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RECIPE: Make A Fresh Peach Galette For Summer's End

Have you seen photos of fruit galettes this summer? The fruit-filled pastry has been pictured on the cover of gourmet food magazines like “Bon Appetit.” Kroger featured one in their new “My Magazine” publication.  

If you have not seen pictures of a galette, it is a pie or tart without the pan. The center exposes the fruit filling and the free-form crust gives the pastry a rustic look — and do they ever say “summer.”

However, fruit is only one of the many fillings used in a galette. The term "galette" is French and designates various types of flat, round or free-form cakes or crusts.

Just like the “naked cake” that I wrote about this spring, seeing pictures of the galette got my attention, making me want to try my hand at one of these beautiful pastries. I took cake decorating, but never pie making, so I set about to find a person who I thought could produce the result I wanted.

Mary Ann Duckworth actually teaches sewing at El Centro College in downtown Dallas, but she is also known for her skills in the kitchen.

On many occasions, Mary Ann has taken the role of “executive chef” at Central Christian Church, feeding 100 people for Thanksgiving Dinner and other special events.

What did I have to do to get my friend to agree to teach me this eye- and taste-pleasing dessert? I had to produce some Parker County peaches. That seems to be the peach of choice for many native bakers. I called Hutton Farms in Weatherford, and with their help, I located the peaches at Green’s Farmers Market in Arlington. Sweet and juicy, they were perfect for our galette.

Mary Ann and I chose the commercial kitchen at Central Christian Church for our project so we would have plenty of counter space and opportunities for various angled photo shots.

Mary Ann began by preparing the peaches. Parker County peaches are freestone (the pit slips easily from the peach as opposed to a cling peach where the pit clings to the peach).

This and the fact that the peaches were not peeled — just sliced into ¼ inch slices — made preparation of the fruit filling really easy.

If you do have a recipe that calls for a peeled peach, drop the peach into boiling water just until the skin blisters and splits. Then, the peel will easily slide from the peach.

The sliced peaches were put in a bowl with the flour, sugar and vanilla and set aside. 

Mary Ann prepared the dough using a food processor. She processed the dry ingredients with the frozen butter pieces until the mixture was coarse in texture. Then, she added ice water and continued to mix the dough until it pulled from the sides of the food processor bowl and formed a ball.

The dough was patted into a round disc and refrigerated. 

When it was time to roll the chilled dough, Mary Ann produced two pastry making tricks, one that she has relied on for many years — a rolling pin sock. The sock slips over the rolling pin and Mary Ann says it helps keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. The other item was a Real Simple nonslip pie mat. The pie mat replaced waxed paper or a board for rolling the dough. It also had a guide and size chart so you could determine the size of your pastry. She purchased both items, the sock and the mat, at Bed Bath and Beyond.

When the pastry was rolled to a perfect round shape, Mary Ann wrapped it around the rolling pin and transferred it to a baking sheet that had been lined with parchment paper.

She arranged the peaches in the center of the dough and began to fold and pleating the dough to encase the peach mixture, leaving the center open to expose the fruit. She dotted the peaches with butter.

When the galette was finished, the dough was brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with coarse ground sugar before being placed in the preheated oven and baked.

An added plus to using the church kitchen for the pastry experiment was that Senior Co-Pastor Dr. Steve Chisolm was on hand to taste the end result. The peach galette won Pastor Steve's approval. It was both beautiful and delicious!

This is an ideal way to take advantage of our local fruit. You can use the last of the summer berries by making a blueberry or blackberry galette. Mary Ann has already suggested an apple galette to welcome fall. The rustic free-form pastry with the sparkly sugar dusting is so appealing. I hope you will make one. The recipe follows:

Peach Galette Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup, 1 stick, 8 Tbsp) butter, cut into small (1/2-inch) cubes, chilled in freezer at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp ice water

Filling:

  • 2 large, not-overly-ripe yellow peaches (about 3/4 pound total), pitted, sliced into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp almond paste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 egg
  • A sprinkling of coarse sugar (optional)

Method

1. Make the crust dough. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt, until well mixed. Add the cubed butter, and pulse 8 times. The butter should still be the size of peas in the mixture. Slowly add the ice water, a tablespoon or two at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough just begins to clump. Turn out onto a clean surface. Use your clean hands to form into a disc. Do not over-knead. Work the dough only enough to bring it barely together into a disk. Sprinkle with a little flour on all sides, wrap with plastic, and place into the refrigerator to chill for an hour. 

2. Preheat the oven with the rack in the middle position to 425°F (220°C). Place the peach slices in a bowl and sprinkle with the flour and sugar. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle vanilla extract over the peaches.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg until smooth and set aside.

4. On a lightly floured, clean, smooth surface, roll out the dough to about a 12-inch diameter. Gently lift up the rolled out dough and place it on a rimmed baking sheet.

5. If you are using almond paste (not necessary, but a nice addition if you have it), dot the middle 6-inch circle of the dough with the almond paste. (If you can spread it, great. Otherwise, just dot with little bits.) Arrange the peach slices in an overlapping pattern in a single layer in the center of the dough, forming about a 7 or 8-inch circle. Dot with a little butter.

6. Fold the outer edges of the dough round over the filling, by about 2-inches all the way around, in an accordion fashion. Use a pastry brush to coat the exposed dough with an egg wash (you can cook up the leftover egg as a little scrambled egg, by the way), and sprinkle with coarse sugar if using.

7. Place in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet, over a rack, about 15 minutes.

The galette is great served with a little vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015