So this week the Petits Chefs were slated to head out on our final field trip for cooking club this year. The boys love a good field trip and were pretty excited. On Monday morning I opened up my email quickly ahead of a super busy day to read our chef was at home sick so there would be no field trip. Fuzzy-headed from over 2 weeks of sinus/ head cold myself, I struggled with what to do but decided to go ahead and host the club myself, despite the fact that I had no idea what we would make, since I hadn’t been grocery shopping and our pantry supplies were looking a little low as we approach the end of the year. I fired off all the necessary emails to parents re: new pickup time and headed out to teach, scratching my head a little re: what to make with a very short window to go grocery shopping (if at all).
Throughout the morning, I pondered the question of “what to make when the cupboard is bare” then about halfway through one of my classes I had a bit of an “AHA” moment. THIS, this is what cooking club is all about – teaching the boys to cook. Maybe not always following a recipe but looking at what you have on hand and figuring it out.
Checking the cupboard, I saw we literally had 1.5 cups of flour left. Phew. Enough for pastry. Running upstairs to the fridge, I was relieved to see *around* 200g of butter and some milk in the fridge. Since I don’t have a scale at school right now (it’s taking a little vacation in our French kitchen!), I knew I would have to figure out weight of the butter by guesswork. No problem. I asked the kitchen if I might have a few spare apples and some liquid egg and I was set. We’d made shortcrust pastry and fill it with apples. Voilà, simple apple galette.
While the boys were disappointed they were not going on a field trip, they were relieved to hear that we would be making a sweet treat (it’s not that common). When they had figured out what it was we would be doing by taking a look at the ingredients, I was reassured to hear them one of them say. “Oh yeah, pastry. I know how to do that,” as he remembered the “rough puff” pastry we had made in Term 1. I’d also made rough puff apple tarts with the boys last year so I knew it would be a popular choice. And, of course, pastry is always fun! And hey. when a 10 year-old says pastry is “easy” you feel pretty accomplished!
We got to work, chopping butter for the pastry…. (we made this in the food processor this week, though in the past we’ve done it by hand).
And working with pastry. We didn’t have time to chill this the requisite 30 minutes (one of the boys said “The recipe says to chill it but this is cooking club so we don’t always follow the recipe” – LOVE that!)…
As I was taking the photo below of one of the boy’s creations, the rest of them started lining up behind him. I asked what they were doing and one of them said “You had better take a photo of this so there’s proof I made it because I’m going to eat it immediately”. I’d say that would be the best compliment ever.
- For the pastry
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 125g very cold butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons ice cold water or milk
- For the filling
- 6 small apples
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- small cubes of butter to top the apples
- To assemble
- 1 egg beaten for egg wash
- For the pastry:
- Sift the flour into a large bowl.
- Add the sugar and whisk gently to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and, using your fingers, lightly rub in the butter to the flour/ cornmeal/ salt until is resembles breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas (you can do this in a food processor as well)
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the egg.
- Mix the flour into the wet ingredients until it just starts to come together.
- Add the water or milk and incorporate until the dough just comes together. The dough should be firm enough to form a ball - it might be a little crumbly but press the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.
- Meanwhile, peel and finely slice your apples, just before you start to roll out the pastry.
- To assemble:
- Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, divide into 6-8 portions and roll between parchment or wax paper or onto a lightly floured surface until each piece is about 10cm inches in diameter.
- Place the pastry disks on a baking tray lines with parchment.
- Place the apple slices carefully on the pastry disks, leaving a border of about 1.5cm wide.
- Fold the uncovered edges of dough up and around the filling, working your way around the galette. You'll end up with pleated edges that are a little rough and you might need to trim some uneven parts to ensure you don't end up with a thick area of just crust.
- Sprinkle the top of each galette with 1 tablespoon sugar and top with a dob of butter.
- Brush the edges of the galettes with a little egg wash.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden, the sugar has slightly caramelized and the butter is melted on top.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Et voilà! Simple comme bonjour, as they say in French!
I know these were a hit because a few emails came back saying “That must have been good, there was none left” from parents 😉
Though it might seem like a simple recipe and not much “hands on”, I think it’s important to show the boys what you can make when “there’s nothing in the house to eat“. In just under an hour we had a gorgeous, tasty dessert with ingredients we had on hand. Now THAT’S cooking, right?