Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I know it's coming to a close, but here's a hot tip for summer: keep a batch of pie crust in your fridge or freezer at all times. Then, when you spot some pretty fruit at the farmer's market, you'll always have something to tuck it into at the ready.
Just about the easiest thing you can make with fruit and pie crust is a galette. Galettes are casual open faced tarts and their charm is in their imperfections. It's okay if the fruit leaks all over the baking sheet and there is no futzy crust crimping for the folks who find that part of pie making frustrating. I even know someone who likes to make them at 3AM after a night of drinking, so you know they are easy.
These particular galettes were born when I had lots of little bits of different fruits left over from another project and I used roughly equal amounts of sour cherries, red currants and raspberries. This particular combination of red fruits turned out visually stunning and totally delicious, but don't feel limited by these fruits! You can make a galette with just about any fruit you have hanging around.
This is more of a formula and a process than a recipe that needs to be followed to the letter so feel free to swap the crust or the fruit or the jam for anything you like. And it's the best kind of recipe to have in your back pocket for all those times when you just need dessert last minute. Get invited to dinner? Galette. Going to a picnic or barbecue or rooftop party? Galette. Celebrating a birthday? Galette. Tuesday? Galette.
Red Fruits Galettes
yield 2, 9-inch galettes
Feel free to swap out my pie crust for your favorite recipe, but please make sure to bake the galettes until they are deeply golden brown and caramelized. Say no to soggy crust!
12 ounces all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
9 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 ounces ice cold water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in half of the butter until it is the size of peas, then cut in the other half until it is the size lima beans. Some of the butter will be completely worked into the flour, but you should have lots of visible pieces of butter in the dough too. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to mix the water into the flour until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, then split it in half, form into discs and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.
about 2 pounds of assorted red fruits (raspberries, cherries, sour cherries, sweet cherries, currants, etc)
1 3/4-2 3/4 ounces granulated sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit (for example: currants will need more, sweet cherries less)
4 ounces apricot, raspberry or strawberry jam
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon flour (only if the fruit seems very juicy)
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt for egg wash
1 3/4 ounce crunchy sugar like demerara or turbinado for sprinkling
Work with one piece of dough at a time and on a floured surface, roll the dough into a roughly 13'' circle, 1/4-1/8'' thick. Transfer the rounds to two large, parchmentlined sheet pans. Store in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Pit the cherries and remove the currants from their stems. In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest and salt into the sugar. If you're using flour, now's the time to add it. Add the fruit to the sugar mixture and toss gently to combine.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and spread each round with about 4 tablespoons of jam, then divide the fruit evenly between the disks, leaving a 1 1/2'' border around the edges. Fold the edges of the pastry over the filling and gently brush the egg wash between the folds to seal. Chill the formed tarts until the dough is very firm.
While the tarts are chilling, preheat your oven to 400º. When the tarts are nice and cold, remove them from the fridge, gently brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle the pastry and the fruit with coarse sugar. Bake until the fruit juices bubble and ooze and the pastry is a deep golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Of all the spring and summer fruit, I find that strawberries need the least amount of adornment; especially this time of year, when the berries at the farmer's market are juicy, ripe, and red all of the way through. I prefer to eat them fresh or sliced up and tossed with just a sprinkle sugar. I think strawberries lose something when cooked so when I want to have them for dessert, I don't bake them into pie or cake, but I love to use them fresh. This tart is a perfect example of a super fresh and super easy strawberry dessert.
This is maybe the easiest tart I've ever made, the only thing that requires effort is making a batch of pie dough and I'm guessing most of you guys have done that before. Heck, you might even have a batch in your freezer, just waiting to be thawed and rolled out. If that's the case, you can make this impressive treat in about 45 minutes. Make sure you assemble the tart right before you want to eat it. No one likes a soggy tart.
Happy Solstice, all!
Super Simple Strawberry Tart
The combination of buttery crust and sweetened mascarpone would be delicious with just about any fruit you can imagine: blackberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines or plums would all be totally delicious. I would caution against blueberries, only because they might roll right off of the crust. Assemble the tart right before you serve it, to prevent sogginess.
one recipe of your favorite single crust pie dough (all purpose version, rye version)
1 egg for egg wash
1 pound strawberries
8 ounces mascarpone
3 tablespoons sugar
small handful organic rose petals (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF
Roll out the pie crust to an oval, 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Trim any rough edges and move the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Dock the crust with a fork to prevent the dough from puffing up too much and brush the dough with a beaten egg. Bake the dough until it is deep, deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool the pastry completely.
While the pastry is cooling, combine the mascarpone and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread the mascarpone over the cooled pastry, top with sliced strawberries arranged in a decorative pattern. If you are using the rose petals, gently tuck them between the strawberries. Sprinkle the tart with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, slice and serve immediately.
Monday, June 16, 2014
This time of year I love making rhubarb compote or jam to eat with my morning yogurt. For these treats, I took my favorite breakfast and turned up the flavors to turn it into a tart and tangy dessert. First, I caramelized the rhubarb with a bit of honey to add some depth of flavor. By the way, have you ever tried making fruit caramel sauce? It's so, so good! This strawberry caramel sauce is a perfect ice cream topping. But, let's get back to the pops at hand because then, I swirled honey and vanilla bean seeds into the yogurt which tastes delicious and has the extra bonus of looking totally beautiful and fancy.
I first imagined this recipe as cool and creamy frozen yogurt, but forgot to put my ice cream canister in the freezer, doh! So, I went with the next best option, dusted off my popsicle molds and layered the rhubarb and yogurt in those instead. They are the perfect, late spring treat: creamy, sweet, tart and cooling, all in one.
Caramelized Rhubarb and Yogurt Ice Pops
yield, 6-8 popsicles, depending on size
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup honey, plus 2 tablespoons honey (or more to taste)
2 Tablespoons water2 cups 2% greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
Add the 1/4 cup honey and water to a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add in the chopped rhubarb and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the rhubarb, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is very soft and falling apart, about 7 more minutes. Chill the rhubarb mixture thoroughly.
Whisk together the yogurt, milk, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tablespoons honey in a bowl.
Fill layer the chilled rhubarb mixture and yogurt in ice pop molds. Freeze until solid, 4 hours or overnight.