Friday, September 4, 2009

Lazy Crisis Picnic Galette

As summer comes to an end, its nice to see old faces that have been gone for a while, and to feel the school year energy picking up. A group of friends and classmates from the neighborhood organized a sunset picnic at a new waterfront park in Greenpoint, where the glittering Manhattan skyline is the backdrop for kids playing with sticks and running around.

Although I had plenty of time to think about something to bring, I couldn't get motivated until about 2 hours before the picnic. By then a few deserts were off the list- the ones that require chilling and many steps such as homemade ice cream, pie, or cake. Slightly panicked but keeping it cool, I took note of what I had in the house.; ripe white peaches, sweeter than candy, and a bag of cherries flash frozen from the market. I had to make something quick, as time was short. I thought the perfect desert would be a galette, since the dough could chill quickly, and as a free-form tart, wouldn't have to be too fussy with details.

cut cold butter into little cubes and let sit in the freezer to chill out.

I have a recipe in my cookbook for a plum galette, and I use the dough as the base for other fruits in other seasons. But as I opened the pantry to put it together, I realized that I had used up my whole wheat pastry flour, and had run out of parchment paper. Not to be deterred, I found a bag of wheat germ, and added a bit as a substitution for the wheat flour.

fingermarks are the making of a great thin galette or tart bottom. Note the flecks of wheat germ giving the crust a nutty hue.

wrap the scraps in plastic wrap and place in freezer for cutting out top decoration if you have time.

The next obstacle proved to be the logistical one of transportation. As I had two kids with me, park paraphernalia, and cute but wobbly shoes, I did not want to have a galette sliding around on a plate with a 99% probability of falling before we got to the end of the block. I thought that it would be easier to make the galette in a tart pan instead of a free form shape, making it easy to serve and carry at the same time. So the galette morphed into a tart-esque creation, as I chilled the dough in the tart pan, and cut some decorative scraps for the top.

peaches, cherries, and some lemon zest

With summer ripe fruit, you don't have to do much. Once baked and bubbly, the juiciness of the peaches tasted like summer and happiness. The galette/tart was quickly gobbled and I even managed to steal a slice since I want to savor summer as long as I can before it quickly comes to an end next week.

ready to go in the oven

sweet victory.


For the dough:
1 3/4 cups organic all purpose flour
1/4 cup raw wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1 3/4 sticks unsalted organic butter, cut into small cubes, chilled in freezer for a few minutes
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons ice water

1. In food processor, add dry ingredients and pulse until combined.
2. Add butter a few pieces at a time and pulse, so that the dough resembles sand.
3. While motor is running, add lemon juice and 2-3 tablespoons water, or enough for dough to start to ball in the machine. Usually this takes 20 seconds.
4. Place dough on piece of plastic wrap, cover with another piece of plastic wrap, and roll thin with a rolling pin to 1/4" inch. Place in freezer.
5. Preheat oven to 450 and prepare filling.

For Fruit Filling:
3-4 ripe white peaches (you want around 2 1/2 cups)
around 10 cherries (I grabbed a handful but you can use more if you wish)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
dash of salt
1 tablespoon organic all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon organic cane sugar (optional if peaches aren't like candy. mine were so I omitted)
1 tablespoon unsalted organic butter
raw sugar such as rapadura

1. Slice peaches into small, even pieces, around 1/4" thick. into a medium size bowl.
2. Pit cherries and cut into pieces.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

To assemble.
1. Take pastry dough out of freezer and unwrap one side onto the tart pan. The size I have is a 9" pan.
2. Use your fingers to press evenly into the pan and up the sides.
3. I quickly re-wrapped excess dough between plastic wrap and rolled it thin, then cut out the hearts for the top. I also ripped pieces of dough up and sprinkled it on the areas where the fruit was showing.
4. Optional to finish is to cut up one tablespoon butter with your fingers and drop bits all over the top. Then sprinkle cut-outs on top with sugar.
5. Bake in oven for 25 -30 minutes until top is dark brown and fruit is bubbly.
6. Let cool an hour before cutting.

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