Saturday, March 5, 2011

Apple Marzipan Galette

A galette is any variety of French tart with either savory or sweet toppings.  This sweet version would be the fitting cap to a French-themed dinner party. (Perhaps start off the night with the Goat Cheese, Roasted Garlic, and Tomato Croutes I prepared earlier this week...)  Having never worked with marzipan before, I was eager to try out this dessert.  A big thanks to the PR rep from Odense, who confirmed that their marzipan is vegan: the sugar used is beet sugar, so there is therefore no need to filter through bone char.

  • 1 (8-ounce) pie dough*
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup vegan marzipan
  • 4 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apple
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Dash of salt.
1. Line a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat the foil with cooking spray; set aside.  Roll the pie dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to the prepared pan.  Be aware that 14 inches is large for a pie crust, and means it will be very thin.  To transfer easily: roll it up halfway around the rolling pan, and use that as a support when moving over to the baking sheet, being careful not to tear the dough as it pulls away from your work surface.

2.  Roll the marzipan into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured surface; place on top of the dough.  As I mentioned, I've never used marzipan before, and found that it rolls easily into a circle, and has a wonderfully workable texture.  Consider me a fan.

3.  In a bowl, combine the apple slices, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour, 3/4 teaspoon of the almond extract, the lemon juice, and the salt, tossing well to coat.  Spoon the apple mixture over the marzipan.  Fold a 2-inch border of dough up over the apple mixture, pressing gently to seal (you will have a space in the center where the apple is open to the air, not covered by the dough, as per the photo later on in this post).

4. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes - the galette should be lightly browned by the end.  Don't worry if the apple filling leaks slightly during cooking, since it is bound to happen and that's part of what the aluminum foil is there for!

5. To make the caramel topping, place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook for about 4 minutes, until the sugar dissolves, stirring as needed so it dissolves evenly.  Once dissolved, continue to cook for 1 minute, until golden.  Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Drizzle over the galette.

Note: there was another reason I was excited to try this French dessert - it was the perfect compliment for the bottle of certified vegan Muscat dessert wine I found online through The Organic Wine Company.  Pair the two together and you're sure to end the night on a high note.

*Normally, I'd advocate the store-bought frozen pie crust from Wholly Wholesome for a recipe like this; although the crust comes fitted into a pie plate, you can thaw it at room temperature and then roll it into any size or shape that a recipe calls for.  Because this recipe required a large 14-inch circle, however, I worried that Wholly Wholesome's dough wouldn't be malleable enough.  I tried it in a similar galette recipe about a year ago, and it cracked and was too stiff to fold up properly over the fruit filling.  As a result, I whipped up a quick, 8-ounce pie crust using this recipe, substituting vegan butter and vegan shortening (both from Earth Balance).   However, if you'd prefer to use store-bought dough, it should be fine, and just use care while rolling out and folding over.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 wedge), Calories 291

Tasting Notes:
The almond flavor made this dessert exceptional rather than just yummy.  I loved the almond-y, toasty note that it gave each bite, although was surprised that the marzipan texture got lost (it must melt while baking).  The only reason this dish wasn't rated a "5" is that the caramel mixture hardened the moment it was poured over the tart, and I wish it had stayed a soft caramel sauce.   From some online research, it seems that for a caramel to stay soft, you'll need to add a tiny bit of butter or non-dairy creamer once off the burner, so you might try that.


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