"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Apple and Calvados Galette

By now you must know there is almost nothing I won't do for my book group, so it won't surprise you to know that I baked this Apple and Calvados Galette yesterday morning and drove around with it all day in my passenger seat so I could bring it to book group last night straight from work. I didn't make this galette, Miki Duisterhof did (and I couldn't drive around with a bowl of whipped cream in my front seat anyway) but I wanted to show you what it looks like:

You couldn't ask for a prettier driving companion and the smell drove me nearly crazy.

Two things make this tart superlative: the layer of Calvados applesauce, and the all-butter pastry. I've made applesauce before, but always the super-natural, unsweetened version, so this one, with sugar and spice and just the right amount of booze, was a pleasant surprise because of the pretty glaze it gave the apples.

The pastry--folks, they tell you in the book that it's easy to work with but take it from me--all-butter pastry is NEVER easy to work with. It's tricky, and a pain in the butt. So I used my failsafe pastry-rolling technique, which is that I rolled it out between two sheets of plastic wrap so that sticky stuff never touched my counters or my rolling pin. The advantage to rolling pastry this way is that you're also not screwing around with the proportion of flour-to-fat so it tastes just the way it should. I also used a tape measure and was pretty surprised that 16 inches was as wide as all that. If I had been guessing, I would have stopped at 12 inches. Should I make a joke here about the difference between 6 and 10 inches? Probably not.

Now--shaping it is fun--kind of a free-form pie experience. If you've ever been intimidated by crimping crust you'll love making a galette.

As far as the finished product goes, YUM!! The applesauce under the apples was a great texture-taste combination, and as much of a pain that all-butter crust is, it is heaven to eat. The Calvados whipped cream is gilding the lily but is oh-so-good. If you're a baker, add this to your list--it is well worth the time spent.

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