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Farmers Markets are to me are what fancy clothing stores are to so many of my friends. Open air food markets give me an adrenaline rush. Just the thought of all the seasonal produce at the stands makes my heart pitter patter like a school girl. The smells, the colors, the variety, the tastes!
I religiously visit two markets each week during the summer – the vendors know me by name, and I sometimes purchase more produce, especially fruit, than I can eat. I am still not over the fact that my sons’ baseball teams are not eating at our house. Nope, just two senior citizens with less capacity and appetite than those 18 year olds I used to feed. As my mother quipped… my eyes are bigger than my stomach.
So it came to pass last week when I was cleaning out the produce drawers of our fridge, as I always do on Fridays, that I happened upon seven nice apricots from a previous visit to the farmer’s market. They were definitely a bit mooshy and past their prime. What to do? Make apricot syrup? Stick them in smoothies? Make a crisp? Nope, I’m over that. They certainly weren’t firm enough for salsa or to slice in salads…
And then … Aha! I had some small discs of pie dough in the freezer so I defrosted one small ball of dough, peeled and sliced the apricots – adding just a few things to thicken them as they cooked and to enhance the flavor, and made a rustic tart or galette.
When it comes to making desserts, I much prefer to bake fruit pies over cakes. However, if I make a pie at home – half of it gets thrown away or sits in the refrigerator for five days or more. Not optimal, you see, to bake a pie for just two people. This galette, however, can be made to serve two or four or even 10 people depending on how much fruit you have and how large you make the tart…
Don’t be afraid of the crust! I’ve been making pie dough for years – with butter and/or Crisco – and I’ve settled on the following formula because it always works with no angst on my part. The dough rolls out like a dream. This recipe is adapted from my go-to publication, Cooks Illustrated which can’t be beat for instruction specifications.
I divide the recipe – which they say makes one double pie crust – and either make three single crusts that fit a 10-inch glass pie dish or four crusts for the gallette size to serve five or so. Even if I use this recipe for a double pie crust, I always have enough dough left for a single crust (I don’t really like thick pie crust, you see … I must prefer the light, delicate texture of thin).
(For four galettes that are seven inches in diameter)
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour – divide into 1½ cups and 1 cup
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 12 Tbsp or 1 ½ sticks salted butter (cut into ¼ inch pieces)
- ½ cup solid Crisco cut into 4 pieces
- ¼ cup cold vodka (refrigerate or freeze for an hour – the vodka won’t freeze anyway)
- ¼ cup cold water (I put water into a cup with ice for a few minutes, then measure what I need)
- Extra flour to roll out the dough and 1 tsp sugar mix to sprinkle on top of each galette
In a food processor, combine 1 ½ cup flour, salt and sugar with two one-second pulses. Add butter and Crisco and process for just 15 seconds. Scrape the dough from the edges of the food processor bowl and move the dough to redistribute evenly. Add the remaining one cup of flour and pulse until mix is distributed and starts to break up, about 4-6 quick pulses. Empty the dough into a larger bowl to mix.
Combine cold vodka and water and pour all over the top of the dough, using a rubber spatula to mix and make a solid mass. Try not to touch it much with your hands and know that it will be sticky and wet. Divide into four fairly even balls and flatten each into a four inch disk. Wrap each with waxed paper or plastic and refrigerate up to two days or freeze for up to three months.
When ready to make the tart, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Add about two tablespoons of flour to a counter (I use a pastry cloth). Roll the dough into approximately an 11 inch circle. Transfer to the parchment and pread the filling (below) to within 1 ½ inches of the edges, and overlap the crust to leave the center exposed but contain the fruit – kind of a free form pie. I sprinkle the exposed crust with a teaspoon of granulated sugar. Because this is rustic, you don’t need to be neurotic and make a perfect circle, make this paper thin, crimp the edges or make it look magazine perfect. That’s why it is called rustic, silly!
- 2 cups peaches (peeled) or apricots or a combo 1 ½ lbs Italian plums and 2 peaches or all Italian plums. I cut peeled fruit into roughly ¾ inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp grated lemon rind
- 2 Tbsp sugar/cinnamon mixed – add more or less depending on how sweet you like your pie
- Pinch of salt
- About 1 ½ Tbsp flour
Fold all these filling ingredients above into the fresh fruit until well combined.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned. Cool well (just put the parchment on a rack).
Serve the galette slightly warm or room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream or plain greek yogurt and enjoy! Just the name “galette” will make you a super star.