Dessert for Our Small Thanksgiving — Apple Galettes

apple galette

So far, the small Thanksgiving has touched on many of the ingredients that are traditional (or perhaps should be) for the holiday. And since we’ve already incorporated pumpkin, I decided to offer up the traditional pie, but with a twist. The term galette is used for a number of recipes, including a kind of pancake in Belgium. Here we’re using the term to cover a rustic, free-form fruit tart. I settled on this because galettes can be made to any size you like, including individual servings. For this post I settled on a plate-size just perfect for four diners.

While you can use a typical pie dough to make a galette, the crust really should be a little sturdier than one that is baked in a traditional pan. The one in the recipe below manages to be both sturdy and flaky. The filling, on the other hand, is identical to one that I’ve used for a classic apple pie. Only the scale is different.

When you’re rolling out the dough and handling the galette(s), parchment paper is your friend. I tried doing without. Cleaning up a broken galette from the floor is not how you want to spend Thanksgiving. I’ll leave it at that.

Finally, if you happen to have a pizza stone, use that rather than a baking sheet for a very rustic look and feel. Any juice that leaks from the galette cooks on the hot stone into a crunchy, toffee-like candy that’s fund to break up and sprinkle over the galette. 

It is really important to serve the galette(s) warm. Top them with vanilla ice cream for a real treat.

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Upside Down Apple Rum Cake

upside down apple rum cake

It’s getting near the time when the new crop of local apples will be hitting the farm markets, and around Discovery Cooking, that means the season’s first upside down apple rum cake. I will assume that most everyone at least understands the concept of an upside down cake, especially the classic pineapple version with canned pineapple rings and impossibly red maraschino cherries. This upside down cake is nothing like that — OK, maybe it’s a little like that.

Like its progenitor, this upside down cake is made by placing and topping of sliced fruit in the bottom of a cake pan, covering that with a brown sugar and butter based syrup and then adding the cake batter. When the cake is finished baking, it’s inverted so the topping is — duh — on top.

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Classic Apple Pie

apple pie

While it might be argued that pumpkin spice has become the essence of fall in the past several years, to me nothing is more emblematic of the season than the classic apple pie.

I’ve been baking apple pies for many years. It probably was the first dessert I made from scratch, in fact. Over all that time, I’ve gone from ready-to-use pie crusts to mastering the art of pastry crust, and I’ve tested just about every combination of apples you can imagine. I’ve invested many hours in figuring out how to get moist tender fillings that don’t turn into mush, aren’t runny and have the right balance of tartness and sweetness.

And while I still experiment, I’ve hit on what is, for me anyway, a perfect combination of ingredients and technique. It produces apple pies that are tender and flaky, with fillings that have great flavor and just the right blend of tender and firm, tart and sweet, spiced with the classic fall scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

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Fantastic Fall Treat: Apple Fritters

apple fritters

You may have noticed that more than a few recipes featuring apples have shown up on Discovery Cooking lately (and there are more in the pipeline). The reason for that is simple. Right now, great local apples are everywhere around me. Which brings me to today’s topic: apple fritters.

I distinctly remember my first experience with apple fritters, which probably happened around 35 years ago, not long after Carol and I were married. She got this recipe from her mother (who is now 94 and still going strong), and made a batch, after first trying unsuccessfully to explain to me what, precisely, an apple fritter is. That first bite was such a revelation, we’ve been having them on Saturday or Sunday mornings pretty much every fall weekend since.

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Apple Drop Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting

apple drop cookies

Cookies and apples and fall. Add in a little salted caramel and I’d be happy for it to be October all year. One of the lucky things about living in Virginia is the variety and sheer volume of apples produced here. I bake these apple drop cookies early in October and continue to make them frequently into the year-end holidays and throughout the winter.

The flavor of the cookies reminds me of apple pie, and while they’re baking, they really perfume the whole house.

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