From a fresh food point of view, I don’t think there is a better time of year than early August. It seems like everything is ripe, and ready for the plucking. Our garden is bursting with cucumbers, squash, beets, green beans, the first of the tomatoes and sweet peppers, along with the already harvested onions, garlic and shallots. I always feel like a millionaire when the leeks are ready to eat, and ours now are. The herb garden is ready to add it’s own special touches to everything else we reap each day.
And you know – you know, I love every bit of that bounty. Love it.
But then there is the fruit. The fruit of summer is amazing stuff. Berries, plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries, pluots, apricots – my cup truly runneth over. Right now, when our little orchard is just getting started, we don’t have much fruit of our own growing. But, that doesn’t mean I am going to miss out on this – no, no, no. It doesn’t get much more local than going to your own backyard for most of your veggies, so I figure I have enough locavore points stored up to indulge us a bit.
That is where this galette comes in. I like the free-form ambiance of a galette. It doesn’t have to come out perfectly formed to be wonderful. A little juice can run out to caramelize underneath, and a few cracks in the crust just add to the rustic feel of it. A galette is casual – like summer itself.
The crust has enough cornmeal to give it a bit of extra crunch, but there is still lots of buttery flakiness, and you can combine whatever fruits you have on hand for the filling. The natural sweetness of the fruit does most of the talking, and the background hints of cinnamon and lemon do their part to highlight the lush summery flavor.If you have visited here before, you may have heard me talk about my former failures with pie crust, but now that I have it figured out, the crust for this galette is a walk in park – just keep it moving while you roll it out and all will be well. If a few of the aforementioned cracks show up, all the better.
So gather together whatever summer fruits you have on hand and lets get to it – the crust needs to rest for an hour, so make sure you leave a little extra time for that.
- 1 & ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup coarse cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- scant ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons very cold butter, cut in small cubes
- ⅓ cup ice water
- 3 nectarines [or peaches]
- ½ cup whole blueberries
- 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and cut in half
- ⅓ cup raw sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Measure the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor, and pulse a couple times.
- Add the butter cubes, and pulse about 8 times, until it resembles coarse meal - there should still be visible pieces of butter.
- Turn on the processor and stream in the cold water, just until it is incorporated - about 30 seconds.
- Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and smoosh it all together into a cohesive ball. Keep the plastic wrap between your fingers and the dough. It may seem like this will never happen, but just keep smooshing and it will.
- Flatten the ball into a disc, wrap well with the plastic wrap and set in the fridge to rest. It need to rest at least an hour, or up to several days.
- You can leave the skin on the nectarine if you like, or you can remove it.
- To remove - have a 3 quart pan of water on a high flame, until it begins to boil. In a bowl about the same size, have cold water, with a few ice cubes thrown in. Use a sharp knife to cut a shallow X in the nectarine skin - put the furit in the bowling water for about 30 seconds, remove from the boiling water and put in the ice water for a couple minutes. Then you can easily remove the skin, using your fingers, or a table knife.
- Cut the nectarine into slices - about 8 to 12 slices for each one. Put those slices in a bowl.
- Add the other fruit, the sugar, salt, cinnamon, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch. Allow this mixture to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If a lot of juice comes out of the fruit and the mixture seems watery, add more cornstarch. I used about 1 & ½ tablespoons for this one.
- Have a clean work surface well floured. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper, and set the oven to 350º.
- Unwrap the crust and roll out on the floured surface, turning very frequently, to keep it from sticking. You want a disk about 14 inches in diameter. Fold in quarters, or roll around your rolling pin and center on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Empty your fruit mixture into the center of the crust, and spread out in a circle, leaving about a half inch between the fruit and the closer edge of the sheet, but still keeping to a roughly circular shape.
- Fold the edges of the dough over the fruit, kind of taking pleats as you go around, to maintain the round shape of the galette.
- Brush the top surface of the crust with cream or milk and sprinkle with about a tablespoon more of raw sugar [this is optional, but it does make it look really nice]
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, turning a couple times to make sure it bakes evenly. If a lot of liquid runs out early on. you can kind of scoop that up with a large spoon and deposit it back in the center of the fruit, but it's not really necessary.
- Cool on the pan for about 15 minutes, and then move to a large plate for serving. Cut into wedges to serve. Good topped with ice cream, creme fraiche, whipped cream - or, as we enjoyed this one - still warm from the oven and plain.
Here it is, all warm and juicy from the oven.
Some of the juice will run out, and turn into to this delicious caramelly stuff around the outside – the cook has the prerogative to snitch this herself if she [or he] is feeling greedy.
This will keep covered at room temperature for a couple days, but lets be honest here – that is never going to be necessary! it will be gone in no time at all…Summer tastes mighty good!