Thursday, July 2, 2015

Blueberry Pecan Galette

".....You ought to have seen how it looked in the rain, the fruit mixed with water in layers of leaves, like two kinds of jewels, a vision for thieves."(Blueberries by Robert Frost) As Independence Day approaches, the proliferation of patriotic themed desserts are appearing in every form of media, making for quite a spectacular food firework show, one undoubtedly causing an unending chorus of 'oohs and aahs'. I generally think of 4th of July desserts as falling into two pyrotechnic categories, 'flaming blazing wonders', ones where you set your chairs or blankets out hours in advance in order to get the best view of the brilliance of colors and designs lighting up the sky, ones so bad ass and beautiful they almost take your breath away. And then there are the 'sparkler lame', the single-dimensional ones over even before they begin, the kind unable to melt either the frosting on a birthday cake or your heart. 

The moment I saw the Blueberry Pecan Galette on the cover of Bon Appetit's July (2015) issue I instantly knew which fireworks category this dessert would fall in. Just looking at the photo had me repeatedly saying OMG, standing suspiciously too long in the magazine aisle, and being convinced baking this galette was my patriotic duty. In my world, there is no such thing as too many blueberry desserts as evidenced by the relatively large number of blueberry recipes posted on this blog (Blueberry Buckle with Whipped Coconut Cream, Blueberry Crisp, Blueberry Pie, Blueberry and Rye Slab Pie, Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake, Blueberry Muffin Cake with Streusel Crumb Top and Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Berry Compote). Yet, not a blueberry galette anywhere to be found amongst them.

There are galettes and then there are galettes. While everyone else is changing up the type of flour in the dough, this one makes baked, coarsely chopped pecans one of the key dough ingredients. This is nothing short of sheer brilliance or rather I should say genius. 

With the exception of blueberries and quite possibly the sparkling sugar, you probably already have all of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cabinets if you are someone who likes to bake either regularly or occasionally.

Of course I had to tinker ever so slightly with the filling for the galette. Although there is some cinnamon in the crust, I wanted a hint of that flavor to be in the blueberries as well. With only 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, adding the zest from a half of a lemon to the blueberries would ever so slightly enhance the citrus flavor of the filling. 

A half cup of pecans baked in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for 10-15 minutes, then coarsely chopped in the food processor truly is the game changer in this crust. 

Depending on the humidity, the crust comes together with either 3 or 4 Tablespoons of ice cold water. There are at least three ways of making a crust: by hand, in a food processor, or using a combination food processor/by hand method. Using the food processor only method resulted in a beautifully flaky pastry. The key to using a food processor is to pulse not process the ingredients. Epicurious has a great  pie crust primer video.

Once the crust is rolled out to a 12" circle, the filling mixture is mounded in the center, leaving a 2" edge. 

There should be some overlapping when the edges are folded over the blueberry mixture. Brushing on milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream helps to give the crust that finishing golden color look. The addition of sparkling sugar adds the right amount of sweetness and shimmer. 

The galette is baked in a preheated 375 degree (F) oven for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling begins to bubble and ooze. 

If for some reason you aren't going to be anywhere near fireworks this year, this Blueberry Pecan Galette served warm or at room temperature with or without some vanilla ice cream will more than make up for it. In fact, you might not even miss them. Okay, you might, especially if you ever have been spoiled by the 'flaming blazing wonder' pyrotechnic experience. If that happens to be the case, there may be no better way to salvage the day than to make and serve this galette. 
Blueberry Pecan Galette (an ever so slight adaptation to Bon Appetit's Blueberry Pecan Galette recipe)

1/2 cup pecans
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces (recommend Kerrygold)
3-4 Tablespoons ice cold water

14-16 ounces fresh blueberries (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from half a lemon)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
zest from half of a lemon
2 Tablespoons milk, half-and-half or heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sparkling sugar (recommend India Tree bright white sparkling sugar)
Optional: vanilla ice cream for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Toast pecans on a baking sheet until fragrant and slightly darkened (approximately 10-15 minutes). Allow to cool.
2. Pulse pecans in food processor until the consistency of coarse meal.
3. Add flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon pulsing to just combine.
4. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal (a few pea sized pieces of butter will remain).
5. Add 3 Tablespoons of ice water and pulse until mixture begins to come together. If necessary add an additional Tablespoon of ice water.
6. Turn dough out and shape into a 6" diameter disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least least one hour. Note: Dough can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Filling and Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, toss together the blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 12" round. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet.
4. Mound blueberry mixture in center of the dough, leaving a 2" border.
5. Fold edges over, overlapping slightly.
6. Brush dough with milk/half-and-half/heavy cream and sprinkle generously with sparkling sugar.
7. Bake galette until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Approximately 45-50 minutes.
8. Remove from oven. Allow to cool slightly before serving. (Note: Can be served room temperature).
Additional notes: (1) Serve with vanilla ice cream and (2) Galette is best on the day it is made.

The July 1st moon.

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