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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Apricot Galette with Pecan Frangipane

The Altitude Adjustment Section
Apricot Galette with Pecan Frangipane is a beautiful fancy schmancy recipe Jen suggested for today’s high altitude recipe of the week. The combination of Apricots and nuts pastry and brandy: how can that be bad? This is Jen's take on Julia Child's Pâte Brisée and it makes 2-9” shells (1 for the Galette and 1 for the freezer).

Ingredients for crust
2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached (scooped and leveled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup (4 ounces) chilled vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed

Have all the ingredients measured out and ready to use. In a food processor with steel blade, add the flour, salt, and diced butter and process by pulsing with on-off burst — about 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly. Add the shortening, turn on the machine, and immediately pour in the 1/2 cup of ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times with quick bursts. Remove the cover and feel the dough — it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together. Be careful not to over-mix. The dough should be a mass and see flecks of butter. However, if its too dry, pulse in droplets more water. Working quickly, turn-out the dough out onto your lightly floured work surface; press it into a rough mass. Form into a disk shape, tightly wrap in plastic, and let rest in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes (or longer as Julia recommends, 2 hours or more). At this point, you can freeze for future use.

Ingredients for filling
1/2 cup ground pecan meal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
16 Apricots (slightly firm – not too soft)
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
Apricot jam (optional)
Brandy (optional)

Procedure to assemble
To make the Frangipane filling, put the pecan meal, sugar, 1 egg, butter,and vanilla, in food processor and process till a smooth paste forms.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take the disk of dough from the refrigerator. Let it soften slightly so that it will roll out fairly easily but is still cold. Unwrap the dough and press the edges of the disk so that there are no cracks. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk into a 12- to 14-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before using.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, spoon on the frangipane from the center out. Be sure to leave approximately a 2 inch border. Then slice the apricots in half and remove the pits. Arrange the apricots with the cut side up (again, leaving a 2 inch border). Sprinkle 1/4 sugar evenly over apricots. Fold edges of dough over the fruit, overlapping dough over itself, making sure that there are no tears or gaps that might allow juices to escape during cooking. Brush melted butter on the crust with a pastry brush and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar.

Place the Galette on lower section of oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling in the center. It you find the Galette is browning too quickly, lightly tent aluminum foil on top. Remove the Galette from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. To add some extra glamour to the Galette, heat Apricot jam with a splash of Brandy in a small saucepan. Brush the melted jam on the apricot filling. Serve warm or at room temperature.