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Apple Galette with Calvados

Renée Robinson

This is the Apple Dessert I’ve Been Dreaming About.

I’ve been on a quest for a specific kind of apple galette or tart for years now. I was lucky enough to taste one in Paris several years ago that was the gold standard for my particular palate and I’ve been searching for that same taste and texture ever since.

I’ve tried all kinds of crusts and finally came up with the one I like. It’s made in the food processor, doesn’t require any chilling time, is all butter, and is very easy to roll out. You’ll see that I don’t add all the flour initially. By holding back a little of the flour and adding it after the other is fully blended, I end up with a flakier crust.

So, now it was a matter of getting the apples right. I’ve tried adding raw sliced apples, cooked apples, etc., and even though I’ve come close, I still hadn’t nailed it. The kind of dessert I wanted was powerful with pure apple flavor and I wanted the apples to be fully cooked, but still retain their structural integrity. 

I happened upon a type of apple called Opal and decided to give it a shot. They’re crisp, juicy, and sweet, not tart like a Granny Smith, but with a nice balance between sweetness and tartness. One thing that was surprising is they don’t turn brown after slicing. Mine sat out for about a half hour before I cooked them and they were just as beautifully white as they were when I initially sliced them.

From past experience, I knew I wanted the apples cooked before they went into the galette. This serves to concentrate their flavor, and allows me to control the amount of liquid, but I didn’t want them to turn into applesauce. I cooked them in some butter, sugar, and lemon juice until they were almost fully tender and only a little syrup remained in the pot. Then for good measure I added 2 tablespoons of Calvados (apple brandy) and cooked them for another minute or two. All they needed was a pinch of salt and they were good to go. 

This recipe makes a big galette, so I made sure I used enough apples to fill it up nicely. After folding in the edges of the crust, I placed it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. I’m not a fan of egg washes on most of my galette and/or pie crusts because I think they give you a false sense of when it’s fully baked. The egg wash takes on a golden color way before the crust is done and I don’t care how good the filling is, if the crust isn’t fully baked, I consider it a fail. Flavor doesn’t develop until the crust is browned and fully crisp all the way through. I also like the mouthfeel of a crust without the egg wash. It’s more crisp.

I have no objection to letting a crust bake until it’s really dark in some places. That’s when it’s at its best. So, I opt for spraying the crust with plain water and sprinkling on finishing sugar. This way you have a clear view of how well the pastry has baked. It’s now good to go straight into the oven. I was really keeping my fingers crossed for this one. I wanted the tips of the apples to get dark and caramelize and that’s exactly what I got. At the last minute I decided to try something new. As soon as it came out of the oven, I sprinkled on 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar and hit it with my little kitchen torch until the sugar had bubbled and mostly melted. It hardened up into a caramel/crème brûlée type of topping. 

Well, as I’m sure you’ve surmised by now, I am thrilled with the result, or else I wouldn’t have posted it. This is the apple galette I’ve been searching for. There’s no competition for all that apple flavor. It is first and foremost apple centric. The texture of the apples is exactly as I had hoped – fully tender, but each slice of apple still holds its shape. That buttery crust is flaky and tender. I finally found it. My ideal apple galette. And while a scoop of vanilla ice cream is never a bad thing, I think I prefer a slice all on its own.

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Apple Galette with Calvados

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Buttery flaky crust is filled with sliced apples that were first cooked in butter, sugar, and Calvados. A sprinkle of brown sugar on top is hit with a torch and melted at the last minute.

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  • 5 medium apples (approximately 2 pounds) I used Opals, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick wedges

  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter

  • Pinch salt

  • 2 tablespoons Calvados, optional

  • 210 g (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour, divided, plus more for rolling out the dough

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • Pinch salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, cut into cubes

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • Ice water

  • Sparkling sugar

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar


  • Place the apples, sugar, lemon juice, butter, and salt in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the juices have almost all evaporated with only a little syrup left in the bottom of the pan. This takes about 10-12 minutes. Add the Calvados and cook for another minute or 2 until it has mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside. Allow the apples to cool completely to room temperature before placing them on the crust.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, add 140g (1 cup) flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, pinch of salt, and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until there is no remaining dry flour. The mixture should start clumping together. Sprinkle on the remaining 70g (1/2 cup) flour and pulse just until it the dough has broken into small pieces. Place the vinegar in a measuring cup. Add enough ice water to bring the measurement to 1/3 cup. Remove the lid of the processor, sprinkle on the water/vinegar and replace the lid. Pulse once or twice until the water is incorporated. Do not over process.
  • Preheat the oven to 400° with a rack in the center. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Liberally flour your work surface. Turn out the dough and sprinkle it with flour. Pat into a disc and roll out to a 17 inch circle. It doesn’t need to be perfectly round. Use more flour to prevent it from sticking as you’re rolling it out. Drape the dough over your rolling pin and roll it up. Unroll it out onto the prepared sheet pan. Refrigerate for 10 - 15 minutes, until it has firmed up.
  • Spread the cooled apples in the center of the dough, leaving about 3 inches bare along the edges. Fold the dough in over the apples, pleating as you go. Chill for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and lightly spray the exposed dough with water. Sprinkle the dough with sparkling sugar. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Immediately sprinkle the exposed apples with 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and using a kitchen torch, melt the brown sugar until it bubbles. Let cool, slice and serve, but this is especially delicious served warm with or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

2 Responses

  1. Hi Renée –
    this sounds so fantastic, I will have to make it! I love Opal apples and they even have organics at our market. I also love brown sugar!!
    – Husband can’t have alcohol – I read that it does not all cook out – I know it is optional – would a good sub be a little apple butter?
    – I don’t have a kitchen torch – I am going to buy one!! Do you have a rec?
    Thank you for all your recipes!!! I love the way you write your “preamble” to the recipe!

    1. Thank you so much for the very kind words, Frances. I’m so happy you’re enjoying my “preambles”. I don’t think I’d substitute anything for the Calvados. I’d just leave it out. On the other hand, now that I think about it, I’d add a teaspoon of vanilla, right before you take the apples off the heat. As to the torch, I’ve had a few and they all are basically the same. No need to spend a lot of money. Just be sure and get some butane refills, so you don’t run out of fuel right in the middle of an application. You’ll be surprised how much you use it once you get one. I grab it when I want a little more browning on the top of a dish, etc. I can’t wait to hear how you like the galette!!

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