so often we talk of dreams - of goals, perfect worlds, and people we aspire to be. we talk and we fantasize, and maybe we even make plans, but too often nothing happens. we don't take actions and our visions remain visions. last weekend my best friend ran 37.2 miles. 37.2 miles. she took action. she fought her uncertainty and fear with bravery and courage. while watching her run those miles [both as a spectator and as a runner for the last few] i was struck by so much - her stamina and endurance, her determination and fearlessness. but, more than anything, i was struck by how much she believed in herself.
believing in yourself. it seems so simple - and it really is - so why is it also so hard? undoubtedly, the things that have kept me from taking chances all, more or less, boil down to self doubt. what if I'm not good enough? what if I fail? i have allowed this doubt to fester, and it grows - rooting itself in my thoughts to the point that i become my biggest obstacle. i know i'm not alone in this. why do we do this to ourselves? why do we talk ourselves out of the very things we want to do, the things we strive for? think about how much we could do, how much we could accomplish, if we all just started believing in ourselves. after all, if someone shoots for the moon and fails, is it really her failure that people remember? i'd hope not.
so, let's believe in ourselves. let's be strong. let's let our ambition and passion drive our actions, not our fear or hesitations. not to say that we won't be mindful or realistic, but let's just focus a little less on what we think we can't do, and a little more on what we think we can. because, chances are, if we think we can do something, we can. and, if we can't, at least we believed in ourselves enough to try. thank you, court, for the reminder.
apple galettes with caramel
i have to admit that i couldn't help but laughing when i first bit into one of these galettes - it was just that good. the flavors are simple, so it is really important to use the best ingredients possible. Don't even TRY this without homemade caramel sauce, as it makes the dish. if i can overcome my fear of burning sugar, so can you.
for the pastry: recipe adapted from happy yolks
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour [I substituted 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour, just to add a slight heartiness]
2 teaspoons raw cane sugar [for texture]
pinch of salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup ice water
In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until small pieces are incorporated throughout (the mixture will be the consistency of coarse meal). Cut in the remaining butter. Pour in water and knead dough with your hands until the dough is smooth, and no longer sticky. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
for the caramel sauce: recipe adapted from not without salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes [1/2 stick]
1/2 cup heavy cream
add sugar, water, and lemon juice to a heavy bottomed medium to large sauce pan. stir to combine. take a damp paper towel and wipe down sides of pan to make sure no sugar granuals are sticking to the sides [this step is really important, as any isolated sugar granuals will burn and ruin the caramel].
over high heat, boil the sugar water for about 7-8 minutes or until it resembles the color of a penny, swirling the pan every once in a while [do not stir]. it is important to not leave the stove during this cooking process, as the sugar can easily burn.
once the sugar water is a deep amber, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the heavy cream and butter [the caramel will bubble vigorously, so stand back]. use a wooden spoon to gently stir until combined. allow to cool until thickened [about 30 - 45 minutes] and transfer to a mason jar. caramel can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
for the apples: *if you are making one large galette, you will want to prepare more apples
1 large apple or 2 small, cored and sliced very thinly [I used honey crisp apples because they maintain a bit of firmness once baked]
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
combine apple slices with sugar and cinnamon and allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes.
assembling the galettes:
about 1/2 cup heavy cream
sugar [to taste]
raw cane sugar [for garnish]
1/4 cup chopped walnuts [for garnish]
preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
on a floured board, roll out the dough to about a 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 5" biscuit cutter or small bowl, cut out 6 rounds [keep re-rolling scraps of dough and cutting rounds until you have 6].
on each round, arrange 5-6 apple slices in the middle of the dough and fold the edges up over the sides, to make a small package, with the top of the apples exposed. repeat for remaining 5 rounds. transfer the 6 galettes to a cookie sheet and brush the edges of dough with heavy cream. while still wet, sprinkle raw cane sugar liberally over the exposed dough. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the apples.
bake until golden brown, about 35 - 40 minutes.
while the galettes are baking, combine the remaining heavy cream with sugar to taste [1-2 teaspoons should do it] and whip until the mixture forms soft peaks. [as an alternative to whipping, you can also just add the heavy cream and sugar to a large mason jar and shake vigorously].
when the galettes are finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 - 10 minutes. transfer to serving plates and drizzle each liberally with caramel sauce. finish each galette with a dollop of whipped cream.