Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Apple Galette Rustica



All the homey goodness of apple pie but easier! This version only takes 3 large sliced apples as opposed to the normal 6-8, that take FOREVER to peel and slice. Great with homemade vanilla ice cream, but then what isn't, right?

Crust:
~1 1/3 c. flour
~1 tsp. salt

Mix well with fork and add either:
~1/2 c. shortening or
~8 Tbs. cold butter, chunked up

With a pastry blender or fork, smash shortening or butter into flour mixture until its smaller than pea-sized. Then add:
~3-4 Tbs. very cold water

Mix gently, it may look dry. Turn it all out onto a piece of waxed paper or a silpat and pat together with your hands til dough forms a ball. Wrap up in the wax paper and chill til needed.

Filling:
~3 large, tart apples, peeled and sliced
~1/2 c. dark brown sugar
~2 tsp. cinnamon
~1 Tbs. flour
~2 tsp. lemon juice

Mix well, set aside.
Roll out your dough to about a 12" circle (or circle-ish...I never get them perfect)
Transfer your dough to a cookie sheet or a small pie pan.

Pour your apple mixture into the center of the dough and mound it evenly in the center and out to about within 2" of the edges.
Fold those edges up and over the apples. You won't cover them completely, this is how you want it.
Now, slice up about half a stick of butter, real butter please, and tuck the slices in amongst the apples.

Bake at 400* for about 40 minutes.
I drizzled cream cheese frosting over the top of this galette. Why? You may ask, does it really need it?
Well no, but cream cheese frosting makes everything better. Trust me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Focaccia Authentica



Chewy, crusty, flavorful and utter perfection. This recipe yields two 10" focaccia, pizza crusts, or a buttload of breadsticks, think...cheesy breadsticks with pepperoni...yeah...that's the ticket.
Do you have a pizza stone? No? Go get one. Now.
Another option is using an unglazed 12" saltillo tile, you know those clay ones? Make sure it's not varnished though. They are fairly inexpensive if you've got a local supplier.

Even though you can do this by hand, its much easier in a Kitchen Aid, if you've got one! (Boy, Im picky today, aren't I??)
~2 c. warm water (we're talkin' nice very warm bath water)
~1 t. sugar
~3 t. yeast (I like the rapid-rise dry yeast)

Mix together and let bloom for about 5 minutes.

Then add (I like to use the bread hook attachment):
~4-5 c. bread flour (sometimes I use as little as 4 1/2 c., sometimes up to 5 c.)
~1 t. salt
You want the dough to form a tacky ball, but not too tacky so that it's sticking to the bowl.
~to taste: cracked black pepper, crushed rosemary, basil, sea salt.

Knead in mixer for about 5 minutes til smooth and elastic.
Place in oiled bowl to double for about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 475* with the stone inside to get it nice and HOT.

Once your dough has doubled, punch down and divide in half. At this point, the world is your oyster. I like to put half in the freezer if I'm not going to use it right away.
I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a wooden pizza peel for $10...trust me, if you're going to be making your own pizza dough (and you should!! see how easy that was???) you'll be wanting one!
Lightly rub some flour into your work surface (before I got the peel, I used flattened Priority Mail boxes lol) or pizza peel.
With oiled fingers pat out your dough to roughly a 10" circular shape. If you're having trouble, get out a pastry roller and give it a few rolls.
Once your dough is patted out, make dimples in your dough with oiled fingers.
Now, you can top your dough how you like. I like sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cracked black pepper, chopped garlic and smoked provolone.....OH YUM.
Gently shake the peel or box often to make sure the dough is slide-able...is that a word? slide-able?
(Cheesy breadsticks with pepperoni are good too :D...pat out the dough like before, take a pizza wheel and cut your breadsticks, but don't separate them. Top with a generous helping of mozzarella and pepperoni. Bake as described below.)

Once your dough is topped, you've got to deal with the tricky part of this process. You have to gently shake it off onto your hot pizza stone in the oven.
I'll let you deal with that. If you went and splurged the 10 bux on the pizza peel, this will be MUCH easier.)
Bake on hot stone for about 10-12 minutes til the edges are golden and crusty.
This is so good, you'll wanna slap your momma!
But don't, she'll call the cops on you....and you don't need that grief.

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