A generous measure of sea salt heightens the seductive bittersweetness of the caramel that is drizzled onto this rustic free-form tart just before serving. The result is a full, deep caramel flavor that pairs perfectly with tender lemon-scented apples encased in a buttery, flaky crust.
Apple Galette with Salted Caramel
For the dough:
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbs. cream cheese
4 to 6 Tbs. ice water
3 apples, preferably Crispin or Pink Lady, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
All-purpose flour as needed
1 egg whisked with 1 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. turbinado sugar
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. water
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs. dark rum
1/2 tsp. fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
To make the dough, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla. In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt and pulse briefly. Add the butter and pulse briefly. Add the cream cheese and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the yolk mixture and pulse to combine. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Using a fork, stir in 4 Tbs. of the ice water to bring the dough together into a rough mass. Squeeze a small piece of dough; if it doesn’t hold together without crumbling, stir in the remaining water, 1 Tbs. at a time. Gather the dough into a ball on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the apple slices in a bowl. Finely grate the zest from the lemon into the bowl, then squeeze 1 Tbs. lemon juice over the apples. Add 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, the cinnamon and the salt and toss well.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 15- to 16-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Fold the dough into quarters and unfold it onto the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the apples in the center of the dough, leaving a 3-inch border uncovered. Fold the dough edges over the apples, loosely pleating the dough and leaving the galette open in the center.
Brush the dough with the egg mixture and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Cut 1 Tbs. of the butter into small pieces and scatter over the apples. Refrigerate the galette for 30 minutes. Bake the galette until the crust is deeply browned, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and the water. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat, checking the sugar often. Once the sugar starts to melt, uncover and swirl the pan occasionally until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sugar turns into a deep amber-brown caramel, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat, carefully add the cream (the caramel will hiss and bubble vigorously) and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter, the rum and fleur de sel. Let cool slightly.
To serve, transfer the galette to a platter or cutting board, cut it into wedges, divide among serving plates and drizzle with the caramel. Serves 6 to 8.