Hi guys! Just when you think it’s been a long time, I take it just a liiiiiitle bit further. Like the writers on Family Guy. Here’s me: I’m gonna write every day! Here’s reality: Move to Mexico and have eleventy and a half million things to do every second of every day and then finally get there and go to sleep for a month. But whatever. We’re here! Yay us! And we’re off the boat for a while, save shortish trips, so I’m turning my energies, when not towards making decisions about the house–cuz oh yeah, we’re building a house (!) In Mexico(!)–to learning how to bake in a bbq.
I know. Why? Why in the name of a glistening crust and an open, airy crumb would anyone bake on a bbq? I mean besides all those people who are like, I ONLY use my bbq. I HATE ovens. It’s TOO HOT to cook in the house. I LIKE cooking outside! To which I say, Pizza? Absolutely. Ribs? Sure. Steak? Of course! Chicken? Oh hell yes, as long as you’re not a monster who ALWAYS overcooks chicken on the bbq (You know who you are. Get help!). But bread? Pastries? Brownies? Sob.
Here’s why, though. Cuz we rented a house, unbeknownst to us, that is sans oven. You heard me. Someone made this choice (to NOT install an oven in her kitchen, not to rent a house with no oven. Don’t judge!). Number five thousand, sixty-three on why it’s hard to move to Mexico: you have to rent a house over the Internet. Shit gets lost in translation, yo. Or gets omitted. Either way, like so many, many things I’m learning to adjust to, I’m a-cookin’ on the bbq, friends.
At first I didn’t think too much about the ramifications of a no-oven house, which is funny if you know me. Or not funny if you know me because this is typical. I spend pretty much every waking hour I can squeeze out of my day in the kitchen. So naturally, when we finally get here, and we settle all the outliers (lots!) with our landlord, and we get the long-anticipated, for-real, in-person-for-the-first-time house tour, I’m all like, oh, no oven? Whatever. It’s fine. Great cooktop; fine bbq; no problem here. It’s fine. Really. Just get out. And then two days later, I’m like, waaaaaiiiit a second. How I’m gonna bake with no oven?!
So, a little common sense (a bbq is a just hot box, same as an oven, right?), a little trial and error (sure, a hot box is a hot box, but an oven has racks; pans don’t sit RIGHT ON the flame in an oven (Sorry, scorched galettes!)), and a trip to home depot (clay pot drainage plates make great space-makers between pans and grates, and they’re only a dollar thirty-nine!), and huzzah! I’m baking in my “outdoor oven.”
P.S. Now I want a for reals outdoor oven. #ofcourseido #ontheohsoridiculouslylonglist
Gluten free apple galette
- I did not set out to make this. I set out to make a slab pie, which if you haven’t had one, is basically a giant Pop-Tart for grown ups. Also known as the perfect food, due to its ideal fruit:crust ratio. But I didn’t make enough pie crust (so, hi, make enough for three pies, or one and a half double-crust pies), and I did something wrong, which made the crust particularly hard to roll out. (Let’s not pretend it’s a big mystery. I left the dough in the fridge too long (overnight) and then didn’t have the patience to bring it up to temp, so naturally I tried to roll it out in its rock hard state, which, no big surprise = failure. So, don’t do that.) Also, this is a gluten free pie crust, so I’m not gonna lie. The struggle is real; suck it up and soldier on. So all of this is to say, if you want a delicious apple (or whatever fruit or berry you love and is in season) slab pie, and you don’t have Celiac disease, just go find a recipe for one and make it and do something fun with your extra time and lack of mind-numbing frustration. Like go put your feet up, and enjoy a slice of slab pie with a glass of rosé.
- More a tip than a note, but let’s not get all semantic. If you ever find yourself with some kind of pastry or pie dough that isn’t really working for whatever you’re trying to make (cough ::slab pie::), and you feel that urge well up inside of you to gather it all up into a ball and throw it at someone’s big fat stupid face (Hi. Goop, 45, or Kanye, for example), make a galette. Often referred to as a “rustic galette,” it’s “supposed to look that way,” tastes just as good as whatever you actually intended to make, and is always a crowd pleaser. It’s basically the foolproof solution to This Shit’s Not Rolling Out And I Want Me Some Pie Right Now situation.
- I’ve tried trillions of gf flour mixtures and pre-mixes, and it kind of depends on what you’re making, what you have on hand, and what you like, but in general, success usually comes from a mix of whole grain flours (e.g., oat, brown rice, millet, sorghum, teff, buckwheat, etc.), white flours/starches (white rice, sweet white rice, tapioca starch, potato starch, etc.), and some kind of binder (xanthum gum, psyllium husk, etc.). If you wanna get fancy, you can add some milk powder, which supposedly boosts the airiness, but I’m not convinced it makes much difference. If you don’t want to get fancy, experiment with just using one (oat, sorghum, and almond are my favorites). If you don’t wanna get fancy, you’re not super picky, and you have a fat bank account, use Cup4Cup. I’m currently using as my base 170g brown rice flour, 205g white rice flour, 120g tapioca flour, 165g sweet rice flour, and 2-ish tsp xanthum gum. But I improvise all the time, so don’t worry about it a whole lot.
All that said, if you’re still with me, here’s what.
325 grams GF flour (see #3 above or use whatever blend you’re currently enjoying)
3 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter (8 oz; 230 grams), very cold. (I keep mine in the freezer and then use the box grater to grate it over the flour mixture. If you keep yours in the fridge, cut it into little squares, about 1/4 of an inch, and work fast when cutting into your flour.)
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3 or 4 tbsp (or more, if needed) cold water
4 or 5 of your favorite apples (I use granny smith and pink lady, but use what you like), peeled, cored, and cut into half-inch chunks or thin slices
1/3 to 3/4 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like your pie-type things
A squeeze of lemon
3 tbsp of corn or tapioca starch
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of fresh nutmeg*
1/4 tsp allspice*
Pinch of salt
*Optional. Despite the current backlash en vogue, I like all kinda apple pie, fall-type spices (don’t be a hater!), so I add a bit more than listed, plus Chinese 5-spice, but do what you want here. You’re the boss.
1 egg, slightly beaten
A little extra sugar and cinnamon and few extra chunks of butter*
Make the crust
Heat the oven to 400 F
Line a 10x15x1 jelly roll pan with parchment paper
Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. If your butter is frozen, use a box grater to grate it over the flour mixture. If your butter is cold, sprinkle the pieces over the flour. Use your hands to cut the butter into the flour, squeezing the butter pieces between your fingers as you mix with the flour, until you have a bowl of what looks like wet sand with pea and small-marble sized chunks.
Add the vinegar and work into the mixture. Add the water a teaspoon at a time, working into the mixture just until you can pull it all together into a ball that holds. Don’t add too much water. You don’t want wet dough. Wet dough is dense and tough. Dry dough is airy and flaky and buttery.
Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling, no more than twenty minutes.
Make the filling
Put the apple chunks or slices in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir to coat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Set aside.
Roll out the dough
Remove the dough from the fridge. Dust a work surface with tapioca starch (or cornstarch or rice flour), remove the disc from the plastic wrap, and roll out with a rolling pin until you have a large rectangle, just over 10×15, so you can slide the dough onto your jelly roll pan and have enough hanging over each side to drape over the filling. Alternatively, you can roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. If you like this method, the upside is it’s a lot easier to get your dough onto the pan. (The downside is it makes me feel like an eco-terrorist.) Just lift it up by the saran wrap on one side, flip it over onto the pan, and then peel off the saran.
Scoop out the filling onto the prepared dough in the pan and spread around, so it’s evenly distributed in the center of the dough, leaving a couple of inches around the borders.
Gather up the dough around the edges and fold up and over the apples to cover about an inch to an inch and a half.
Brush the dough with the egg wash.
*If you’re feeling spicy, sprinkle the whole affair with a little more sugar and cinnamon, and drop a few chunks of butter into the filling. Just cuz. It won’t suffer without it, but who lives twice? No one!
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, rotating halfway through. Start checking in on it at around 40 minutes or so if you have OCD and/or aren’t totally trusting of your oven thermometer. Serve hot or warm with ice cream or not for dessert and/or with coffee for breakfast.