READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Pace yourself with a small manageable project for each of December’s five weekends—whether for gifting, hosting or some well-deserved built-in you-time!
Pace yourself with one project for each of December’s five weekends—whether for gifting, hosting or setting aside you-time!
THE HOLIDAY SEASON starts out of the gate in late November and, in a blink, it’s January already and you don’t know where the time has gone. With some advance planning you can maximize your time, plot out your days in the kitchen and, this year, take full advantage of the five weekends in December to create meals to freeze ahead, whip up some gifts to share with loved ones, host a dinner party (without stressing out about it), squeeze in some last-minute baking and, finally, relax and enjoy a movie night in with a casual yet decadent meal and munchies. We’ve got it all set out for you, just make your grocery lists, set the playlist to “festive,” and take it away.
BRANDIED APPLE-RAISIN GALETTE
While the free-form shape is more rustic than a primly crimped pie, somehow a golden galette is more elegant in a way—especially when it’s filled with glossy apples doused with brandy. The beauty of rolling pastry for a galette is that the random, rough edges, pleats and folds are all part of the charm, so there’s no need to stress about perfection. Make sure you use juicy apples with good, tart flavour, such as Crispin (Mutsu), Northern Spy or firm Empire or Spartan. Instead of raisins you can substitute dried cranberries or chopped dried sour cherries. Serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream flavoured with a splash of brandy.
1¾ cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¾ cup (175 mL) cold unsalted butter, cubed 6 tbsp (90 mL) ice water, approx.
⅓ cup (80 mL) packed brown sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
⅓ cup (80 mL) raisins
3 tbsp (45 mL) brandy
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, cubed
4 cups (1 L) thinly sliced peeled cooking apples, about 4
¾ cup (175 mL) ground almonds
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) water
½ tsp (2 mL) granulated sugar ⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) ground cinnamon
1 For pastry, combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Scatter butter overtop and pulse just until mixture resembles fine crumbs with a few larger pieces (alternatively, combine in a bowl and cut in butter using a pastry blender).
2 Drizzle 6 tbsp (90 mL) ice water over flour mixture and pulse (or stir) just until dough clumps together, adding more water, 1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 mL) at a time, if necessary. Remove from food processor and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3 Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) with rack positioned in bottom third of oven.
4 For filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, brandy and butter in a large skillet. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Add apples and stir gently to coat evenly. Transfer to bowl and let cool completely.
5 On a large piece of floured parchment paper, roll out pastry to a 15-inch (38-cm) circle, gently lifting pastry and flouring underneath and flouring rolling pin as you roll to prevent sticking. Slide parchment paper and pastry circle onto a large baking sheet.
6 Sprinkle almonds in a 9-inch (23-cm) circle in the centre of the pastry. Stir 2 tbsp (25 mL) flour into apple mixture until blended. Pile apples on top of the almonds. Gently press down to make filling compact. Fold up pastry border and over filling toward centre, covering by about 3 inches (8 cm) around the edges and pressing slightly where sections of border overlap.
7 For glaze, whisk egg with water in a small bowl. Combine sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl. Brush top of pastry with egg wash, sealing pleats well, then sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over pastry.
8 Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake for about 45 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp, filling is bubbling and apples are tender.
9 Let galette cool on pan on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (It is best served the day it is baked.)
Serves 6 to 8