The Gravenstein Apple: Jewel of Sonoma County

Behold, the Gravenstein apple.

The Gravenstein apple possesses a delicate balance of sweet and tart, making it perfect for baking with.  It ripens in late July, and so is one of the first apples ready for the market each year. The Gravenstein is also the hallmark of Sonoma County where they have been growing since 1811.

I ran into a Gravenstein booth from Sebastopol, CA while perusing the Marin Farmer’s Market this past week. Knowing the apple was both in season AND local, I thought ‘I’m gonna make a pie out of you’. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a pie pan. I quickly resorted to my absolute favorite galette recipe from Saltie, a tiny sandwich shop/bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Following is the divine recipe, as well as a quick note on the current state of the Gravenstein apple. I encourage you to try out the recipe and replace the fruit with something seasonal and local to your area!

Fruit Galette (adapted from Saltie)

For the dough:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon course sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, diced
ice water

For the filling:

3 apples, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg
sugar for sprinkling

Making the dough:

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the diced butter. Pinch and crumble it into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse meal. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of ice water and toss lightly. Continue to add water until the dough just comes together. Beware; too much water will make the dough tough. Gather the dough together and form it into a disk about 1-inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill, at least 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes prior to rolling it out.

Making the filling:

Place the sliced apples (or whatever fruit you choose) in a large bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fruit until it is coated thoroughly. Drizzle in the melted butter and toss. Sprinkle in the sugar, lemon zest, and nutmeg…toss again. Add the flour…mix again.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a well-floured, flat surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Don’t worry about making it a perfect circle! A galette is rustic. Scoop your filling into the center of the dough and arrange the fruit in a way you like. Make sure to leave a 1-inch border empty. Gently fold the dough up and over the fruit in a ruffled pattern. Lightly whisk the egg and brush onto the dough. Sprinkle with sugar and pop it into the oven! Bake the galette until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling. This can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool and Bon Appétit!

Slow Food USA declared the Gravenstein apple a heritage food in 2005. To learn more about how it is being protected visit

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