Friday, October 1, 2010

Warm Apple Galette with Homemade Cinnamon Ice-Cream

The first time I had cinnamon ice-cream was with warm apple something or other at the Fashion Cafe in New York City when I was fourteen.  I thought the idea of cinnamon-infused ice-cream was so unique and so cool, and getting to stride down the cafe's runway and strut my stuff after consuming this fresh concept made the flavors and textures of hot apple and cool cinnamon stand out in my mind ever since.  This is a perfect fall pairing to serve to guests or to simply enjoy by yourself.
Warm Apple Galette 
from Claire Ptak of In the Green Kitchen
This is, hands down, the best crust recipe I know of.  It makes such a fabulous apple or peach galette that I've had five in the last month.  In one week alone, I made and helped consume three.  It helps, of course, that this is also one of the easiest desserts to make, especially because the recipe makes enough for 2 doughs and you can freeze one and pull it out later for an impromptu finish to dinner.  

Dough (makes enough for 2 12-inch tarts)
I love Claire's technique here of blending in half of the butter and leaving the rest in larger pieces--it makes for a very flaky dough.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
12 T unsalted butter, cold
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice-cold water (before you begin mixing your dough, measure 1/2 cup very cold water in a liquid measuring cup and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes)
4 or 5 medium apples (for one galette)--you can also use peaches instead
1 egg

Measure the flour and salt into a bowl.  Cut the butter into 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes and put about half of it into the bowl.  Work it into the flour with your fingertips, lightly rubbing and breaking the flour-coated pieces of butter into small bits, until the mixture is roughly the texture of oatmeal or cornmeal.  Add the rest of the butter and work it quickly into the ough until the pieces of butter are about half their original size.  Dribble the water into the dough while tossing the mixture with a fork.  Keep adding water only until the dough begins to clump and hold together when you squeeze a handful.  You may not need the full 1/2 cup.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces and gather each part into a ball.  Wrap each ball in plastic or wax paper and flatten into a disk.  Let the rest, refrigerated, for about an hour.  If you plan to make only 1 galette, freeze the second disk for later use.  

When ready to make the tart, let the dough warm up at room temperature for 15 minutes or so and preheat the oven to 4oo degrees.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface  in to a rough circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.  Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate while preparing the apples.

For the apples:  If you wish, peel the apples (I like to peel some of them and leave some of the red skins on some because it makes the tart a beautiful color.) and core and slice them thinly.  Toss with 1-2 T of sugar depending on how sweet the apples are.  Then dump them onto the tart dough.  (Alternatively, you can arrange the apples in nice, overlapping concentric circles, but I find this way too time-consuming.)  Leave a 1  1/2 inch border of dough around the whole circumference.  Fold the edges of the dough up over the apples, and brush the rim lightly with beaten egg.  Sprinkle sugar over the dough and apples, and dot with small pieces of the additional butter.  Bake in the lower part of the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the pastry is golden brown.  Serve warm with cinnamon ice-cream (recipe below).

Homemade Cinnamon Ice-Cream
This recipe is from David Leibovitz's The Perfect Scoop.  However, I made the very important change of adding ground cinnamon so the eye can see and the mind can get excited about those warm cinnamon flecks--see my "Notes" section below.
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Ten 3-inch (8-cm) cinnamon sticks, broken up
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

1. Warm the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan.  Once warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.  
2. Rewarm the cinnamon-infused milk mixture.  Remove the cinnamon sticks with a slotted spoon and discard.  Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a strainer on top.  
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.  
4.  Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and into the cream.  Stir until cool over an ice bath.  
5.  Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (this will take about 4 hours).  Then freeze it in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  

My Notes:  Instead of throwing away the cinnamon sticks, I saved them in a jar in the refrigerator and used them to garnish bowls of ice-cream.  I was also alarmed to realize that of course my ice-cream didn't have those telltale cinnamon flecks in them, so I added ground cinnamon to the custard once I had it in the ice-cream maker.  I then folded in more cinnamon to the mixed custard when I removed it from the bowl so there were nice ripples of cinnamon in the ice-cream.  You could also stir the ground cinnamon into the custard before mixing it.  Finally, I always find an ice-bath unnecessary when making ice-cream unless time is a real issue.  Just stir the mixture in a bowl until a bit cooler, then stick it in the refrigerator to cool the rest of the way.  I usually find it easier to make the custard one day and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, make the ice-cream the second day and let it sit in the freezer either all day or all night (at least 8 hours makes the ice-cream firm).  


The Old Curmudgeon said...

This looks and sounds so good that I can almost smell and taste it. I am surprised that you were able to get a picture before it was just a few crumbs and a drop or two of melted ice cream on the plate.

Brewfus said...

This combination is about as good as it gets, and it is the perfect dessert to accompany the changing of seasons. Ice cream to wish summer a fond farewell and apples to wish autumn a warm welcome. Yum!