Onion Soup & Apple Galette

October 27, 2010

The library always smells like this:
an ancient stew of vinegar and wood.
It’s autumn again,
and I can do anything.

‘In the Library’ Dorothea Grossman

A return to autumn, a return to cooking, a return to wholeness. Looking towards the changing leaves – the chlorophyll is not as abundant and the days are shorter. The earlier nights mean a time for reflection, and a time for soul-warming foods. I am grateful for the abundance of fall produce: apple, squashes, pumpkins, pears, onions, potatoes, fennel – food that reminds us of home and clings to our ribs a little tighter, preparing us for the dreary months ahead. The richness of color deceives us, as nature turns toward sleep, and death.

It is in these cycles, these rhythms, that we find life: in the kind words of a genuine friend, the welcome to a familiar place, the smell of good coffee, to hold the hand of someone you love, and yes, even the color of butternut squash. Turn your eyes toward the changing leaves, and your heart toward someone you love; open a bottle of red wine, and please, make some french onion soup. Finish out a simple meal with a rustic apple galette, and I assure you, autumn abundance will bring you to a momentary complete joy.

Onion Soup

Onion soup is overwhelmingly simple, and quite satisfying. The sweetness of caramelized onions matched with the earthiness of red wine and beef stock makes a warming combination. Pair it with Gruyere toasts and a leafy green salad, and dinner is made.

adapted loosely from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child

1 1/2 pounds or about 6 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (helps the onions to brown)
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of boiling water and 1 quart of stock or bouillon
1/2 cup dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Rounds of hard-toasted French bread
1 to 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in the covered saucepan for 15 minutes.

Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle the flour and stir for three minutes.

Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes of more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning.

For serving Onion Soup the traditional way (Soupe a’ L’Oignon Gratinee [Onion Soup Gratineed with Cheese]), preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bring the soup to the boil and pour into oven safe bowls. Float the rounds of toast on top of the soup, and spread the grated cheese over it. Sprinkle with the oil or butter. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, then set for a minute or two under a preheated broiler to brown the top lightly. Serve immediately.

Apple Galette

I love how rustic this free form tart looks. I combined a few Chez Panisse recipes ideas for this: Claire Ptak’s from The Green Kitchen, as well as an Alice Waters recipe. It strips down apple pie to a simple desert, showcasing the beauty and flavor of the apples inside a buttery pastry dough. Boiling the apple peels and cores in water and sugar utilizes what would be thrown away or composted, to further enhance the apple intensity. Serve warm with loosely whipped cream.

Dough (makes enough for 2 12-inch tarts)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
12 T unsalted butter, cold
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice-cold water (before you begin mixing your dough, measure 1/2 cup very cold water in a liquid measuring cup and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes)
4 or 5 medium apples (for one galette)
1 egg

Measure the flour and salt into a bowl.  Cut the butter into 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes and put about half of it into the bowl.  Work it into the flour with your fingertips, lightly rubbing and breaking the flour-coated pieces of butter into small bits, until the mixture is roughly the texture of oatmeal or cornmeal.  Add the rest of the butter and work it quickly into the ough until the pieces of butter are about half their original size.  Dribble the water into the dough while tossing the mixture with a fork.  Keep adding water only until the dough begins to clump and hold together when you squeeze a handful.  You may not need the full 1/2 cup.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces and gather each part into a ball.  Wrap each ball in plastic or wax paper and flatten into a disk.  Let the rest, refrigerated, for about an hour.  If you plan to make only 1 galette, freeze the second disk for later use. 

When ready to make the tart, let the dough warm up at room temperature for 15 minutes or so and preheat the oven to 4oo degrees.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface  in to a rough circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.  Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate while preparing the apples.

Peel the apples, core and slice them thinly. (Set aside peels and core.)  To make glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth. Toss apples with 1-2 T of sugar depending on how sweet the apples are.  Then arrange the apples in circles on the tart dough, leaving a 1  1/2 inch border of dough around the whole circumference.  Fold the edges of the dough up over the apples, and brush the rim lightly with beaten egg.  Sprinkle sugar over the dough and apples, and dot with small pieces of the additional butter.  Bake in the lower part of the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the pastry is golden brown. Pour glaze over the apples and serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.


3 Responses to “Onion Soup & Apple Galette”

  1. […] here: Autumn: Onion Soup & Apple Galette « support future artists AKPC_IDS += "6358,";Popularity: unranked […]

  2. Mom said

    Oh, you make me proud sweetheart. Autumn yummy-ness. Who took all those fabulous photos? Love you a bushel and a peck. Yo’ Mama

  3. Paul said

    Not the greatest at describing the joys of food, but I know good food when I eat it…this was light, yet full of flavor. In a word, wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

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