Dorrie Greenspan’s Summer Fruit Galette

from Baking: From My Home to Yours, p. 366.

Sacramento makes a good pitstop for vacationers returning from spending a week in the high sierra. Five Bay Area friends gave me a few days’ notice that they were arrive today for lunch around 2 pm. I prepared my grill station out in the driveway, put together Steve Raichlen’s Memphis Dry-Rub, and set two slabs of ribs to marinating in the rub in the fridge. At 10:30 this morning, the ribs went on the grill. The cole slaw I left to the last minute.

I swore to myself that I would wait a long while before dipping into Dorrie’s book again. I had plans to make her Boca Negra chocolate cake in the near future. But my peach tree demands attention. Far too many of them are ripening on my kitchen counter to think of making a dessert with anything else. I have no intention of reproducing much more of her book, even though it appears to be almost inexhaustible in its possibilities. If you like baking, buy this book. It’s essential. So, back to Dorrie.

The ribs turned out very well. You can find the update on the link above to that posting. I served them with the cole slaw and a tomato salad, the other major fruit taking up space on my counter. My only regret is that I forgot to take a photo before I cut into the galette. But, as it is, at least you can see the deep, burnt yellow color of my peaches.

As it is in the book:

Click here for Dorrie’s Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough

2-3 Tbs jam or marmalade

About 2 Tbl graham crackers crumbs

Fresh summer fruit: about 10 apricots, 8 to 10 nectarines, 8 ripe but firm peaches, 8 to 10 firm plums or 2 stalks rhubarb

Decorating (coarse) or granulated sugar, for dusting

For the custard:

3 Tbl unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment (see below) or a silicone mat.

To make it easier to move the pie dough onto the baking sheet, roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper (in which case, you can use one of the rolling sheets to line the baking sheet) or wax paper or plastic wrap. Alternatively, work on a well-floured surface, taking care to keep the dough moving by turning it and flouring the surface often.

Roll the dough into a large 1/8-inch-thick circle. Using a pastry wheel or a paring knife, trim the dough to a 13-inch diameter. Using a cake pan or a pot lid as a template and the tip of a blunt kitchen knife as a marker, lightly trace a 9-inch circle in the center of the dough– this is the area for the filling.

With the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, spread some of the jam over the circle — how much you use will depend on how much jam flavor you want. Sprinkle over the crumbs, adding a little more than 2 tablespoons if you think you’ve got particularly juicy fruit. Put a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper over the dough and refrigerate it while you prepare the fruit.

Wipe the apricots, nectarines or plums clean with a damp towel and cut in half; discard the pits. Blanch peaches for 10 seconds in a pot of boiling water, transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool, then slip off the skins. Halve and pit the peaches or peel rhubarb to remove the strings, and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces.

Arrange the fruit on the dough, cut side down if using stone fruits, then gently lift the unfilled border of dough up and onto the filling. As you lift the dough and place it on the filling, it will pleat. If you’re not in a rush, freeze the galette for 15 minutes to give the crust a rest.

Brush the dough very lightly with a little water, then sprinkle it with a teaspoon or two of sugar. Bake the galette for 25 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the fruit soft.

Meanwhile, make the custard: Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl; set aside until needed.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven (leave oven on), and carefully pour the custard around the fruit. Depending on how much juice has accumulated and how much psace you have between the fruit, you may not be able to pour all the custard into the galette, but even 2 tablespoons can give the right effect. Pour in as much custard as you can, then carefully return the pan to the oven.

Bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until the custard is set– it shouldn’t jiggle when you gently shake the pan. Cool the galette on the baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes.

Very carefully slide a small baking sheet or cake lifter under the galette and slip the galette onto a rack to cool. The galette can be served when it is just warm or — my preference — when it has reach room temperature. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

It’s hard to go wrong with those instructions, but just as a variation…

Usually, I follow her instructions pretty closely. This time, I made two changes.

First, I put the dough in an eight-inch tart ring with removable bottom. I like the compact size of eight-inch pan in contrast to the standard expansive nine- or ten-inch ones. After I spread apricot jam across the bottom, I put the dough-lined tart pan in the refrigerator until I was ready to slice the peaches and bake it.

Then, I stole an idea of hers from another recipe in the same book. I cut five or six peaches in half and removed the pit. With the hollow side face down on the cutting board, I sliced the peach half into five or six slices, disposing of the two smallest, rounded outer slices on either side. I placed the peach slices in a fan all around the pan, leaving a empty circle in the center. I sliced the smallest peach, retained the two smallest rounded outer slices, and carefully transferred the entire sliced peach half intact to the center circle in the tart pan. In keeping with its identity as a galette and not a tart, I lifted the dough hanging over the edge of the tart pan and folded it forward over the peaches. When it came out of the oven and I removed the outer tart ring, the shape of the galette was regular and very attractive. This is why I regret having forgotten to take a picture of the finished galette. My peach galette looked more like a pastry you’d see in a French patisserie than anything I’ve ever made. It looked beautiful.

As for the custard, in my oven, it took more than an addition 15 minutes for the custard to set. I left it in almost 25 minutes, but I watched it closely.

And finally, I whipped 3/4 cup cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone, and 2 tablespoons to serve with the galette.

All I can say is, I’m pretty proud of my peach tree.

A Little Dorrie Greenspan, A Big Dollop of Martha Stewart in a Fruit Tart

The crust is here, the original recipe is there, and the fruit comes from everywhere, in particular the peach tree in my backyard.

The whipped cream dominates the image above for a reason: it’s the secret to this tart’s success. I had five friends over for an early Sunday dinner in mid-summer. Continuing my project of diminishing my supply of lamb in the freezer, I grilled a butterflied leg of lamb according to the Gourmet Cookbook’s instructions. When the lamb reached the right temperature, I replaced it on the grill with unshucked ears of corn. I put on the lid with the vents partially close to diminish the fire slowly so that the husks didn’t catch fire but the corn would cook. The lamb rested for the twenty minutes or so it took for the corn to finish. A tomato-cucumber salad finished off the dinner.

For dessert, I decided to improvise. That morning, I picked up a flat of crimson red strawberries and a small container of blueberries. The day before, I had picked a few peaches off the tree in my garden. I wanted to make a fruit tart whose constituent flavors stood out sharply from one another, so I decided to forgo the risk of a goopy pie. No cornstarch, as the one recipe called for; no crème anglaise custard, as the other required. I decided on Dorrie’s Good-for-Almost-Anything-Pie Dough, sliced fresh fruit with only sugar and lemon, and the whipped basil-infused cream and mascarpone from a Martha Stewart recipe.

I admit I’m just enough of a snob to feel slightly abashed at posting a Martha Stewart recipe. But snobbery never pays. One post in the near future will involve her excellent cookbook for hors-d’oeuvres. The recipe I’ve adapted here came to me from a friend who’s a very good cook. Lynda brought the strawberry tart with the cream to a dinner we both attended. Everyone gushed over the unusual flavor of the basil-infused cream in combination with the strawberries. Yesterday, I wondered, “if basil works with strawberries, will it work with peaches?” Now I can say, yes, and I think everyone at my dinner last night would agree. So, here’s the tart as I made it. Follow the link above for the complete strawberry galette.

1. The pie dough

When I made Dorrie’s pie dough, I partially baked it, first for 25 minutes with the pie weights (as in the already-posted recipe) and then for 4 minutes (slightly less than she calls for, since I was going to bake it for much longer with the fruit in it)

2. The cream

Two hours before serving, combine 3/4 cups heavy cream, 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 2 hours for a more pronounced basil flavor — but don’t over do it). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add 3/4 cup mascarpone, and whisk or beat with an electric mixer until medium peeks form. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 hours

3. The filling

After the pie dough cooled, I spread Damson plum jam on the surface of the crust (apricot jam would work very well, too). Then I crushed two graham crackers and sprinkled it over the jam. Martha’s recipe calls for adding corn starch to the strawberries, which didn’t appeal to me. Dorrie’s strategy of dusting the bottom of fruit pies and tarts with graham cracker crumbs to soak up fruit juices makes a lot of sense to me.

I sliced the strawberries as Martha’s recipe described: cut off the tops and the tips, and slice the remaining berry into 3 cross slices for round pieces. I put the slices in a bowl, sprinkled them with lemon juices, sprinkled 1 tablespoon of sugar over them and mixed it all together. Then I thinly sliced the peaches and add them to the strawberries slices with additional lemon juice and another tablespoon of sugar. I mixed in blueberries.

Pressed for time, I eschewed arranging the fruit in a pattern and simply poured all the fruit into the partially baked crust. I liked the riot of color of the jumbled fruit.

I put the tart on a baking sheet and baked it in 350 oven until the fruit started to caramelized just a little, about 40-45 minutes. I thought of turning up the heat, but the crust would have turned dark and hardened.

Let the tart cool a bit before serving with the cream.

A final note:

Everyone agreed the two noticeable benefits of this tart were the cream and the unadorned fruit with distinct flavors. You can’t get much more seasonal than this dessert. It is only possible when at the height of the fruit season.

Martha recommends frying basil leaves and serving it with the tart, but I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Still, if you want to try it…