Love. Craft. and Honesty. An Apple Galette with Brown Butter

It has been coursing through my blood lately. It happens to many of us this time of year. The air grows cool and crisp, Halloween is just around the corner, and the desire for autumn’s comforts fill our bones. And the top of the comfort list lies the glorious apple. I’ve got to get my apple mojo on.

For me the apple craving began about a month ago. We had a shoot for one of Whole Foods local apple farmers. Few things compare to picking apples fresh off the tree and biting into that sweet crispness, tinged with touch of tartness.

Every time I pick an apple from a tree it brings me back to my childhood and our three apples trees growing by the house on the ranch. We’d pick and eat until our bellies were full. The sweet smell of the apples filling the autumn air. Then, filling our arms, we’d bring the horses their favorite treat.

I can still remember one of our colts first apple moment like it was yesterday. Doc, who had been born earlier that year, would watch all the other horses devour apple after apple with envy. As much as he would try, he couldn’t bite into the apples yet. They just kept slipping out of his mouth, spinning away.

After watching him struggle for a while, I decided to help him out. He still had that young colt jumpiness combined with an adorable curiosity. I eased within a few feet of him, then bit off a big chunk of apple. Holding out my hand with apple piece lingering on fingertips, Doc’s curiosity overwhelmed his nervousness.

He took the apple from my hand and experienced his first sweet bite. After a few more pieces he decided I was alright in his book. For most of his life, he was always a bit of a smart ass to catch. But not for me. Doc never forgot who helped him eat his first apples.

So after our Whole Foods shoot, the need for apples started to fill my lingering thoughts. It wasn’t long after that Diane and I took a West Coast roadtrip through California, Oregon, and finishing up in Seattle, Washington. Wandering through farmer’s markets and boutique grocers, buying up apples for our drives and explorations, the apples were rockin. So crisp, juicy, and sweet.

Up in Seattle we hooked up with Jennie from In Jennie’s Kitchen. Being the food fanatics we all are, and given the time of year and how good the local apples had been, talk soon fell to apples and all their glory. Even amongst the daily struggle to find a new normal after suddenly losing her husband a mere 2 months ago, the talk of food and cooking just lit Jennie up, exuding her love and warmth. She mentioned a Brown Butter Apple Pie she makes, and I knew without hesitation that I was going to have to make that as soon as I got home.

Jennie is one of those cooks, who I know after talking to them for even a moment about food, that their cooking is going to rock. Jennie, and the cooks and chefs I know like her, exude a certain culinary mojo. It is something I felt in my grandma, Diane, Michael Ruhlman, and chef Josef Centeno, among others. There is a particular love, sense of craft, and honesty to their approach to cooking. I trust their taste and have never been disappointed. These are good people to have in your life. And kitchen.

So after returning home from our road trip, I set out to make Jennie’s brown butter apple pie. Only I don’t like rolling out pie crust tops. I have serious pie envy for those able to create gorgeous pie tops. Martha Stewart I am not.

So I play to my strong suit. Rather than fight making the top, I opt for the rustic apple galette. Using a technique I learned from our pastry chef where I used to manage, I roll the dough out in between two sheets of plastic wrap. This allows you to roll the dough out quicker and thinner (my preference in pies) and still handle it easily.

The crust recipe I always use yields an amazing, buttery, flaky crust. I’ve yet to have another crust I prefer over it. I was torn whether to deviate from my home standard or use Jennie’s crust recipe. In the end I chose to stay with my usual recipe, but that was mostly due to the familiarity and ease I have with making it. I’ve no doubt hers is equally incredible.

The end result was nothing short of amazing. The best apple galette I’ve had. Partly due to the apples being so extraordinary at peak season, part great recipe, and part love. I had intended to add some Bourbon to the apple filling, but forgot to when cooking. I think I’m just going to have to do a little private taste off and make these galettes again.

-Todd

P.S. In the comments, Susan from The Wimpy Vegetarian asked about our favorite apple for the galette. It is such a great question, we’d like to pass it on to everyone and have you all tell what apples you like the most for pies, tarts, and galettes. Share your favorite baking variety and where you live or get them from so we all can get a regional perspective. We can all learn from each other.  —  We usually use Fujis, sometimes mixed with Granny Smiths. But here in So Cal, our apple selection isn’t as extraordinary as many cooler climate areas. Can’t wait to hear everyone else’s favorite.

Brown Butter Apple Galette Recipe

Yield: Three 8" Galettes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Filling is based off of In Jennies' Kitchen Brown Butter Apple Pie recipe. It may be surprising to see a lack of spices, but as Jennie mentions in her post, it allows for the "intense flavor of roasted apples" be highlighted. After making the filling this way, I agree with her completely. For the type of apples, try to find a nice crisp, sweet-tart apples. Granny Smiths are a classic choice. We often use Fujis. Other good varieties are Jonathan, Jonagold, Pippin, Gravenstein, Braeburn, and Pink Lady Apples.

Ingredients:

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 c (355g) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 T (8g) Salt
  • 1/2 lb (225g) cold Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 c (70g) cold Lard
  • 1/3 c (80ml) Ice Water, approx.
  • Heavy Cream, to brush crust
  • pinch of Coarse Sugar or Turbinado Sugar
  • pinch of Sea Salt flakes or Kosher Salt

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c or 3 sticks (340g) unsalted Butter
  • 9 med. Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1/3 c (65g) Sugar
  • 1/2 c (100g) packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 c (30g) Flour
  • 1 1/2 T (22ml) fresh squeezed Lemon Juice

Directions:

Make the Crust Dough

  1. Combine flour and salt on a work surface or bowl.
  2. Cut up the butter and lard into 1/2" pieces, then add it to the flour and pinch down to pea sized pieces with your fingers.
  3. Add ice water and mix just until the dough comes together. It should be a rough looking, lumpy ball with chunks of butter.
  4. Divide into 3 even balls then flatten each ball (helps expedite the chilling process), then wrap and put to rest in fridge for at least 30 min.

Preheat Oven to 425°F

Make Filling (after dough is chilled)

  1. Place the apples, sugars, and flour in a large bowl. Toss well until sugar and flour evenly coat the apples.
  2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Butter will foam, then settle down. Continue to cook and the now separated solids will begin to brown and develop a toasty, nut aroma. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Pour browned butter over apples (scraping the pan to get all the tasty, toasty bits). Add fresh lemon juice, and toss apples to completely coat with browned butter and lemon juice. Set aside while you roll out the dough.

Finish Making Galette and Bake

  1. Roll out the dough. Take one ball out at a time (leaving the others in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll each one) and place dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll out. Occasionally peel back plastic wrap and re-lay wrap on dough to help remove wrinkles. Roll to about 1/8″ thick and evenly round. Remove top layer of plastic wrap, and quickly but carefully flip dough onto a baking sheet so the remaining plastic wrap is now face up. Remove last layer of plastic wrap.
  2. Place 1/3 of the apple filling into the center of the rolled out dough. Spread apples into an even circle, leaving a border of 2" of bare dough. Fold dough up over apples, creasing every couple inches. Repeat rolling and filling process with other two balls of dough and remaining apples mix.
  3. Brush crusts of dough with heavy cream. Lightly sprinkle turbinado or coarse sugar on crust. Very lightly sprinkle a pinch of sea salt flakes on crust.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn temperature down to 350°F. Continue to bake for another 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Paulina

    I was wondering, is the amount of butter for the brown butter correct? I made as described and it seems way too much? Jennie’s recipe only had 4 tablespoons. I’m wondering if it’s just me and my not so experienced baking?
    Thanks! Love your recipes!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Paulina,
      When we were doing this recipe, it was for a larger gathering, so the recipe is for 3 galettes. Jennies is just for one. That is why you see such a discrepancy in the amount of butter.
      Hope that helps and thanks of the compliments!
      Todd

  2. tinasdeliciousdishes.com

    Hi Guys! Love your site…long time reader, first time commenter! I’m getting ready to get my apple mojo going and just wondering… I see you use a mixture of butter and lard. Do you know what each element would do. I know the butter is for flavor but does the mixing of the two fats make for a flakier crust or just more flavorful?

    Thanks for such a lovely site!
    Tina

  3. Helen in CA

    Gravensteins, of course!
    Gonna have to try them w/ this recipe. And yes, w/ Gravs it’s been Apple Season up here in NorCal for several weeks now.

  4. QlinArt

    Love apple tarts or pies! I have one fabulous easy recipe and would love to make a reference to your post in my blog post if you are ok with it. Your site has been inspiring to my cooking for the longest time. May I also tweet about it? Thank you for the fabulous pictures and the recipe! Never tried brown butter before. Have a good day!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Of course that fine. Thanks for asking! And thanks for the sweet compliments. Have a great day.

      T & D

  5. Jen @ Savory Simple

    I went crazy with apples this fall. Two trips to the farm yielded 35 pounds and I managed to go through all of them. I adore galettes and this looks right up my alley.

  6. Heather

    This is the best I have ever eaten. Did a wee change , used 1/2 cocunut oil along with the butter and used cocunut sugar too. Still used the 1/2 cup br. sugar. I want to stop people in the street to taste this product. I have an old old tree, 1950. Nobody has been able to identify it, but it never gets sprayed with anything, no, bugs or marks on the skin ever. It produces apples every year. Needs no apple pruning as it only has ever three at the most together. I should sell this tree to everyone who wants to grow apples. It’s a winter keeper type. Hard, with a deep red color. Not a delicious if this is what you think.. but eats wonderful, cooks great too. Lucky right? Love your food style and travel. Thanks.

  7. BB

    Thanks for a new way to me to prepare my favourite dessert: the apple cake! I’ll surely try it! BB
    http://www.insiemecongusto.com

  8. betty

    lovely photos dear!

  9. Dish

    Yes, yes, yes! I will try this, for sure. And I’d like that second photograph hanging in my kitchen! Beautiful.

  10. Mary

    This sounds delicious. I’m surprised by the lack of spices in the filling, but I’m going to try it this way next time. I’m with you on the galettes instead of pie. I just call it rustic and consider it perfect that way.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Yeah. I was curious about the lack of spices but after reading Jennie’s post and knowing her excellent palate and cooking skills, I trusted her approach. It really allows the apples to shine if you have good apples to start with. Deliciousness in the simplicity. Find great produce and really let them be the star. Although I may have to sneak in some Bourbon next time. ;)

  11. Alison

    This looks so good. I want it now, and I have apples!

  12. norma

    Delicious and great pics.

  13. na

    Pippins all the way!
    Just discovered them this fall and not going back :-)

  14. Jessie

    Thank you for the recipe. It is absolutely delicious.

  15. Colleen @ FoodieTots

    What a lovely ode to apples, and Jennie. Here in Virginia we have so many varieties to choose from — our favorite apple lady is growing over 40 types! Makes me think I should make this once a week to determine the best variety… Currently we’re snacking on Empire, Gala and Mutsu, and I just made a crisp with Romes.

  16. AntoniaJames

    I use Honeycrisps when I can get them. If not, I love an under-ripe, non-commercial Golden Delicious (early season only, though!). A slightly green Fuji is my fallback. Any apples I buy are from the Old Oakland Farmers’ Market in downtown Oakland (which is the most convenient Asian farmers’ market, too). My neighbor has Granny Smiths on her tree, so when she brings me a big bag, I’ll use those, too. I have blueberries on 17 bushes lining my front walkway. I give her blueberries during the summer. She gives me apples in the fall. It works well for everyone involved. ;o)

  17. Amy

    I love this…it must be in the air. Todd and Diane -it was lovely meeting you both here in Nashville a couple of weeks ago! You’re lecture was nothing short of inspiring! Thank you again!

  18. deana

    I just love brown butter in everything. What a splendid idea to put it in the filling.

    I am with you, there is nothing like apples to usher in fall… they sort of go together…especially for those of us in colder climes. We don’t have too many things you guys out west don’t have, but an abundance of apple varieties is indeed one…. there were 12 at the farmer’s market this weekend!

  19. Gloria

    I’m really enjoying honey crisps…they have a nice firm crunch and are sweet with a slight tartness. They are my favorite to eat straight up. But I almost always bake with granny smiths. My grandmother made the most amazing apple pie using only granny smiths, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. I have spent years trying to recreate it (it’s one of those recipes that is a pinch of this, some of that, etc). I’ve gotten pretty close on the filling, but the crust is another story. I will have to try a version using your galette method.

    Thanks to you and Diane for a wonderful and inspirational day on Saturday! You guys rock!

    P.S. Tell Diane and I made her red rice salad tonight and am looking forward to eating it for lunch tomorrow. I took a few bites tonight and that shallot vinaigrette is magic.

  20. lynn

    In the oven right now for the final 30 minutes. Can’t wait!!!

  21. Yelena

    I love your photos. I discover your blog some time ago and it is one of my favored blog. Thank you for your beautiful work.

  22. Joy

    This looks amazing! Bake fest coming up this Thanksgiving!

  23. Soo

    Northern Spies, hands down the best pie apple.

    Gonna try this recipe out tonight, thanks!

  24. Yadsia @ShopCookMake

    What a nice story. My earlier memories about horses aren’t as good.

  25. terri

    i’ve used a combination of granny smith and golden delicious. i like the contrast between the taste and texture of the two, and one advantage is that these two are generally easy to find, whatever part of the country you might live in.

  26. clairetweet

    So love that blue background. Makes me want to scavenge an old packing crate an get painting.
    Oh – lovely post too! ;o)

  27. Lynda

    Browning the butter is brilliant. My favorite apple in baking is Granny Smith – it’s tartness is a great foil to the sugar and spice. It sounds like you had a magnificent day on Saturday! Looking forward to Liz and Susan’s recap.

  28. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    This looks delicious. I really need to start using brown butter more often. That warm, nutty aroma is just pure heaven to me!

  29. Jason

    The apples are beautiful! I’m going to try to recreate it! Yum!

  30. Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    This is beautiful! I was just thinking last night that it’s high time I start making apple pies. I have an apple tree that dropped it’s fruit, but I hate peeling apples so much that I’m procrastinating. :)

  31. The Wimpy Vegetarian

    Brown butter is wonderful with just about anything, but especially apples! I will definitely be making this with some of the lovely apples showing up at the markets now. What apples are your favorites for this? Thanks again for such an informative, delicious, and lovely day Saturday at your workshop. It was perfectly paced, and such a lovely day to all spend together.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Thanks for being a part of Saturday. Such an extraordinary group of people.

      Usually Fuji’s are our standard. They are our all around favorite. They are great eating and bake really well. Sometimes we’ll go a combo of the Fuji’s and Granny Smiths to give a pie or tart a little extra bite. And if we are at a good farmstand, we’ll just ask them which of their apples they like the most for baking. They usually know best!

      This is a great question. I’d love for other commenters to mention what their favorite baking apples are and where they live (each area has it’s own specialties.)

      I was so great meeting you.

      T

      1. The Wimpy Vegetarian

        Honey Crisps and Pink Ladies are probably my favorite to work with, but I love Fuji’s and Granny Smiths too. And I totally agree that having more than one kind of apple in a pie adds a great note of flavor complexity.

  32. LiztheChef

    Speaks of fall to me. Still digesting our wonderful day on Saturday – thank you again for all you and D. gave to us. Hey, I think I recognize those blue boards ;)

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Thanks for being a part of Saturday. We were left with such a warm heart after meeting and being able to spend the day with all of you. What a great day.

      T

  33. Bev Weidner

    I could go camping in that apple galette and stay put for 2 weeks.

  34. Vivek

    Great story, Todd. You’ve now got me wanting to make apple galette!
    Our house is empty now because my parents left for a trip to India, so if I made one, I’d get to eat it all by myself. Will certainly add some bourbon, since that’s how we roll in TN!

  35. Deeba Rajpal (@vindee)

    I love rustic pies and this looks fabulous. Must try it. Would you be able suggest a substitute for lard in the pastry recipe? This is a gorgeous post with equally gorgeous photographs! I ♥ fall…you make it so worthwhile!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Deeba,
      You could always just increase the butter a bit. If you check out Jennie’s recipe for her pie crust, it is all butter and her recipe is fantastic. Of you can sub vegetable shortening for the lard if you want to see how the texture comes out in this style of pie crust. Either way will work great. Good luck.
      T

  36. chris @nestlefoodie

    I love how you combine your personal stories with recipes. Beautiful. BTW, thank you for making all of the guests at your workshop feel like family – such a wonderful time had by all (and not a dry eye in the house!). We were there to help sweet Jennie and learn from two extremely gifted photographers/food stylists. I think each of us came home completely fulfilled. Thank you.

  37. Cassie//Bake Your Day

    This is so enticing. I have maybe eaten my weight in apples in the last few weeks. This galette sounds amazing and I agree with Jennie in letting the flavor of the roasted apples shine through!

  38. Julie from Burnt Carrots

    I just visited an apple orchard with my niece last weekend and am now over flowing with apples! I will have to put them to use and give this a try.

  39. alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    so pretty! Just posted to interest

  40. SoupAddict

    I love that apple growers are bringing back heirloom varieties – we have such a large selection now in my region, I can hardly decide which to choose! (Some of each? Why, yes, please.)

  41. Angie @ Bigbearswife

    oo I love your photos and that galette looks beautiful!

  42. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking

    Ooh, this sounds SO good! I’m in love with galettes now, they’re so easy and delicious. I made one with cinnamon pears a few weeks ago and it was devoured in a matter of hours.
    I’ll definitely have to make this one, perfect for the Fall.
    Love the story about Doc, it warmed my heart.

  43. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    What an awesome looking galette. Beautiful!

    I’ve had apple cravings, big time, lately too. I even blogged that I wanted to go apple picking..I mean, who says that? Ok I did :)

    I love the blue wood you used in the photos…the color is just so pretty with the apples.

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