Make Yourself a Summer Fruit Galette

Summer eating at it’s best!

Ready for the Baking

Strawberry rhubarb galette

Another favorite combo: strawberries & rhubarb.

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.

My baking assistants working on a cake project. Love that focused concentration!

My baking assistants working on a cake project. Love that focused concentration!

Apricot Eyes by A Little Yumminess

A more typical scene around my house.

Slow Cooker Apple-Pear Butter

This apple-pear butter is tangy, spicy and sweet. It’s great on toast, in oatmeal, on pancakes or French toast. A nice change of pace from the usual breakfast spreads and so easy to make! Applesauce is a great substitute for vegetable oil in muffin recipes or pancake mixes (substitute one for one), which is another great reason to have this on hand.
We’ve made a similar apple butter on the stovetop in the past, but this slow cooker version, adapted from a recipe from Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home”, is a nice twist. You can chuck everything into the slow cooker and let it go overnight, with just minimal hands-on time. No peeling or coring required. We tweaked things — adding pears to the mix as well as fresh ginger and adjusting the sugar and spices a bit to suit my son’s tastes. If your little ones are just so-so on spices, just add a little cinnamon or no spices at all. Here’s our version (this made about 2 pints):
  • 3 Pounds Mixed Apples and Pears (a mix of sweeter and more tart varieties is nice)
  • Fresh Ginger (a couple of inch-long pieces)
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1.5 cups Brown Sugar (or to taste) — I’m sure you could substitute apple cider, agave syrup, maple syrup or other sweeteners you like.
  • 3/4 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 Tsp Allspice
  • Zest & Juice from 1 Lemon
  1. Cut the fruit into big chunks (including  skins, cores and seeds).
  2. Toss the fruit into a slow cooker with the water, ginger and apple cider vinegar.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours stirring occasionally.
  4. Pass the fruit through a food mill to remove the skins, seeds and stems and return to the slow cooker.
  5. Add sugar, spices, lemon juice and zest. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste.
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours (or overnight). Taste and adjust again if you need to. If it’s not thick enough for your liking at this point, continue cooking uncovered.
  7. Whatever you aren’t going to use in the next couple of weeks, you can freeze or can.

We happened upon “Ad Hoc at Home” at the library. Thomas Keller’s idea of simple, home cooking might be more involved than the way most us cook in real life, but there are a lot of great techniques well explained throughout that you really can incorporate into everyday cooking like how to cut up a chicken (8 and 10 piece versions), stocking your pantry and a whole section on “Becoming a Better Cook”. Check it out, you’re sure to find some inspiration in this one.