I am not part of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, which is a list of internet chums who are baking their way through the most excellent cookbook by Dorie Greenspan titled Baking: From My Home to Yours. But Kayte did persuade me to buy the book, which she insisted was full of delicious recipes that even a klutz like me couldn't mess up too badly. Well, she didn't put it quite that baldly, but really, it's the truth. For instance, my idea of baking cookies? Purchasing a package of those break-and-bake oatmeal-raisin or Tollhouse and slinging them on a baking sheet. The timer goes off, and there: I baked cookies.
You can see what raw material Kayte is working with as she ushers my trembling and pumpkin-shaped form out of the Land of Cans and Boxes.
So anyway, two weeks ago, the assignment for the TWD bakers was to make a Summer Fruit Galette. A galette is a rustic, rather free-form pie of French origin, and it immediately struck my fancy because I could clearly picture St. John Vianney, one of my favorite saints, eating les galettes as a child: he grew up on a farm in the tiny town of Dardilly, near Lyons, at the end of the late seventeenth century and the beginning of the early eighteenth, and his mother, a sonsy housewife, seems like exactly the type who would have served a fruit galette to her big family.
Kayte emailed me and said, "You have to make the Summer Fruit Galette from Dorie's book. It was easy and it was SO GOOD."
Making the Summer Fruit Galette (we used peaches) was very easy and the results were amazing. Plus, Meelyn, Aisling and I got the chance to debut some new stuff, namely our marble baking slab, our marble rolling pin and Nonny, the new food processor.
The first part of preparing the galette involved making the crust, which had to chill for an hour before rolling. Nonny was as easy as pie - or galette - to put together and operate, and we got her a-whirring on the frozen butter, frozen shortening, flour and sugar. Those crust ingredients came together splendidly and with very little effort; before I knew it, I was wrapping a disc of dough in a piece of plastic wrap and placing it lovingly in the fridge.
While the dough chilled, we skinned the peaches by blanching them in boiling water and then popping them into an ice-water bath, another task which sounds vaguely threatening, like something Tony Soprano might do to a guy who was found wearing a wire, but it's actually foolproof. Only Meelyn found out that the peaches sans skin are slippery little devils.
I experienced one huge problem during the rolling out of the dough, and that was that it stuck vigourously to the marble slab. I thought I'd floured the slab enough, but apparently not. What I need to do, next time, is use parchment paper, like Dorie recommended. I didn't have any on hand, so I thought I could get away with not using it, but no. Not so much. I had to peel the crust off the slab with my fingernails, which resulted in a not-very-attractive crust, but fortunately, the ugliest part was the part that was getting ready to be covered with peaches.
Once the crust was on the baking sheet, the instruction was to use a nine-inch cake pan as a template (the crust was rolled to a 13" diameter) and score around it so that you'd know where the fruit was supposed to go. But before the fruit went on, a complimentary flavor of jam was spread on.
In the book, Dorie recommends ginger preserves, which she says are similar to orange marmalade. I couldn't find ginger preserves at my small local grocery, so I chose Smucker's Sugar-Free Apricot Preserves, hoping that the Splenda used to sweeten the apricots wouldn't turn bitter in the heat of baking, like an old woman who's led a hard life.
The preserves went on, the peaches went on and then the girls and I turned up and "pleated" the edges of the crust around the fruit. It was very simple, and gave the dessert that "pie" kind of look without all the crust-crimping you have to do.
The galette went into the oven to bake for twenty-five minutes.
The final step was to pour a simple, four-ingredient vanilla custard (which I had made earlier, while the dough was chilling) in around the nooks and crannies of fruit and crust. This took about half the amount of custard, so I'll keep that in mind the next time, and maybe fill up a little ramekin with the remaining custard. Or perhaps increase the recipe and use some for the galette and then fill up a bunch of little ramekins with the remainder. Because vanilla custard? It's goooooood.
Fifteen more minutes in the oven, and there was our first ever Summer Fruit Galette, my first attempt from Dorie's book. I can't post pictures right now, but my galette looked just like everyone else's in the TWD group, which made me very happy.
It was absolutely and utterly delicious. The only thing I'd change, other than using parchment paper next time, is that I'd sprinkle the galette with some cinnamon-sugar (or maybe cinnamon-stevia, in my case) over the top before the second baking.
(Here's a picture of Shari's from that week, only she used berries in hers, plus there was some instruction not in the book that had to do with baking the galette in a paper bag, which presumably was to keep the crust from unfolding.)
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