Thursday, July 23, 2015

almond and sweet cherry galette.

For the better part of the last 3 weeks I've been buying at least 2 pounds of cherries (sometimes close to 3) every Thursday.  Part of the reason why I've been buying so many is because Thursdays are the day I walk by 3 different farmer's markets and I feel it's my civic duty to contribute to the bottom line of every farmstand I see. It also doesn't help that I am attracted to jewel like things and cherries fit that bill nicely.  They just keep calling me and I keep answering.  

Which means cherry desserts have been a mainstay as of late.   

I hope you don't mind.  We discussed Cherry Shortbread bars a few weeks back and now it's time to discuss this Almond and Sweet Cherry Galette which is everything. Like most people, I am obsessed with the combination of cherry and almond because it just works and trying to break up something that just works isn't something I'm willing to do.  Most galettes consist of just a layer of fruit and a crust but this one, created  by the wonderful Deb at Smitten Kitchen, is a galette that has fruit, crust, and a layer of almond filling.  That extra layer of almond filling takes the galette from run of the mill to truly special. I particularly love it because it has the elegance of a tart with the simplicity of a free-form dessert.  A win-win in my book.       

Almond and Sweet Cherry Galette
Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

For the Galette

1 Flaky All-Butter Crust (recipe below)
1/3 cup sliced, slivered, or coarsely chopped almonds, blanched if you can get them (or almond meal)
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg white
1 pound  (or a generous pound if you are anything like me) sweet cherries, any variety or a mix of varieties, pitted

To Finish

1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar

Make pastry: The dough should be refrigerated for at least an hour before you use it in this recipe.

Make filling: Finely grind almonds and flour in a food processor (if you use almond meal, you can just use a bowl and a spoon).  Mix in sugar, butter, and extract, then egg white. Blend until smooth. Cover and chill until needed.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the almond filling evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Scatter the cherries on top. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit; the center will be open. Whisk egg yolk with water, brush crust with egg wash mixture and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake galette until the filling is puffed and the crust is golden brown, about 30 – 40 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through for even browning.  Cool, and serve.

Flaky All-Butter Crust

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
1 sticks unsalted butter, very cold

Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl — I like to use a very wide one, so I can get my hands in — whisk together 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 ½  teaspoons of sugar and a ½ teaspoon of salt. Dice one stick (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Get out your pastry blender.

Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later.

Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/4 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 2 or so tablespoons of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.

Pack it up: Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.

Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

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