Skip apple pie and make this!
Not joking, quite possibly my favorite dessert bite of the last year!! Just sweet enough and perfect for using up the bounty of freshly picked apples that make September so delicious, this freeform apple tart — aka a galette — is a great beginner dessert that is creative and elegant enough for any occasion.
Get crafty as you artfully shingle a cascade of sweet and tart apples over the tender, buttery crust, and I love the unexpectedly rich nuttiness of sesame seeds and sparkle of sugar sprinkled over the crust.
See this recipe come to life on IG.
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ sticks very cold unsalted butter, ½-inch dice
1/3 to ½ cup ice water
4 to 5 (1 ¾ pounds) medium tart apples (I used a mix of Granny Smith and Pink Lady, Honeycrisp are also great too)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
½ cup apricot jam, divided
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Flaky sea salt, to garnish, optional
•In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until pea-sized pieces form (you can alternatively cut the butter into small cubes when cold and use your fingers to pinch each these into the flour until a crumbly mixture forms).
•With the machine running on low, slowly drizzle in 1/3 to ¼ cup of water just until small clumps of a dough begin to form, about 8 to 10 seconds. Running the machine too long will risk creating tough dough. The dough will NOT come all together like a ball at this stage, just a few small clumps that hold together is a good indication the dough overall has enough hydration. IF doing this by hand, add water a tablespoon at a time up to 4-5 tablespoons and use your fingertips to gently sift and combine into the dough just until you can squeeze a clump in your fist that holds it’s form.
•Whether made in the food processor or by hand, you’ll know your dough is ready if, when pinched, it is still slightly floury but holds its shape. It will fully hydrate s it rests in the fridge.
•Turn the dough out onto a flat surface in front of you and quickly gather into a ball. Wrap in plastic and flatten into a disk, then refrigerator for an hour. You can store the dough for up to 3 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer.
•Meanwhile, prepare the apple filling. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples into about 1/8-inch thick half moons (you can use a mandolin for this process if you are comfortable). Place the sliced apples into a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning. Season with spices and a pinch of salt and set aside up to 1 hour.
•When ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle or oval shape (about 14” long and 10” across, but this is just a rough guide and most important thing is that it is even thickness throughout and thin enough that you will get a wonderfully crisp and tender crust ) and place onto the parchment. If the tart dough is too cold when first removing from the fridge and cracks when you roll, allow the dough to sit out for 5 to 10 minutes to thaw a bit first for easier rolling.
•In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup apricot jam with 1 tablespoon warm water. Use a pastry brush to spread this over the bottom crust, leaving 3” of crust around on all sides to allow for folding. Arrange the apple slices shingled on top of each other, alternating direction, in little groups of overlapping half-moons – they will look a bit like armadillos.
•Melt two tablespoons of butter and use it to brush the entire crust before sprinkling turbinado sugar over crust and apples. Pinch the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small knobs and scatter overtop of the apples. Place into the oven to bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating halfway through, until apples are golden and tender and the crust is a deep golden brown.
•Remove from the oven then combine the remaining ¼ cup apricot jam, honey, 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water and a pinch of salt in a small sauce pan and heat until slightly reduced, two minutes. Brush this glaze over the crust and apples, then scatter sesame seeds over the crust for a wonderfully savory, rich touch. Return to the oven for a final 5 minutes until the crust is deeply golden brown and crisp and the sesame seeds are just beginning to toast. The apples should be richly caramelized in places. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so. Cut into slices and serve.