When I went to the farmers’ market a couple weekends ago, I couldn’t believe it because I saw the apple stand for the first time. Usually that means it’s fall, and two weeks ago, it felt like anything but fall in St. Louis. It was still upward of 90 degrees F and so humid that my hair puffed up every time I walked outside.
Now it’s cooled off a bit, and it’s easier to believe that fall is coming. Even though it seemed way too early to do this, I used the first of the season’s apple crop to make a caramel apple galette.
I like making galettes because they’re sort of a blank canvas for anything you want to put on top. They’re an especially good vehicle for fruit, which pairs well with buttery, flaky pastry and sugar.
The star of this galette, though, is the homemade caramel sauce. Believe it or not, I had never made caramel before making this galette. I thought it would be difficult, but it’s actually pretty easy as long as you pay attention every step of the way. Making caramel is all about watching for different smells, colors, and textures. You start with sugar and water, add cream and butter incrementally, and then toss in some vanilla and salt at the last minute, once the sauce is thick and brown.
I had extra sauce after drizzling some on top of the tarts, so I put it in a glass jar in the fridge. You can warm it up if you want to use it again, because it will harden in colder temperatures.
One more note: Any apple works well in this recipe, but I think tart apples work especially well. It balances the sweetness and gives it a kick.
Here’s a song to get you started on your caramel apple galette journey.
Caramel Apple Galette
for the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
pinch of salt
for the galette dough:
1 cup AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
7 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water
for the galette:
1 1/2 Tbsp AP flour
2 Tbsp sugar
3-4 tart apples, sliced thin
1/4 cup caramel sauce
First, make the galette dough. Pulse together the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until small pieces form. Transfer the mixture to a wide bowl and work the dough with your fingers until it starts coming together. Sprinkle the ice water over the dough and continue tossing until the dough comes together completely. Form into a ball, tightly wrap in plastic wrap, flatten it slightly into a disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Next, make the caramel sauce. Mix together the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is boiling. Make sure your cream is measured out and your butter is cut up.
Raise the heat to high and cook the mixture without stirring for about eight minutes, swirling it every so often until the mixture starts to color. Lower the heat a little and let the mixture take on a deep brown color.
Turn off the heat and pour in the cream. It will be a little chaotic in the pan so protect your hand with an oven mitt. Once the mixture settles, whisk in the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla seeds and salt. Cool the caramel completely before serving and storing.
Finally, assemble your tart. Take the galette dough out of the fridge and allow it to come to more of a room temperature. Roll it out into a 12-inch circle. Put the dough on a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate it while you cut the apples. Leave a border and sprinkle the dough with flour and half the sugar. Layer your apple slices on top and then sprinkle on the rest of the sugar. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Fold the edges of the galette over the fruit, then refrigerate the entire tart until it’s firm.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Take your prepared tart out of the fridge and brush the edges with cold water and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Allow the galette to cool slightly before serving. Ice cream or whipped cream is delicious on top. Enjoy!