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On Missing France and Individual Apple Galettes

October 11, 2010

It’s been almost three weeks since my visit to France and I’m missing it already.  From Day 1 to the last, the experience was so much more enjoyable than I expected.  Previous visits have always been a winter activity so I was very happy to finally set eyes on the beautiful city that is Paris and on the French Riviera in all its sun-drenched glory.  The sights, the people, the food–all my senses were fully engaged and I couldn’t get enough.

I’ve always had a love affair with Italy, you see; I’ve even fantasized about living there and have slowly been trying to learn the language.  Then this last visit changes everything and I admit that Italy might have to share my heart with France.

Since I’m late to the game compared to many (who visit Paris early in their travel careers) I won’t bore you with the hundreds of pictures I took.  If you don’t mind, though, I’ll share a few and tell you a little about my trip.

 

We saw the sights...fell in love with this Andre Derain sculpture (top right)

 

We were blessed with great weather for the three weeks we were in France.  The single drizzly afternoon we had was spent recharging for the next day’s activities.  In the French Riviera we used Villefranche-Sur-Mer as our base and had this to enjoy for two weeks.

But we also fell in love with the neighboring villages and vowed to return.

The water?  Beautiful, of course.

But the food was something else entirely.  On market days, village streets were lined with specialty foods and produce.

But we also enjoyed restaurant fare that was pretty special.

 

Pasta with shaved truffle

 

Which is what finally brings me to this post.  I’d been craving a taste of France for a couple of weeks but didn’t have the time to make a special treat until this weekend.  I made individual apple galettes–simple but oh, so delicious!

In fact, I think I’ve found my favorite pâte sucrée (sweet pastry crust) to date.  This crust was flaky but not greasy and was quite enjoyable to eat even without the filling.  It took seconds to make in the food processor and just slightly more time to roll out for the little galettes.  Since my recipe book called these tartelettes, I rolled them out, set them in my little tart molds and refrigerated them until the filling was ready.  However, closer inspection of the recipe revealed that the latter weren’t even required which is why I’m calling them galettes.

The apple filling was even simpler to prepare.  Peel, core, slice.  Then sauté in butter and sugar (I also added cinnamon).  The ease of preparation belies how tasty these were.  The filling was not too sweet and the apples retained a slightly firm texture.  They were perfect to eat warm and while I was initially disappointed that my neighbors weren’t around to enjoy these with me, I recovered and was very happy to have extra to enjoy for later.  A taste of France in my own kitchen.


Lionel Poilâne’s Individual Apple Tarts (Galettes)

from:  Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells

For the Crust:

  • 1 – 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (140 – 175 grams; 140 grams worked perfectly for me)
  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces (3 1/2 oz, 105 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Place all ingredients except the ice water in the food processor and process just until mixture has the texture of coarse crumbs, 10-12 seconds.  Add the ice water and pulse about 6-8 times.  Don’t let the mixture form a ball; stop when it just begins to hold together.  Transfer the pastry to waxed paper and flatten the dough into a disk.  Add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time if the dough seems too sticky.  Wrap in the waxed paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (3 0r 4), peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar (I used about 1 or 2 teaspoons less)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar (I just used a pinch or two for each galette)
  • A couple dashes ground cinnamon (my addition)

Preheat your oven to 425ºF.  Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll out into 6-inch rounds on a floured surface.  Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate once again until ready to bake.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat, add the apples and granulated sugar and sauté for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  I sprinkled a little cinnamon just because I can never help myself.

Divide the apple filling into four and place in each pastry round.  Fold the edges of the dough over the apples.  Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle the apples with brown sugar.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

47 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 9:48 PM

    You are making me want to book a ticket to France! Ryan and I are debating between traveling to Paris or Istanbul…but after seeing your post, I don’t know how I could say no to such a beautiful country! The galettes you shared with us were simple yet beautiful. I think that French cooking is all about high quality ingredients…and it seems like you replicated their philosophy quite well here. Thanks for sharing!

    • October 12, 2010 7:41 AM

      Monet, I think you can’t go wrong wherever you go. Istanbul is on my list, too, so maybe you should go there and I can live vicariously through you. 🙂

  2. October 11, 2010 10:27 PM

    Jean – love the photos of France! Brings back memories from my honeymoon in Europe with France being one of the stops. Such a stunning city. Oh those galettes – what a perfect little dessert. Great recipe! 🙂

    • October 12, 2010 7:42 AM

      Thanks, Lisa. I need to remember that the apples deflate after taking them out of the oven so I should be quicker with my camera. 🙂

  3. October 12, 2010 1:14 AM

    I too rediscovered my love for France this September with 10 days in the Luberon in Provence – the market at Apt was to die for, the weather perfect, the antique linens, and our apartment at La Madone (www.lamadone.net) – an 18th century villa in Apt – was the stuff of dreams. Living in Malta, I’ve always gravitated to holidays in Italy, our neighbour and like you, I have to say France is more than sharing my heart (hubby prefers Italy as he doesn’t speak French but is fluent in Italian). I have signed up for lessons at my local Alliance Francaise so I can bargain in those brocantes on my next trip. Thanks for a the Gallic twist on good old Apple Pie – factoring it in to my Sunday lunch this week for pud as a reminder of France and autumn – we just don’t get four seasons in Malta!

    • October 12, 2010 7:46 AM

      Liz, I have pictures of the antique linens. I plan to share them here, but I didn’t want to overload this post.

      I guess we’re of the same mind with France. I still love Italy but yes, France won my heart, too. Would love to be beside you when you bargain–I wanted to take so much home with me. 🙂

  4. October 12, 2010 1:18 AM

    Looks like a wonderful place to spend quality blogging time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. The pasta with shaved truffle evokes the most visceral response. And the galettes? They look like something even my non-baking self could attempt and enjoy. Elegant.

    • October 12, 2010 7:49 AM

      Ben, this post is highly summarized–I think there was a story behind each picture, and you know about my wifi troubles while there.

      Now if I can make these galettes, you definitely can, too! Worth it, let me tell you.

  5. foododelmundo permalink
    October 12, 2010 6:17 AM

    We leave for France in a matter of days and this just gets me STOKED! I’ve never brought a camera on vacation, but I think I need to now. Thanks for the pre-vacation!
    ~Mary

    • October 12, 2010 7:50 AM

      Mary, you HAVE to bring a camera. I brought my trusty small Canon and it worked great. Please bring a camera. You’ll be so happy you did. Have fun and safe travels!

  6. October 12, 2010 7:41 AM

    ok ok I won’t get mad at you for displacing Italy from half of your heart in favor of France…I do love love love France too! But you could at least have told me you were making these galettes! And if this is your favorite pâte sucrée I really have to try it!

    • October 13, 2010 10:52 AM

      Sara, Italy will always be tops for me but it was nice to experience a new place. Please let me know how this sweet pastry goes for you. 🙂

  7. October 12, 2010 9:02 AM

    I could sit and stare at those scenes by the water for days. Good-looking tarts! I just made some big ones myself, but I think I’ll try little ones next time. I would not have shared them with the neighbors. 🙂

  8. October 12, 2010 9:45 AM

    Lovely post, Jean! Photos are beautiful and you have me longing for Paris (and Italy)! I never made it to the Riviera but I’m more inspired to get there one day after seeing your amazing photos. Thanks for sharing!

    As for your dessert… what can I say, this is the reason I look forward to your posts! 🙂 You tend to make dishes that I love to eat but I am too lazy to make for myself. Heh. This one however, I am adding to my list (yes, I have a list) of things I am going to cook!

    • October 13, 2010 10:54 AM

      Judy, I highly recommend the south of France. In fact, I’d love to return sometime.

      You’re so nice to me…you know I only make dishes that are pretty easy. Sometimes I feel like a cheater since other bloggers do so much more. Baby steps I guess…

      Have a great week!

  9. October 12, 2010 9:52 AM

    I did. I visited from #pfb2010 😉 Your beautiful pictures bring back warm fuzzy memories of the Italian Riviera, and your apple galettes look scrumptiously crisp and flaky. Definitely going to try my hand at them.

  10. October 12, 2010 12:39 PM

    I would have to say Jean Italy would win if in a contest with France even though we pretty much visit France every year whether on motobike trips or skiing. Having said that my heart beats extra fast when I walk into a French patisserie looking at their displays and funnily enough their quality of sorbets I’ve found to be superb.

    Now I noticed as you mention in particularly the pastry that it’s what we here call ‘short’ meaning a high percentage of butter/fat to flour…yes it would taste delicious…like eating a biscuit! 🙂

    Lovely looking little tarts, nice glaze you have on the pastry.

    • October 13, 2010 11:19 AM

      Skiing in both France and Italy is wonderful. I loved the Italian food on the slopes–those were good times. But I do agree that the French patisseries are some kind of wonderful. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  11. October 12, 2010 12:51 PM

    What beautiful pictures of your trip, Thanks for sharing, they are making me quite jealous:) The apple galettes look fabulous, love the individual sizes!

  12. October 12, 2010 1:18 PM

    Lovely Paris pictures, I never been there. I’m dying to go. But first I probably should loose let’s say 10 or 15 ponds lol Because I’m sure I will be all over the food and the wonderful breads. Your galette looks delicious. And seems very simple to make.

  13. October 12, 2010 1:29 PM

    Thank you for sharing your photos of France. It is such a treat to travel vicariously through fellow bloggers. The food looks especially wonderful.

    Fall is my favorite baking season because of apples. Your galettes look scrumptious!!!

  14. October 12, 2010 2:17 PM

    Oh how I love Paris.. I studied abroad in college and fell in love when we visited Paris- to be honest I liked it more than Italy!? I may be crazy I know.. but a sweet tooth at heart, their pastries are just something that can’t be compared with! Your galettes look delicious!

    • October 13, 2010 11:20 AM

      Evan, how fun that must have been. I always wanted to travel during college but couldn’t. Making up for it now, I suppose. Yes, French sweets are without compare. 🙂

  15. October 12, 2010 6:40 PM

    Jean, those galettes are beautiful and sounds amazing. Love the photos from Paris! Beautiful city. Looking forward to meeting you at the Festival as well.

  16. October 12, 2010 9:58 PM

    Sigh, I love Paris. I’ve been, but I never felt as though I spent enough time to absorb it all. This makes me want to go back (it’s been way too long!). In the meantime, thank you for inspiring me with this galette – beautiful!

    • October 13, 2010 11:21 AM

      Liren, I was there a week but I feel the same way. There’s so much to experience. I definitely want to go back—someday. 🙂

  17. October 12, 2010 10:30 PM

    Your apple tart looks fabulous, but I am completely stuck on the pasta with truffle. Love the vacation photos. We miss it too.
    LL

    • October 13, 2010 11:22 AM

      Yes, the truffle pasta was quite amazing, the entire dinner was pretty special actually. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

  18. October 13, 2010 6:33 AM

    Yes, France entices – no doubt about it. Using the Riviera as your home base must have been extraordinary. The markets astound – invite cooking. And the perfect antidote to coming home is to cook something from your vacation – it makes the time there linger. The galettes are on my agenda. They also welcome.

  19. October 13, 2010 9:22 AM

    Lovely photographs and post, Jean. That pasta with truffle looks divine! And I have to try those galettes soon and Fall is the perfect time — apples and pears!

    I’ve always dreamed of France — it’s such a romantic place. I just can’t wait to visit!

    And by the way, thank you for your encouraging note in my blog. Thank you, Jean.

  20. October 13, 2010 11:24 AM

    Jun, pears would be excellent for this recipe. Hmm, I’ll have try that, too.

    Well, when you get to France, I’m sure it will be a fabulous experience and you’ll document it beautifully. 🙂

  21. October 13, 2010 5:29 PM

    I’m so glad to hear about your lovely time in France, I’m hoping to make a trip next summer!

    Love your apple galettes, they are beautiful. I just bought some apples yesterday to make an apple galette with pecans. 🙂

  22. October 13, 2010 11:07 PM

    I would love an apple galette such as this one for a break in the afternoon with a cup of black coffee. How wonderful!

  23. October 14, 2010 7:49 AM

    okay, i wasn’t too jealous, until i saw that village market picture. ugh. america. so not as cool.

  24. October 14, 2010 12:13 PM

    If I had to leave San Francisco, I’d pick Paris…not that I’ve been yet but based on everything I’ve seen and heard.
    The galettes are adorable!

  25. October 14, 2010 5:44 PM

    how could you not miss Paris…sigh….my favorite city in the whole world, Those individual galettes sound delicious. A perfect finish to any meal!

  26. trissalicious permalink
    October 14, 2010 8:00 PM

    It’s cold and rainy for some reason today in Sydney but your post is so gorgeous – it just made my day!

  27. October 14, 2010 10:22 PM

    I’m excited for the return of apple desserts–they’re one of my favorite. I will have to try the pate sucre, though. Can you believe I’ve never made pastry crust?

    BTW, why do you insist on teasing us with the pics of France? Not fair ;(

  28. October 16, 2010 9:30 PM

    Thanks for the pictures from Paris, the city of Love 🙂 and of course for the apple galettes recipe.
    I’ve read you want to go to Istanbul, hope you do go, it’s a great city (I like it more than Paris) with great sights, eateries and lots of sweets yum-yum

  29. October 18, 2010 3:23 AM

    We need to meet up on your next visit. You were definitely blessed with the weather that you had. These look great and are identical to the ones that we see at the bakeries. Great job !

  30. Michelle permalink
    November 8, 2010 12:29 PM

    I just wanted to drop by and say Thank You for this great pastry recipe. I’ve made it two weekends in a row – first with apple and next with pear/cranberry. Everyone loved it! Its a keeper.

    • November 8, 2010 5:28 PM

      Michelle, thank you so much for trying this recipe. It’s become my favorite pastry crust, as well. So happy that you enjoyed it. 🙂

  31. November 21, 2011 6:00 PM

    Just planning our first trip to the south of France. We will spend a week in Provence before moving on to Tuscany. We’re planning on taking the train from Avignon to Riomaggiore and want to break the train trip with a stopover in the Riviera. Can you recommend a good place in Villefranche or Eze?

    • November 26, 2011 9:51 AM

      Hi Michelle,
      We didn’t stay in Eze but we did use VSM as our base while in the south of France. Not sure what your criteria are for accommodations but we stayed at Hotel Welcome. It’s in the heart of VSM harbor with beautiful views. Above town there were a couple of hotels, more quaint but I think worth a look, too. Hotel le Versailles and Hotel La Flore. You might want to check them out, as well. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions.

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