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Ga-Lette Me Make You A Tart

In the final post of this series, find out how to fire up the oven to turn seasonal fruits and veggies into a simple tart or galette. Perfect for a fall or winter day.

Recipe: Happy Apple Tart

Recipe: Mucho Mango Tart

Recipe: Lavender Cherry Galette

If you're new to this series, you can catch up at the Mostly Plants homepage, and check out Week 1 - Berry Special Plants to find out the inspiration behind the Mostly Plants name.

by Lynley Jones

Happy Endings

It feels a little inauspicious to end a series on Week 13, but, lo and behold, that's exactly where we're at. (On second thought, maybe that's appropriate the week before Halloween....) But actually, this whole series has been about bravely facing whatever nature and the calendar send our way, taking a culinary deep breath, and making something wonderful with it. So we won't let some little unlucky number get in our way now, will we?

Happy Apples

In fall, we are blessed with an abundance of apples! (I like to point these things out, as a courtesy to those who may be visiting Adventure Kitchen from the rock underneath which they've been living forever.)

Stayman Winesap apples, an heirloom variety, at the Montclair Farmers' Market.  Winesap and stayman winesap apples are good cooking apples.

I know you don't need me to tell you what to do with apples. You can eat them out of hand and you can cut them into wedges and dip them in honeyed mascarpone cheese. You can slice them thin and add them to your peanut butter sandwich along with some toasted slivered almonds. You can cover them in caramel and impale them with a sturdy stick. You can give one to a deserving teacher. You can cut them into chunks and simmer them with a splash of cider on the stove to make a hot topping for pancakes or ice cream. You can turn them into applesauce. And you can probably bake them into a delicious apple pie.

If you want to, you can use my recipe to make them into a Happy Apple Tart. I originally created this recipe for a Thanksgiving cooking class I taught at a local elementary school a couple of years ago. It's simple, it's healthy, it's mostly plants, it's really delicious, and it's versatile. You can make it with kids on a cozy afternoon, you can make it for your Halloween party, and you can totally serve it on your Thanksgiving dessert table. It's much less fussy than a traditional apple pie, but delivers all the same crusty/apple-y goodness.

You can serve it simply on its own, or with whipped cream or vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. Or, if you want to get a little fancier, you could whip up a batch of Cajeta de Leche (Mexican caramel sauce) to drizzle on top. Everyone will be duly impressed and your taste buds will be thrilled with you.

Ga-lette Me Explain

I use the word happy in the name Happy Apple Tart because that tart just makes me so dang happy. This is in part because I originally created it for one of my very first cooking classes, and it was a huge hit with those kids. In that class, we cooked our way through the true story of the "first" Thanksgiving, and that recipe helped to tell one of the happy parts of a story that has a lot of sad parts, too. It felt good.

Happy Apple Tart made in the Adventure Kitchen.

It's also happy because that photograph marks a mini-accomplishment for my growing skills; it was one of the first food photographs on this website of which I could actually feel kind-of proud.  

But mostly, it's happy because it epitomizes everything cooking is, at its best. With a well-made pate brisee pie crust, it's special and delicious. Made with in-season apples, it's seasonal and natural, good for planet, body and soul. It's simple, and it brings everyone together. Anyone can make it, and everyone can feel proud when they do. It's for everybody. 

Ga-Lette Me Define: Tarts and Galettes

Classic French Fruit Tart made in the Adventure Kitchen.

A tart is an open-faced, flat pie, served standing up on its own, out of the pan it was cooked in. Tarts can be made with precision, in a specially designed tart pan, as in this Classic French Fruit Tart. Or, alternatively, tarts can be made simply and rustically, like they are in this week's recipes. 

Rustic tarts made by folding the pastry up over the edges of the fillings are called galettes. So, just like a square is one type of rectangle, a galette is one type of tart. Make sense?

You can use this approach to make a savory galette, like I did recently while cooking with two little girls on their day off from school. We slathered a rolled out pie crust with mascarpone cheese, then spread sliced tomatoes on top, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We added some torn basil leaves when it came out of the oven, and it was simple and delicious.

I discovered last winter (in research for my People Like Pie series at that time) that ancient Greeks and Romans pioneered galette-making, and in so doing, introduced pies to the planet.

Lavender Cherry Galette

Lavender Cherry Galette made in the Adventure Kitchen.

I created this Lavender Cherry Galette recipe for last winter's series as an homage to the ancient Romans' place in pie history. Once you've got the pie dough, it's so extremely simple, it's almost ridiculous to write it in recipe form. But the defining ingredient, dried lavender petals, makes it alluring. They are there as a nod to Cleopatra, adding her perfume-scented contribution to Rome's place in history. 

The (literally) cool thing about this recipe is that it was specifically written to use frozen cherries. That makes it a perfectly seasonal contribution to your winter baking repertoire. And seriously, it couldn't really be easier. Just pull the cherries out of the freezer, toss them in a bowl with a couple other things, dump them into the pastry, fold up the edges and stick it in the oven. Plan to make this for Christmas dinner, or any time you want something warm and special this winter.

Mucho Mango Tart

Mucho Mango Tart made in the Adventure Kitchen.

Mucho Mango Tart definitely meets the definition of a tart, but it's not a galette, since the pastry isn't folded up around the edges. This super-simple tart dish is another one of my faves. It's made with mangoes, which are seasonal twice a year: first as spring turns to summer, and then again as fall turns to winter (soon!). Mangoes definitely aren't local here in northern New Jersey, but I can get a really good deal on them at my local Whole Foods and a couple other places when they're in season. 

I originally created this recipe for the very first children's cooking class I ever taught: Mexican Cooking Fiesta. The puff pastry (easy to find in the freezer section) tells the story of the short-lived attempt at Mexican domination by the French, while the authentically Mexican toppings (Autulfo mangoes, vanilla and cinnamon) honor the proud Mexican heritage which came out on top in the end. You can make this even more proudly Mexican by serving it with Cajeta de Leche on top.


Recipes

Happy Apple Tart

Cinnamon apples in a rustic galette-style crust.

Lavender Cherry Galette

A simple, rustic tart created to evoke the Roman Empire and the mysterious, sultry appeal of Cleopatra.

Mucho Mango Tart

Miles of mangoes and flaky puff pastry combine to provide an impressive end to any feast.