Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Nectarine Galette

Summer Nectarine Galette
Serves: 8
Difficulty level: Easy
Summer Nectarine Galette
As long as there are still peaches, plums, apricots, berries and nectarines to be had, I’m buying them up and making pies and galettes. Today it is galette. A galette is a free-form pie, more rustic than a tart.  It’s probably one of the few desserts that actually embraces imperfections! Any and all stone fruit will work with this recipe – feel free to toss in berries to fill in the holes. How pretty would that be! 

Stone fruits are a natural match for this type of open, single crust tart — they bake up gorgeously, don’t lose so much liquid that you end up flooding the crust (or your oven floor) and oh, they’re all so flawless right now that even nectarines, which unfairly play second fiddle to peaches, deserve their own day in the spotlight. Plus, it’s ridiculously easy to make. A single pie crust, a brush of melted butter, a sprinkling of sugar and big wedges of peak-season fruit, in this case, arranged on a bed of ground almonds, baked until the edges are browned and the fruit is starting to caramelize. You do not need a tart pan or pie plate; you do not need streusel toppings or intimidating slabs of dough rolled out to uber-specific measurements.  You don’t even need a proper excuse to make this: “its 4 p.m. and I really ought to do something with those nectarines” was enough for me.

Crust – makes 20 ounces - more than enough for one galette, leftover pastry can be frozen or turned into cookies
  • 2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 12 Tb unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ½-inch sized pieces (1½ sticks) (divided)
  • 7 Tb ice water

Filling – for one open galette
  • 1 Tb ground almonds
  • 1 Tb flour
  • ¼  C plus 3 Tb sugar (divided)
  • 1 Tb amaretti cookies pulverized – or – 1 extra Tb ground almonds + 1 extra tsp sugar
  • 10 ounces galette dough, rolled into a 14-inch circle and chilled
  • 1½ lbs ripe nectarines (about 4 large, freestone will be easier!)
  • 1 Tb-unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ C sliced almonds (optional)
  • Peach or nectarine jam (optional)

Make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut 4 Tb butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives, mixing until the dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Cut in the remaining 8 Tb of butter with the pastry blender, just until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of large peas. Drizzle 7 Tb of ice water over the mixture in several stages, tossing and mixing between additions, until the dough just holds together. Toss the mixture with your hands, letting it fall through your fingers. Do not pinch or squeeze the dough together as you will overwork it, making it tough. Keep tossing until is pulls together. If it’s not coming together, add additional Tbs of ice water until it does. Using 1/2 or 3/4 of your dough, firmly press into a ball, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, pressing down to flatten into a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight, before rolling out. Any leftover dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Rolling the dough
When you are ready to roll out the dough, take one disk from the refrigerator. Let it soften slightly so that it is malleable but still cold. Unwrap the dough and press the edges of the disk so that there are no cracks. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Brush off excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate at least an additional 30 minutes before using.

Make the galette: Preheat the oven to 400-degree F. Place a pizza stone, if you have one, on a lower rack. Toss the ground almonds, flour, 1 Tb sugar and pulverized amaretti (or mix of ground almonds and sugar) together.
Almonds, flour and sugar
Cut nectarines in half, removing pits, then each half into thirds (you’ll get six wedges per nectarine). Remove the pre-rolled dough from the refrigerator or freezer and sprinkle the almond mixture evenly over the pastry, leaving a 1½ to 2-inch border uncoated. Arrange the fruit, skin-side-down, in concentric circles on the dough, making a single layer of snugly touching pieces, leaving the border bare. Sprinkle ¼ C of sugar evenly over the fruit.
Sliced nectarines & almond mixture on the dough...sprinkled with sugar.
While rotating the galette, fold the border of exposed dough up and over itself at regular intervals, crimping and pushing it up against the outer circle of fruit, creating a containing rim. Pinch or trim off any excess dough. Make sure there are no breaks that will let juices leak. Brush the border with the melted butter, and sprinkle it with 2 Tb sugar.
Ready for the oven
Bake in the lower third of the oven (preferably on a pizza stone) for about 45-50 minutes, until the crust is well browned and its edges are slightly caramelized. Sprinkle with optional sliced almonds over the galette 15 minutes before the baking time ends, so they get toasty and crispy. As soon as the galette is out of the oven, use a large metal spatula to slide it off the baking sheet or parchment paper and onto a cooling rack, to keep it from steaming and getting soggy. Let cool 20 minutes.  
Cooling down....time to eat!!
If you want to glaze the tart, brush the fruit lightly with a little warmed peach or nectarine jam. Serve galette warm with ice cream or plain yogurt.  Delish….really. There is no better time of the year for stone fruit galettes.

Enjoy!  I know we did.


Loosely adapted from Alice Water’s Apricot Tart

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