Sunday, March 06, 2005

Plum galette

Last weekend my SO and I cooked a plum galette, a treat we've made many times before. Galettes are rustic baked fruit desserts with a layer of fresh fruit wrapped in pie crust and sprinkled with sugar; they're easier to make than fruit pies, and excellent topped with a little whipped cream. If you like pie crust and fruit, you're guaranteed to like galettes.

The pie crust we use is a cornmeal flaky pastry crust; the recipe is very similar to the walnut flaky pastry crust I included with the pear pie recipe (in fact, a large portion is just copied and pasted). Virtually any flaky pie crust will work, but since it's such a critical part of the dish, the crust really should be homemade. I would never make this dish with a store-bought crust.

The pie crust recipe below makes enough for two galettes; if you're only making one galette, halve the recipe. Making the crust is the most time-consuming portion of the recipe, though, so you might as well make enough crust for two galettes.

This recipe is based on one from Joy of Cooking, and is (of course) this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.

Cornmeal flaky pastry crust
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, frozen, unsalted (reduce the salt added above if using salted butter)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice-cold water (plus a bit extra)

Assembly ingredients
2-3 ripe plums, skin on
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
some milk for brushing on the crust

To make the crust:
1) Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and process until mixed.
2) Cut the frozen butter into approximately tablespoon-sized pieces, add to the flour mixture, and process in short spurts until the largest pieces of butter are pea-sized.
3) Add the ice water and process in short spurts until the dough starts to come together (but it shouldn't form a ball). If the dough doesn't start coming together, add another tablespoon or two of extra water (I usually end up adding about an extra tablespoon).
4) Remove the dough from the food processor (it should still be in many small pieces) and compress it together with your hands.
5) Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a disk. If the dough is relatively warm and sticky, put it in the fridge for a short period (~15 minutes) until it is firmer, though I find the dough is usually cool enough to roll right away.
6) Use a floured rolling pin on a well-floured work surface to roll half the dough into a circle approximately 14 inches wide. Rolling the dough takes a bit of practice to do well, though I've found that even when I have apparently fatal flaws, they're rarely apparent in the final galette. If the dough develops holes or cracks, you can usually moisten (with water) another piece of dough and press it on top of the crack, then continue rolling the crust as normal. I'll slip a rimless baking sheet underneath the dough every now and then, adding some flour underneath the crust, to prevent it from sticking to the countertop. Joy of Cooking has a tremendously useful section on rolling pie crust if you've never done it before.
7) Transfer the rolled-out crust onto your pan (I use my rimless baking sheet); either assemble the galette immediately or cover the crust with plastic wrap and put it into the fridge until you're ready.
8) Either roll out the second half of your pie crust to make a second galette, or put it into the fridge or freezer (tightly wrapped in plastic wrap) until you're ready to make your second galette.

Assembling the galette:
0) Preheat the oven to 400F.
1) Thinly slice the plums (making them approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick at the widest point).
2) Assemble the plum slices in a single layer (with edges overlapping slightly) in the center of the crust, leaving about 2-3 inches of dough bare around the edge of the crust.
3) Sprinkle the fruit with two tablespoons of the sugar.
4) Gently fold the bare portions of the crust over the fruit, leaving a circle of fruit exposed in the center of the galette. If some of the crust rips or forms awkward folds at this point, don't worry about it; it'll still taste great.
5) Brush the top of the crust with a little milk, and then sprinkle it with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
5) Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
6) Let cool for a short while out of the oven on the pan, but because the galette is so thin we've found that it's often cool enough to transfer to plates after only 5 minutes or so.
7) Top with a bit of whipped cream, if desired (it's recommended).

Galettes can be made with just about any type of fruit - Joy of Cooking recommends blueberries, raspberries, and peaches. Since galettes are so thin, they don't go as far as fruit pies; we find that one galette is typically enough for four hearty servings.

No comments: