Yes. It was really that good.
A few nights ago we had our lovely friend Big Dan over for dinner. Not that he’s big. It’s just that he’s bigger than his roommate, Little Dan. And since they are roommates, and both named Dan, and since we never knew Little Dan’s last name, we renamed them. And plus, referring to Big Dan as such, is much easier than referring to him as: my husband’s sister’s husband’s sister’s son. Which he is.
He showed up for our little mini-gathering sans Little Dan but avec his fancy-shmancy, super-expensivo camera in order to document our lives (or at least a few hours of it). And rather than take pictures of our faces, he took pictures of dinner! And made me drool over the things that his fancy-shmancy, super expensivo camera can do. But then he proceeded to show me how to use my pretty-darn good, not-nearly-as-expensive camera. I got a whirlwind tutorial of aperture settings, f-stops and shutter speed, which totally thrilled me. And it made me realize that my pretty-darn good, not-nearly-as-expensive camera truly is pretty darn good. And then, seeing my new-found satisfaction with my own camera, he declared, “Look Scott, I just saved you money!” And that’s why we love Big Dan.
But back to that lovely picture, taken by the truly talented Big Dan. That was dessert. I used Crimson Baby nectarines, and David Sun peaches from Blossom Bluff Orchards. They grow some of the tastiest stone fruit all summer long, and I just can’t keep away from their stand at the farmer’s market. If you ever attend the Berkeley Farmer’s Market, be sure to find them and taste their wares. Seriously. Don’t miss out.
So I’ve had this tart on my “to make” list for a few months now, and have been waiting for the fruit to come in to season and really hit it’s stride. And finally, the opportunity presented itself. The galette turned out really well. The crust was buttery, flaky, and nicely crisped, even on the bottom. And the fruit just melted right into the crust with a nice balanced acidity and sweetness. Be sure, when you’re baking, to choose fruit that has nice acidity. The sub-acid, or low acid fruits are great for eating out of hand, but are not so great for baking. I personally prefer the higher-acid fruit, even for eating out of hand. And remember that high-acid doesn’t mean under ripe. The acidity and sweetness should balance each other out, complementing the overall flavor of the fruit. Think about these things next time you’re tasting peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums, and you’ll see what I mean.
The recipe for the crust as well as for the whole galette, came from one of my favorite books, The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook. It’s contributors include Flo Braker, Julia Cookenboo, Marion Cunningham, David Lebovitz, Lindsey Shere, and Peter Reinhart. And the recipes are just great.
Peach-Nectarine Galette from The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook, recipe by Lindsey Shere
Basic Tart Dough (Pate Brisee)
makes enough dough for one 9-inch tart or 10-inch galette
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon-and-sweep)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup cold water, or as needed
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in half the butter with a pastry blender (or run it between your fingertips) until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. (above picture #1) Cut in the remaining butter until it is in pea-sized bits. (above picture #2)
Sprinkle the water in evenly, tossing the flour mixture with a fork as you do so, adding just enough water so that the mixture is completely moistened and holds together when pressed between your fingers. (above picture #3) Gather up the dough and press into a 1/2-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, wrapped, and refrigerated. It can also be frozen, overwrapped with aluminum foil, for up to 2 months. Defrost the frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. If the dough is very hard and well chilled, let it stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Then pound the dough, vertically and horizontally, with the rolling pin until it is pliable but still cold.)
Note: The two-step process of cutting in the butter has a double purpose. The small butter “crumbs” waterproof the gluten in the flour, keeping it from forming the invisible strands that will toughen the dough. The larger pieces of butter separate the dough into layers as it bakes and provide flakiness.
To make the galette
makes one 12-inch galette, 8 to 10 servings
- tart dough (see above)
- 2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 7 Tablespoons sugar
- 4 each, medium ripe nectarines and peaches (8 pieces total), unpeeled, pitted and cut into 1/3-to 1/2-inch wide slices
Position a rack in the center of the oven. If you have one, place a baking stone on the rack, and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a very thin (no more than 1/16-inch thick) 14-inch-diameter round. Roll out the edges a bit thinner than the center so that when the edges are folded over to make a border, it won’t be too thick. Transfer to the baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and 2 Tablespoons of the sugar with your fingers and sprinkle over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the nectarines and peaches in concentric circles on top on the sugar, leaving a border. Sprinkle the fruit with 4 Tablespoons of the remaining sugar. Fold the border of dough over onto the nectarines. Lightly brush the dough with a little water and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tablespoon sugar.
Bake until the edges and bottom of the pastry are quite brown (lift up an edge of the galette with a spatula to check), 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Immediately slide the galette off the pan onto a large wire cooling rack. Let stand for 5 minutes. If the nectarines and peaches have given off syrupy juices that have collected in the galette, brush them over the fruit to make an instant glaze. Let the galette stand for at least 10 minutes, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Read Full Post »