Quick Puff Pastry:
1 3/4 cups (225 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (225 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
1/2 cup (120 ml) (115 grams) ice cold water
Frangipane (Almond Cream):
1/2 cup (60 grams) blanched almonds
1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons (55 grams) butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds (900 grams) Granny Smith Apples or other firm textured apple
2 - 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
Quick Puff Pastry: In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until you have large chunks of butter (the size of lima beans or about 1/2 inch (.5 cm)). Add the water and toss the mixture until all the flour is moistened and you have a crumbly mixture. (You won't have a cohesive dough at this point. The mixture will just be large clumps of dough.) Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Then with a lightly floured rolling pin and a bench scraper, roll and shape the rough dough into a 16 x 6 inch rectangle (40 x 15 cm). Always roll your dough from the center outward, using your bench scaper to even up the sides of your dough. Then, using your bench scraper, fold the two long ends of your rectangle so they meet in the center. Then fold the dough again. (This is called a 'double fold' and you now have your first double turn.) Turn your pastry a quarter turn with the seam side of your pastry on your right. Repeat the process, again rolling the dough into a 16 x 6 inch (40 x 15 cm) rectangle. Then repeat the double fold. (As you're rolling, if you find the butter is starting to melt or if the dough is sticking too much to your surface, cover and refrigerate the dough until firm.) Repeat the rolling and folding process one more time. Then divide your puff pastry in half.
Wrap each half of the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about two hours or until firm. (At this point the pastry can be refrigerated for up to three days or it can be frozen for about two months.)
Frangipane: In the bowl of your food processor, process the almonds and flour until finely ground. Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to three days.
Once the puff pastry has chilled, take one half of the pastry and place on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 9 inch (23 cm) square. Cut the square into thirds and then cut each third in half. Repeat with the second half of puff pastry. Place the pastries (you will have 12 altogether) on two parchment lined baking sheets. Place in the freezer for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the puff pastry becomes firm. Then, with an offset spatula or knife, spread a thin layer of frangipane (about 1 tablespoon) on each pastry, leaving about a 1/4 inch (.5 cm) border. Cover and refrigerate the pastries while you prepare the apples.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Peel and cut the apples into thin slices. Place in a large bowl and toss with the sugar and ground cinnamon. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator and lay the apple slices on top of the frangipane, overlapping the slices.
Bake for about 18 - 23 minutes or until the apples are slightly browned and tender and the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. If desired, dust the tops of the Galettes with powdered sugar and place under the broiler to caramelize the ends of the apples.
Makes 12 galettes.
While you could call this dessert an Apple Tart, the name Apple Galette seems more fitting. A Galette is, in fact, a French term signifying a flat cake. And that is what we have here. A flat rectangle of golden brown puff pastry that is wonderfully crisp and buttery, topped with a layer of sweet and creamy frangipane (almond cream) and thin slices of lightly sweetened apples.
For these Apple Galettes I'm using homemade puff pastry. But you can use the frozen commercially made puff pastry that comes in two sheets packaged in a 17 ounce box. Just defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Now, we are going to make what is called a 'quick' puff pastry or a "rough puff". Quick puff pastry is a little different than the classic puff. Instead of folding dough around a large slab of butter and then rolling and folding the pastry several times, with chilling in between, a rough puff is made more like a pie pastry. Only the ratio of butter to flour is higher (equal weights) and the butter is left in large chunks. Once the butter is cut into the flour, ice cold water (half the weight of the flour and butter) is added and you mix the pastry just until you have large chunks of pastry (you don't want a cohesive ball of dough). Then the dough is rolled and folded three times (with no chilling in between). While quick puff pastry has a nice buttery flavor and light and flaky texture, you will find that you don't get quite as much "puff" as with the classic puff pastry recipe. But this type of puff pastry is perfect for these Galettes as well as many types of tarts (both sweet and savory) and even as a topping for your chicken pot pies.