Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rustic Peach Galette

When I lived out east, I didn't need to wait until the weekly Farmer's Markets or take a twenty minute drive the nearest grocery store to pick up fresh fruits or vegetables. Because almost everything I needed could be found at the two well stocked local farm stands, the blueberry farm, my favorite apple orchard, or on the surprising large number of small tables filled with the day's fresh harvest sitting at the edge of driveways along the town's winding two-lane roads. If I wanted to make a recipe calling for fresh herbs, I simply walked out my farmhouse back door to the gardens containing an abundance of chives, sage, several varieties of thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, dill, and mint. Having access to fresh eggs made the town I lived in even more endearing. However, if I went out too early or waited until the afternoon to go out to get them, the roadside coolers containing fresh eggs would be empty.

Having access to more than a dozen grocery stores within a five mile radius from where I live now is certainly a convenience. While it may just be my imagination or a bit of revisionist history, I have yet to find fruits and vegetables as fresh and flavorful as the ones bought at those roadside stands. Those were the not so long ago days.

The word galette has been linked to the French work 'galet', meaning a smooth, flat pebble. Nowadays sweet and savory galettes have come to be thought of as unfussy rustic, free-form tarts made with a single crust of pastry. Sometimes the edges of the pastry are folded up and over while other times the pastry is simply left flat. If you want a fancy pastry, make a tart. If you want a homey one, make a pie. But if you want pure and simple rusticness without sacrificing beauty, make a galette. Think of the rolled out dough as a blank canvas. How you arrange the fruit, piled high or arranged in a pattern, depends only on your imagination. 

In the past I have shared recipes for a couple of fruit galettes (Apple Galette and a Blueberry Pecan Galette) as well as with several fruit crostatas (Summer Fruit CrostataRustic Apple Crostata, Nectarine and Plum Crostata) some which look more like tarts and galettes. The crust I used for the Blueberry Pecan Galette is one of my favorites. Not only is it delicious, it pairs well with a variety of fruits. Making it the perfect pastry choice for this Rustic Peach Galette. 

Choose your peaches wisely when making this galette. Think bigger the better when buying them as the larger peaches have a tendency to be on the sweeter. more flavorful side. The ones I had bought at the Farmer's Market were big, but more on the ripe, ready to eat, and close to impossible to cut in half, let alone into the cut into wedges side. The ones from the grocery store were a little on the firmer, not yet ready to eat side. In other words, they were galette ready perfect. Not only were they easier to cut, the slices held their shape during the baking process. 

The most successful way to cut and slice a peach starts by placing the knife in the crease and cutting in half all the way around. Holding each half of the peach, you simply twist it in opposite directions will loosen the peach pit. If the pit remains attached to one half of the peach (and sometimes it does), remove before cutting the peach in 1/4" slices/wedges.

Toss the sliced peaches in freshly squeezed lemon juice, the granulated sugar/cinnamon mixture, and vanilla before arranging on the rolled dough. 

Arrange the peaches in a circular pattern as I did or be creative. If you want a bit more inspiration, do a quick peach galette search on the web! When laying out the peaches on the dough, it's important to leave about a 2"-3" border of dough in order to wrap the edges of the galette. Before brushing an egg wash glaze on the exposed dough, check to make sure you can pinch any tears. A leaky tart is a soggy tart.

Some galette recipes call for the use of apricot glaze over the peaches. However, I wanted only the taste of peaches in each bite. 

The Rustic Peach Galette bakes in a 375 degree (F) oven for approximately 45 minutes. If after 30 minutes, the dough is not getting to a beautiful golden color, turn the oven up to 400 degrees (F) for the last 10-15 minutes of baking. 

The galette needs to rest a bit, maybe 20-30 minutes, before it's cut into wedges. Because it's equally delicious warm or at room temperature, it can be made early in the day. 

Make some lightly sweetened whipped cream to go with the galette. Using a hand held mixer, whip one cup of heavy whipping cream with 1 to 2 tablespoons of confectionary or caster sugar until soft peaks form. Sometimes I add a splash of vanilla, sometimes I don't. 

With the peach season in full swing (at least here in the midwest), it's the absolute perfect time to make this irresistible, sweet tooth satisfying dessert. 

Rustic Peach Galette (an ever so slight adaptation to dough portion of the Bon Appetit's Blueberry Pecan Galette recipe)
Serves at least 8

1/2 cup pecans, toasted for approximately 8-9 minutes in a 350 degree (F) oven.
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 unsalted butter)
3 Tablespoons ice cold water, added 1 Tablespoon at a time

3-4 large, not too ripe peaches, approximately 2 pounds, cut approximately 1/4" thick
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Egg Wash and Finish
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons whipping cream or milk
1 -2 Tablespoons demerara sugar or sparkling sugar

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 (1 Tablespoon at a time) and pulse until mixture begins to come together. If necessary add additional water in 1 teaspoon increments.
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).
2. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator. Place it on a large piece of parchment paper. Roll out dough to a 12-13" round. Thickness should be at least 1/4". Transfer to a large baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator while you prepare the peach filling. Note: Taping the parchment paper to the counter will prevent it from sliding while you are rolling.
4. In a medium sized bowl, toss together the sliced peaches, sugar mixture, lemon juice, and vanilla.
5. Arrange peaches in a pattern of your choice, leaving at least a 2-3 inch border. 
6. Fold edges of the dough, overlapping slightly over arranged peaches. Take care to fix any tears in the sides of the dough in order prevent leaking.
7. Transfer the parchment paper lined galette to the baking pan. Place in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes in order to slightly firm up the dough.
8. Remove pan from the refrigerator. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle generously with demerara sugar or sparkling sugar.
9. Bake galette until crust is golden brown and filling is has thickened. Approximately 45-50 minutes. Note: Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees (F) for last 15 minutes of baking if crust is not turning golden brown.
10. Remove from oven. Allow galette to cool slightly (approximately 1 hour) before serving. (Note: Can be served warm or at room temperature).

Additional notes: (1) Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. (2) Galette is best on the day it is made.

Views from the historic Lake Crescent Lodge on the Olympic Peninsula in Northwest Washington. (June 2017)

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