Beautiful, summery, bountiful fruit. It’s no wonder we love this time of year. And no matter how much fruit we buy, it seems we always find ourselves wanting for more, more more! A big bowl of apricots, plums, cherries and nectarines is on it’s own the world’s most perfect dessert/snack/breakfast, but every once in a while we get a little more ambitious and bake up a little fruit pastry. Despite what Simran might tell you about her baking phobias, pastry dough is totally simple to make. It takes less than 5 minutes in the food processor (really!) and if you follow a few simple rules you’ll be golden. Just keep the butter cold and don’t handle the pastry any more than you absolutely need to. And since my food processor has gone on the fritz and we haven’t invested in a new one yet, I’ve been doing the dough by hand which is not much more difficult.
I like forming my pastries into free form galettes because it’s easier and because my husband is the acknowledged two-crust “pie guy” around my house, so I leave all those crimped edges to him. I also like the fact that you can make your galettes any size you like — mini baby ones to enjoy as individual desserts or big, pizza-sized ones to share with friends. If you find you have leftover dough, you can just wrap it tightly and freeze it for the next time. As for the fruit, just cut up what you have (stone fruits like peaches, apricots, nectarines cherries and plums are especially good) — and sprinkle with sugar to your sweetness preference. Wrap up your pastry and fruit, brush the top with a little egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk) and bake it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F. Depending on the size of your galette it will need 40-60 minutes to bake.
- Tartine’s Flakey Pastry Dough – My go to recipe for flakey pastry dough is the one from the excellent Tartine cookbook, one of our favorite bakeries here in San Francisco, but your favorite pie pastry dough will do. You can also find Tartine’s recipe on the Seattle Times website.
- Pie Pastry Secrets from Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxal – I recently listened to an interview on “The Splendid Table” with Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxal, his pastry chef at Bouchon Bakery, about their “Pie Pastry Secrets” and it’s definitely worth a listen. Thomas Keller says the number one thing you can do to improve your baking is to get a scale and measure by weight (that is measuring by grams or ounces instead of cups).
- Converting Cups to grams/ounces – If you are interested in following Thomas Keller’s advice, here are two handy online calculators that will help you convert your volume measurements to weight measurements: King Arthur Master Weight Chart, Traditional Oven Baking Conversions
Even more than the crispy golden, juicy, warm-from-the-oven pastry on my plate, what I love about making fruit galettes is baking with my boys. No matter what they’re doing, the kids stop in their tracks and come running anytime they see me pulling out my big tub of flour. They wash their hands, drag a chair over and hang around until I let them help. It takes a lot to steal their attention away from their lego projects and hot wheels, so that’s saying something.