"less fussy" than a traditional French tart, and he's absolutely right. I like to make one of these when I've been a bit overzealous in buying fruit at the farmers' market, and I'm feeling too lazy to bake a pie.
In August, I came back from a weekend in Camden with a huge box of Maine blueberries and made a tasty galette with curls of lemon rind on top. But this apple galette turned out even better. I used a variety of apples--some picked at Dowse Orchards in Sherborn and some acquired at the Union Square Farmers' Market. When my mom bakes an apple pie, she likes to use at least five different kinds of apples, but I'm less ambitious. I did take her advice, however, on the best recipe for flaky pie crust, which comes from the Frog Commissary Cookbook (Frog was a restaurant in Philadelphia that opened in 1973). A few years ago she gave me her copy of the book, and the pie page is totally discolored from years of baking. I'm happy to add my own Crisco fingerprints when I use it.
As far as I can tell, this recipe is not available online--I keyed it in straight from the cookbook. Thank you, Steven Poses et al.
Flaky Pastry for Pie Crusts
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp cold vegetable shortening (or half butter & half shortening)
2-3 Tbsp cold water
In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Sprinkle on the water, 1 Tbsp at a time, while tossing the mixture with a fork. Gently gather up the dough with your hands and pat firmly into a ball. This is best used immediately.
To roll the dough, set the ball of dough on a sheet of wax paper and press it into a 6" circle. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and roll the dough from the center out into a 12" circle.
You can them remove the dough from the paper and place onto a baking sheet for a galette or into a proper pie plate. Chill until ready to use.