Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Moving to the country...we're gonna eat a lot of peaches...

Oh if only every blog would start with lyrics from The Presidents of the United States of America. So simple and easy...not at all like the recipes I tried out yesterday. Let us start from the beginning, Monday was my mother-in-law's birthday so I needed to make a scrumptiously delicious dessert to celebrate. I turned to one of my favorite cooking blogs for inspiration, SmittenKitchen. Deb just happened to have what I was looking for, a Nectarine and Blackberry Galette. I had peaches and blackberries...perfect.

So I started writing down directions when I noticed another recipe in the "comment" section of her page. It was for a Pear and Cranberry Crostata...also the perfect recipe because I had a whole bag of pears that were almost overripe. Killing two birds with one stone...that is what I am all about.

Or not.

I should have known this was going to be a struggle as soon as I started measuring flour for the two different recipes. The two cups of coffee I downed before trying to do this did not help. Caffeine shakes, left-over-pregnancy-brain, and unhappy baby led me to do this:

Oh yes my friends, this is a mark of a crazy woman. When one can not figure one recipe from the other by saying to themselves, "steel bowl is pate sucree, glass bowl is crostata", it is going to be a long day. Thank god for sticky notes. Moving on to the recipes...

This Galette was the easier of the two to throw together. Make the dough, chill, roll out dough, chill, stir up fruit mixture, let sit, dump fruit into middle of dough, brush with egg, fold, brush with egg and sugar, bake. The original recipe called for a pate brisee dough but I switched to a pate sucree because I wanted a dough that was a little easier to work with and that was on the sweeter side. (For a explanation of the difference between pate brisee, pate sucree and pate sablee, visit
nook and cranny.) I like the "rustic" look so juice leakage is not an issue.

Peach and Blackberry Galette
Adapted from Deb at SmittenKitchen who adapted it from Bon Appetit, July 2002

Makes one smallish galette, good for 4 to 6 people

1/2 recipe pate sucree (below)

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1-1 1/2 large peaches, each pitted and cut into 16 slices
1/2 -pint basket blackberries
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, but I liked it in there)
1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
Raw sugar crystals (Sugar in the Raw works well)

Peach preserves, heated

Roll out dough on lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, turning dough occasionally to prevent sticking. Slide rimless baking sheet under parchment. Transfer dough on parchment to refrigerator. Chill until dough firms slightly, about 30 minutes.

Make filling: Stir sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend. Mix in fruit and vanilla. Let stand until juices are released, stirring fruit occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer baking sheet with dough to work surface. Let stand 8 minutes to allow dough to soften slightly if too firm to fold. Spoon fruit and juices into center of dough.

Arrange fruit in even 9-inch-diameter layer in center. Brush 2-inch border of dough with egg glaze. Lift about 2 inches of dough border and pinch to form vertical seam. Continue around tart, pinching seam every 2 inches to form standing border. Fold border down over fruit (center 6 inches of fruit remain uncovered). Brush folded border with egg glaze; sprinkle with raw sugar.

Place baking sheet with tart in oven. Bake until crust is golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling at edges, about 55 minutes. Remove from oven; slide large metal spatula under tart to loosen from parchment. Brush fruit with preserves. Slide tart onto rack. Cool 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.

Flaky Pate Sucree
Politely borrowed from Nook & Pantry

1 C flour
1/3 C confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, chilled cut into 1 in pieces
2 Tbsp beaten egg or 1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp milk, cold
1/2 tsp of vanilla

Pulse the flour, confectioner's sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with no large butter pieces. Alternatively use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in the butter, or freeze the butter and coarsely grate it then use your fingers and rub the pieces into the flour. It is very important to keep the butter cold otherwise it will melt and make the crust really greasy and you'll lose all the flaky layers. ( I cut the butter up into pieces and freeze it until I am ready to add it to the flour mix.)

Mix the vanilla into the beaten egg or beaten egg yolk. Drizzle the beaten egg and about 1 Tbsp of the milk over the flour and butter mix. Pulse again until the dough just comes together, forming large clumps. If it looks too dry add a little more milk.

Press all the dough clumps together and form a round disc, cover in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour up to overnight. I dump the pieces onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and hold the plastic wrap as I push the dough together. I let it chill and then cut it in half and that gives me a good surface to start rolling the dough out.

Now this is where all hell broke loose... you see I have this problem. I think it might be a slight case of ADHD or something along those lines. I have this terrible habit of finding a recipe, deciding to make it...and not actually reading through the directions beforehand. I would like to believe that I do this because I am so excited to try something out... right.

I made the dough for the Pear and Blackberry Crostata and then moved on to the almond cream filling...which is to be made with almond flour. Huh. Almond flour? I thought that said almond flavoring. What the hell is almond flour? Oh crap. Where am I going to get almond flour in Baker City Oregon? After a moment of anxiety, I checked the Internet and found that almond flour is just ground up almonds. Good to know.

Without further ado, here is the most laborious free-form tart I have made to date:

Pear and Blackberry Crostata
Adapted from Johanne Chang

Pie Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 egg yolks
5 tablespoons milk

Almond Cream:
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups almond flour
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Roasted Pears:
6 pears, peeled, halved, and cored
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 (1-inch) piece fresh, peeled ginger, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 egg, beaten

Make the Pie Dough: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix to combine. Add the butter and continue mixing until the mixture holds together when you clump it, and there are pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and milk in small bowl.

Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap well and store in the refrigerator for several hours. (The dough will keep for several days in the fridge and several weeks in the freezer.)

Make the Almond Cream: In the standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add almond flour and mix until just combined. Add eggs and mix until combined. Add flour, vanilla, and salt and mix. Store covered in refrigerator for up to a week. (This recipe makes A LOT of almond cream and you only need about 1/2 cup for the crostata. I now have the left over in my fridge. Feel free to half this recipe unless you want almond cream sitting in your fridge too.)

Make the Roasted Pears: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the pears with the ginger in a roasting pan and arrange them in a single layer. Sprinkle the sugar on top and dot with the butter. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool. (Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

Assemble the Crostata: Using half of the pie dough (reserve half for another use), roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a circle about 12 to 14 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered baking sheet. ( I rolled if out on parchment paper and slipped it onto a baking sheet... much easier.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Using a spatula, spread a circle of almond cream about 8 inches in diameter in the center of the dough (use about 1/2 cup of the almond cream). Arrange the pears in concentric circles in 2 layers on top of almond cream circle. Sprinkle the blackberries on top of the pears. Fold the edges of the dough in, slightly covering the pears, to form a free-form tart. Brush with the beaten egg and bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, let cool, and serve.

Here is where the picture of the finished tart goes...except I do not have a picture of the finished tart to go here because I forgot to take a picture of the finished tart. So please use your imagination and place the magnificent pear and blackberry tart *here*.

Happy birthday Linda!

1 comment:

Tish said...

Any recipe instruction that is over 3 pages cannot be "thrown together"! Galette & Sucree...gees! Were they as mouth watering as they appeared?,,,assuming the Pate looked just as good. How did they taste?
I have a cookie recipe for almond flour (actually calls for ground almonds...the flour request sounds a bit fancied), egg whites and pine nuts that Mom made. A bit messy, but I don't think that would deter you. What a great way to share your life. Very witty. Love,GT