Winter desserts bring me down. I’ve never been a fan of cooked apples or pears. I don’t think you need to love apple pie to be a true American (on that note, I don’t think you need to wear a lapel pin either).
Give me berries and stone fruits and I’m a happy girl. Berry crisps get me every time with their not-too-sweet filling bursting with fruit and their crunchy nutty topping with the perfect contrast in texture. Throw together peaches and berries and I’m swooning.
I love to bake but, when I was a student in culinary school, the perfect pate sable or pate sucree (tart shells, essentially) were tough for me. I would either overwork or under blend the dough, leading to shrinking shells or a lack of flake. I recently found a dough recipe I love. It can be made in the food processor and behaves very nicely without being fussy (if only my son were like that all the time!).
Using this dough, I made a fruit galette last night with peaches, raspberries, and blackberries. It is a free form tart and will look rustic and stunning no matter how much talent you have in the pastry department. The recipe is adapted from Food and Wine back in 2004 but I’ve given it some of my own ‘love’ and am really happy with the result.
Stone Fruit and Berry Galette
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup ice water
Place the butter, flour and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal-you will still see some small chunks of butter. With the motor running, using the pulse button, slowly drizzle in just enough of the ice water to bring the dough together. Don’t let it form a ball. You’ll see it form large ‘beads’ and if you grab a chunk of the dough it should hold together nicely.
Place a two sheets of plastic wrap on the counter, overlapping a bit at the horizontal to create a large rectangle. Place the dough in the center and gently form it into a ball. Top the dough with two more sheets of plastic wrap, again overlapping down the center. Roll the dough out into a rough circle, about 16-inches around. Place the dough, in the plastic wrap, on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3-4 peaches, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 t. cinnamon
1 C. raspberries
1 C. blackberries
2 T. butter
egg wash: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 T. heavy cream
cinnamon-sugar (about 2 T.) If you don’t have this around, mix 1 1/2 T sugar with 1/2 T ground cinnamon
In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt and stir gently to combine. Fold in the berries.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Line a rim-less baking sheet with parchment paper and, removing the plastic, place the dough on the sheet. Mound the filling into the center of the dough, leaving a border of about 3 inches. Fold the dough border over itself, onto the fruit, leaving a circle of fruit exposed in the center. Brush the dough with the egg wash and then sprinkle it well with cinnamon sugar. Break the butter into small pieces and dot it over the exposed fruit. Refrigerate another 20-30 minutes, until the dough firms back up (this will help make it flaky).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the galette in the center of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Slide the parchment and galatte onto a rack to cool at least 20 minutes. Eat warm or at room temperature. The galette is great with vanilla bean ice cream and even better left over for breakfast the next day. Top it with plain yogurt and you won’t feel so guilty.