Simple Dessert ala Francais 

platedgalette
Last night I made a wonderful dessert inspired by Melissa Clark of The New York Times. It’s called a Galette and is like a pie but so much simpler and more delicious. My mouth is watering as I am anticipating a slice for dessert tonight.

I’ve made pies before but not as successfully. Getting the dough into the pie plate is always a problem. It was so simple to make the Galette that I had a hard time believing that it originated in France. Wow!

First I made a pie crust recipe from – yes – the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I often find that the basic recipes in this book solve my culinary problems. The original recipe is made with Shortening but I find that dividing it into half Butter and half Shortening makes it flakier and the Butter taste adds a richness to it. A nice Butter flavor. If you want the Crust flakier add more butter. If you want it less flakier add more Shortening. If you have access to (and your diet allows) Lard I understand it’s far above Butter and Shortening but I have yet to try it.

After I rolled out the Dough I put it into a sheet pan and rubbed a mixture of Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg into the Dough.

For the filling I used Peaches with a touch of Salt and Granulated Sugar. The Peaches were just slightly under ripe so adding the Salt helped to break them down. I used Salt here to help break down the Peaches and to bring out the natural sweetness.  More on Salt in another post.

After I put the Brown Sugar rub onto the Dough I arranged the Peaches on it, I folded the sides of the Dough over the Peaches, leaving a hole in the center. Don’t worry about your Galette being perfect. It’s impossible and, in fact, the more jagged or less perfect it is, the fancier it will look.  Leave it to the French to come up with something like this.

I brushed the Dough that was over the Peaches with an Egg Wash and sprinkled it with Sugar.  The Egg Wash gave it a nice browned look and the Sugar gave it a sparkle.  I wish I had Sanding Sugar in my cabinet – the grains would have been larger and prettier.  Not to worry, it looked amazing anyway.

After the Galette came out of the oven I served it with Butter Pecan Ice Cream.  The Galette must be served with either Whipped Cream – I always make it from scratch – or Ice Cream. I sprinkled the plate with Confectioner’s Sugar to give it something special.  In the restaurant I worked in we always plated desserts with Confectioner’s Sugar or Cocoa Powder or Cinnamon.  It always makes Desserts look professional and impresses guests.

One more note before I share the recipe with you. If I’m making a pie crust for a dessert – as a pose to a Quiche for example – I always add one Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract. It adds flavor to something that would otherwise be bland.

The Galette came out of the oven 40 minutes later perfectly cooked with a nice brown Crust – thanks to the Egg Wash. I plated and served it to rave reviews from my wife. In fact, she said it was THE best dessert she’d ever eaten. Fortunately, Galette can be made with any Fruit you can think of – although Citrus might be weird – so I will be making Galettes for years to come – especially in the Summer.

NOTE: The Pie Crust was made in my Cuisinart Food Processor with the sharp blades.  If you are making this by hand you will need a pastry cutter.  I’m writing it for the Food Processor though.

GALETTE

CRUST
2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt, plus a Pinch for the Peaches

1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Shortening

1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

4 to 6 Tablespoons Water

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg (You can add 1/4 Teaspoon Powdered Ginger if you like.  Be careful with the Ginger, it can be spicy).

1 Egg wisked

FILLING
3 to 4 Peaches Cut into Thin Slices

1/3 Teaspoon Sugar

Pinch of Salt

1. Put the Shortening, Butter, Salt, All Purpose Flour and Vanilla Extract into the Food Processor.  Pulse until it starts to come together.  Add one Tablespoon of Water at a time until the Dough forms little Pea sized Crumbs.  Put a large sheet of plastic wrap on your counter and empty the Food Processor onto it.  With your hands form it into a rough disk.  (Don’t worry if all the Crumbs don’t come together. When you close the plastic wrap it will.)  Put it into the refrigerator for 20-45 minutes.

2. Preheat the Oven to 400º. Roll the Dough out into about an 1/8th of an inch thick. Don’t worry about the edges being perfect.  Rough is better here.  Mix the Brown Sugar and Spices together to create a Rub and rub it into the Dough.

3. Toss the Peach Slices with your hands in a Bowl with the Salt and the Sugar. Place the Peaches in the center of the Dough – try to make a design but again, you don’t have to be perfect here.

4. Fold the edges of the Dough over the Peaches – it should leave a nice hole in the center revealing the Peaches.  Brush with the Egg and Sprinkle more sugar over it.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown and serve with Whipped Cream or Ice Cream.  Enjoy!

NOTE: Feel free to change up the Peaches for other fruits like Strawberries and Rhubarb or Mixed Berries.

 

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM

1 Pint Heavy Cream

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Sugar – more to taste

Whip either in a Stand Mixer or with an Electric Hand Mixer until it forms stiff peaks.  Refrigerate for an hour or more – it will last over night.  Serve with Dessert of your choice.

TIP: Did you know that you can freeze Whipped Cream to make a delicious Dessert on it’s own?  You’ll have to eat it right out of the Freezer though. Defrosting it will give you a mushy mess of liquid.

 

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