I was a very lucky little Dusty Baker in that I spent the majority of this past weekend surrounded by fancy food and scrumptious cocktails. The Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival definitely didn’t disappoint in either of those categories.
But, hey, I’m not a pastry chef. Yes, I spend most of my time dreaming about alternative flours and wishing I were in a kitchen and not on a computer. And maaaaaybe I find the things actual chefs do with pastry incredibly sexy. But fancy-pants, personally, I am not.
So I was particularly at home when attending the Beekman Boys’ demo at the Grand Tasting on Sunday. Farms? Goats? 8-minute pastry? Put the kettle on, boys, I’m stopping in.
The Fabulous Beekman Boys – otherwise known as Brent and Josh – own a farm upstate. They bought it as weekend retreat before they both lost their jobs and needed to turn it into a mortgage-paying enterprise. NYC foodies by nature, they turned their inherited goats (80 of them) into a soap-making machine. Then cheese. Then the rest is history.
Now they’ve got a new book out, following their documentary-like show on Planet Green, and are cornering the heirloom recipe market in all that’s old-school and tasty.
Which is exaclty what their demo was – old-school and extremely tasty. With casual banter and a genteel charm, they made a galette with nothing more than a heaping cup of flour, a stick of butter, a fistful of sugar, a splash of milk, a rough chop of rosemary, some drizzled honey and some apples. A recipe so easy you don’t need to write it down. Which I didn’t. Until this post.
What I shared with them (as I sat with a happy smile in the front row) was a love of lack-of-recipes-recipes. Many that I’ve inherited from my family contain “a soup-spoon of butter” and “enough water to dissolve the yeast”. I’ve made pastries alongside my Tia that may be two eggs and a cup of flour away from the original… and seem to work as amounts are remedied during the eye-ball process. I love the feeling of just throwing things in a mixer, and the intuition that comes from just knowing how a basic pastry works.
It was also fitting that they described this as the perfect thing to whip together when a friend calls to say they’ll be stopping by on their way home from church… in about ten minutes. Because as I wrapped up an article this morning I was just about to strap on my apron when an out-of-town friend asked if she could stop in… and that she had just parked her car down the street. We had inherited some apples from my neighbor. I always have flour, butter and the like on hand. And I still have rosemary growing in my window-boxes. I could throw this together in eight minutes. So I did.
So this recipe is yours for the adaptation. I used my standard gluten-free cake blend as my flour, palm sugar as my crust sweetener, and the rest of the leftover lavender-honey that I had on my shelf (from my current prosciutto-cheese-basil-melon-honey obsession that’s sadly going out the window along with the summer rain). Use whatever fruit or savory ingredient you have on hand. Add or omit sweetener as you see fit. Grab whatever herbs from your garden or window box that sound exciting. And enjoy the simple, homemade creation that is truly yours for the baking.
- 1 heaping cup flour (a basic gluten-free / gluten-free cake blend works perfectly)
- A handful of sugar (I used palm sugar)
- A dash of kosher salt
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- Milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
- About 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (or comparable amount of fruit or savory veg)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 2 Tbsp honey or however you want to sweeten the fruit
- Dried lavender florets, optional
- Egg white, yolk or milk to wash
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with Silpat if desired.
- In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sweetener.
- Cut butter into thin slices and toss in.
- With a fork, blend flour mixture and butter until flaky. They pointed out that most recipes say “pea-sized”, but with the fork method it’s more flake than pea.
- Add enough milk, slowly, pulling together with fork until the dough just comes together.
- Roll on a floured surface until thin, either into a round or somewhat rectangular shape.
- Transfer to baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the center (leaving about an inch on all sides) with rosemary.
- Optional: toss apples with about 2 Tbsp lemon.
- Fill crust with apples, leaving a lip around the edge.
- Drizzle with honey or sugar.
- Fold the ends in to make a rounded crust, making sure there are no holes in the dough, and press to meet.
- Wash with egg or milk.
- Bake about 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Serve warm, preferably to drop-in guests.