Chile peppers originated in the Americas and, according to archeologists, have been part of the human diet for almost 10,000 years. They were among numerous plants distributed around the world during the Columbian Exchange in the 15th century.
A chipotle pepper is a common jalapeño that has been smoke-dried. Its flavor is quite smoky, complex, and usually packs a noticeable wallop of moderate heat. Chipotles are made from the peppers that have been left on the vine to fully ripen into a deep red color.
The complex flavors of chile peppers make them adaptable to so many dishes, from savory to sweet. The Mayan and Aztec cultures have combined chiles with chocolate for centuries. My first experience with that combination was with a slice of ancho fudge pie from Z’ Tejas in Austin, Texas. That was an epiphany that led to a search for the recipe. I succeeded, and you can read about that pie here.
I have been caramelizing apples with sugar, cinnamon, and chipotles for some time now to use as a condiment alongside Forever Roast Pork, a classic recipe from Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena, California.
Placing the sweet-hot-cinnamony apples center stage in a rustic tart seems like the perfectly natural thing to do, especially when it’s all sitting under a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s a great combination — trust me.
Chipotle-glazed Apple Galette
The chipotle-glazed apple filling is adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit, 1999.
Foolproof Pie Dough from America’s Test Kitchen
Pie Dough Ingredients:
- ½ cup chilled Crisco, cut into 4 equal pieces
- 12 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter, cut into small slices about ¼ inch
- 2½ cups or 12½ ounces of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup ice water
- ¼ cup very cold vodka*
* We keep our vodka in the freezer and it’s always icy cold.
Makes enough dough for two rustic galettes.**
- After dividing the Crisco and slicing the butter, place them on a sheet of wax or parchment paper and freeze for a few minutes to thoroughly chill.
- Whiz 1½ cups of the flour, the salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor to combine.
- Add the chilled Crisco and butter and process for about 15 seconds until it becomes homogenous. It should look a bit like cottage cheese.
- Scrape down the bowl, add the remaining cup of flour and process for 4-6 quick pulses.
- Empty dough into a bowl and sprinkle the water and vodka over all.
- Using a rubber spatula, combine all using a folding motion (I use a pastry cutter until blended).
- Divide the dough into two equal balls and flatten into 4-inch disks.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes or up to two days.
- Using plenty of flour, roll out chilled dough to desired size.
Note: This dough is moister and more supple than most and will require more flour to roll out.
** Unused pie dough can be frozen for up to two months.
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons of cinnamon
- 4 medium red delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chiles with adobo, finely minced (more or less to taste)*
- 1 tablespoon of Demerara sugar for sprinkling over the galette
* Chipotle chiles in adobo can be quite hot. The main source of the heat is in the seeds, so if you can eliminate them the heat will be milder. Using only the adobo sauce will render the mildest and most balanced flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 400º F.
- Mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
- Toss the apple slices to coat.
- Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chipotles, stir to mix.
- Add the apple slices with the sugar cinnamon mixture that clings to them.
- Stir all until the apple slices are coated with the chipotles and butter.
- Toss and stir constantly until they begin to lightly caramelize.
- Remove from heat, cool slightly then add to the center of the prepared dough, leaving about 3 inches of dough uncovered.
- Carefully fold the edges of the dough over the outer edge of the apples and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.
- Transfer to a baking sheet and bake 30-35 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and crisp.**
** I rolled my dough out on a silicone baking sheet to facilitate the transfer to a baking sheet.