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Your guests will be impressed.

Image: Ray Kuglar

Jaime Salazar is a wily chef. After signing for a $2,000 delivery of caviar to the kitchen one afternoon at Brasserie 19, he showed us how to make a beautiful, scrumptious dessert that’s quick, easy and likely to convince your guests you’re a pastry genius: his spiced apple galette, which he says is like “the holidays on a plate.”

One of the time-savers is the frozen puff pastry dough. “Especially at Thanksgiving, you have so much on your hands,” says Salazar. “You have to make the mashed potatoes, the gravy, the turkey—and with this, the puff pastry’s ready, you just throw it in the oven. It’s delicious, super-flaky, and you don’t have to dirty more dishes.”

But what makes the dessert a real showstopper, Salazar insists, is the caramel. “If you can make a good caramel, you can definitely impress your guests.” The key is to take it off the stove before it looks done, because it will keep cooking—and can burn—afterward. As soon as it takes on the hue of honey, he says, pull it off the heat.

You can make both the caramel and the apple filling beforehand. In fact, says Salazar, “If you make the apples the day before, they’ll be ten times better.” And if you have any caramel left over, keep it for iced coffee.

Recipe: Spiced Apple Galettes

Serves 6

Ingredients

For filling: 

  • 6 small Honeycrisp apples
  • 6 oz. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. brown sugar
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ t. ground allspice
  • ¼ t. ground cloves
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 oz. Calvados apple brandy (or bourbon)

For caramel:

  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 2 oz. water
  • 4 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 oz. unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. Calvados apple brandy (or bourbon)
  • Pinch sea salt

For assembling:

  • 1 lb. package of puff pastry
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten

For serving:

  • Galette and caramel
  • Vanilla gelato (B19 uses Trentino)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

For filling:

  • To prepare apples, peel, cut in half, remove seeds and cut slices, approximately 1/4-inch thick.
  • In a sauté pan, add the butter and stir to melt over medium heat.
  • Add the apples and toss for 3–4 minutes, until they begin to soften slightly.
  • Add spices, salt and Calvados and flambé for one minute (Salazar recommends a long match or lighter).
  • Add sugar and cook down for 4 minutes.
  • Transfer apples to a container and allow to cool completely.

For caramel:

  • Simmer sugar and water over medium heat and swirl pan contents by shaking (not stirring) it for approximately 12 minutes or until a honey color is reached. Be careful to not let the caramel burn.
  • Turn off heat and slowly whisk in the heavy cream.
  • Whisk in butter, Calvados and sea salt, then set aside to cool.

For assembling:

  • Cut your puff pastry into 6 rectangles, 5” x 3”, and lay them on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Using a fork, repeatedly “dock” or prick the center of each piece of dough, leaving a quarter inch around the border untouched. (This will allow the edges to rise around the apples.)
  • Arrange the apples in a line on each rectangle, avoiding the quarter-inch border that will form the crust.
  • Sprinkle some of the reserved liquid from the apples over top of each.
  • Brush the quarter-inch rims with beaten egg wash, which will give the galettes a golden-brown crust.
  • Place tray in oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, then reduce to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until pastry is golden-brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. 

For serving:

  • Serve with caramel. Salazar put his in a squeeze bottle before drizzling, which produced an elegant result.
  • Add a scoop of vanilla gelato and dust with powdered sugar.
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