The “V” Word
November 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
I took charge of desserts for my family’s Thanksgiving meal this year. I brought two vegan treats to the table. I was grateful to find a recipe for vegan pie crust on Food52. I used it to make a delicious, dairy-free pumpkin pie and a seasonal take on the galette I’ve made more than a few times this year.
Am I a vegan? No, and I don’t plan on becoming one anytime soon. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. But lately I’ve been making efforts to reduce the amount of animal products in my life. It’s strictly a personal choice.
While I try not to impose my views on anyone, I love to prepare vegan dishes to share with others. I want to show people how animal products aren’t required to make creative and delicious foods. I’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback so far.
However, I was nervous about how my relatives would receive my contributions. The “V” word tends to scare people. My initial plan was to lie. I would tell my relatives that I used “straightforward” and “old-fashioned” recipes. I wouldn’t mention the fact that I substituted extra-virgin coconut oil for butter in the pastry crust I made, or that the pumpkin pie’s custard contained not even a smidgen of egg or cream.
Well, those who know me well enough know that I’m a horrible liar. The truth came out as I was serving the desserts, when my aunt grilled me about the recipes I used.
My relatives ate my desserts anyway. I think they even liked them.
I was satisfied with how both desserts turned out, but I want to spotlight the apple galette. I followed the pumpkin pie recipe to the letter. Much more creativity went into the apple galette. I exchanged plums for sour apples and used ground ginger and nutmeg, in addition to cinnamon, to add warm autumnal notes. This is the most intensely flavorful galette I’ve baked all year.
A few notes on ingredients. I used Granny Smith apples because that’s what I had on-hand at the time. I’d be interested to see which other varieties of apples would work well in this preparation. I normally don’t use all-purpose flour. When I do, I mix it with more substantial, whole-grain flours. I made an exception for this galette. I wanted to keep things simple. Perhaps next time around, I’ll experiment with different grains.
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup solid extra-virgin coconut oil
-Ice water (no more than 1/2 cup)
-2-3 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced (leave the skins on)
-Zest and juice of 1 lemon
-2 tablespoons grade b maple syrup
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 pinches white flour
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-2 teaspoons ground ginger
-1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
-1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus a larger, flakier variety to garnish at the end
-Make the crust by pulsing the flour and coconut oil in a food processor, until small, soft crumbs begin to form. Continue pulsing, adding ice water gradually, stopping once you have a cohesive ball of dough. Press the dough into a flat round and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use. If you don’t plan to make the tart right away, store in the freezer.
-Preheat the oven to 420 degrees.
-Make the filling by whisking together the lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract, flour, spices and salt. Add the sliced apples and toss, making sure each slice is coated.
-Roll out the round of tart dough to a circle of ~1/4 in. thickness. Arrange the apple slices in a semi-spiral pattern. Don’t worry about over-packing the galette. The apple slices will shrink down as the galette bakes. Leave at least a 1.5-2 inch border between the filling and the edge of the dough.
–Use a pastry brush to coat the fruit and dough with any remaining liquid from the filling.
-Fold the dough over the fruit, leaving most of the filling exposed.
-Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust begins and filling are golden brown. Allow the galette to cool completely before serving. Garnish with large, flaky sea salt.
Yields enough for four large servings, or eight-ten small servings.