is homogenous.
Get ready to make your cake!
for the Three Kings’ Cake
Puff Pastry dough as needed

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Frangipane filling as needed

1 almond (for the traditional prize)

confectioner’s sugar and a sieve for sprinkling it

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Roll out a piece of puff pastry until it is 1/16 inch thin.
Make two circles, one bigger than the other. (The smaller should be 8 to 9 inches in diameter.)
On the smaller circle, put a mound of frangipane and smooth it until it is about 1/2 inch thick, leaving an outer circle of dough without frangipane about 3/4 inch wide. Place your almond somewhere in the middle.
Dab egg wash on the outer circle.
Place the larger circle of dough over the pastry lining up the edges with the smaller one.
Egg wash the top of the dough.
Use a fork to press the 2 layers of dough together.
Cut pieces of dough away from the edge for “sunrays.”
Gently score the top surface of the pastry with “sunray” design.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then turn the oven down to 375 and bake until the frangipane filling gives resistance to the touch (springs back).
Remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
Turn the oven to 475 and bake until the sugar forms a slightly browned and glossy glaze.
I asked Marty how many people his galette would serve, and he said, “It depends on how much they want to eat!” Dainty pieces would serve up to 10; small servings, about 6.
Marty's Galette (Courtesy of Deborah Yaffee)

Marty's Galette (Courtesy of Deborah Yaffee)


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