Crinkly leaves, still attached to the tress, bristling as the wind moves. Staggering your gait so that each footstep crunches an acorn. A season of transition: from breezy summer to homey fall warmth. At this time of year, I have an uncontrollable urge to bake—and thank goodness my mother and sister are nearby to help me with the eating! This hybrid tart-galette, inspired by a similar smitten kitchen recipe, is a rustic apple and nut dessert that I’ve gussied up a bit. A brush of butter, a sprinkle of sugar, and a coating of pink spiced apple syrup—this on top of melt-in-your-mouth apples, nestled on a bed of sweet ground nuts. It’s a “naked tart” because the apples are the centerpiece here, with very little dough. For me, galettes tend to be too crust-heavy, so this tart is my compromise. And whether you’re describing or eating it, that’s quite a mouthful.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cold butter, cubed
2 tbsp cold water
2-3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (save the peels and cores)
squeeze of lemon juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1 tsp all-purpose flour
2 heaping tbsp sugar, divided
1 tbsp butter, melted
the reserved peels and cores from the apples
1/4 cup sugar
pinch ground ginger
First, the apples. In a mixing bowl, toss the slices with lemon juice and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter to the bowl and combine using the tips of your fingers. Little lumps are okay.
Stir in the cold water, little by little, until the dough just holds together. Form it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.
To make the almond filling base, pulse nuts, flour, and sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
Preheat oven at 400 F. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit for 5 minutes, to bring the temperature down a bit so that you can work with it. Place it on a floured surface and roll it out to a thin thin circle, slightly larger than the size of the pan you’re using. Lay it in the pan.
Spread the nut mixture over the bottom of the crust.
Now, lay the apples in an overlapping spiral. I suggest putting the less-asthetically-pleasing slices on the bottom layer, quietly tucked out of sight. Fold any extra dough up and over the sides of the apples (there won’t be much–this is a naked galette, after all). Brush crust and apples with 1 tbsp melted butter, sprinkle with sugar, and pop in the oven. Cook about 45 minutes, rotating every 15 or so. If you find that the slices of apple are browning too quickly (I did!), cover the pan with a sheet of foil, and just remove the foil 10 minutes or so before you take the pie out, so it can finish browning up.
While the tart cooks, prepare the syrup topping. In a saucepan, combine apple peels and cores, sugar, nutmeg, ginger, and just enough water to cover them. Simmer for about 25 minutes, then remove from heat and strain out the pieces.
When the crust is golden brown, remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Then brush all over with the spiced apple syrup.
Serve as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yummy.