Posted on February 18th, 2013
Going through my old photos, I was reminded of our wonderful trip to France in the summer of 2009. I was completely in awe with Paris. In this city of romance, there is everything from the historic Eiffel tower, the prized Louvre, fashion icons like Chanel and Louis Vuitton with every woman on the street dressed like a model and the famous café culture which I loved. Cafés are a focal point of French life. They have an illustrious history – those that lined the elegant boulevards of Montparnasse were a meeting place where ideas were hatched and mulled over and were once home to revolutionaries, artists, intellectuals, philosophers who would write and talk about over un café.
It was a fine morning with morning sun peeking through the blooming trees. Strolling through the cobblestone pedestrian pathways of Saint Germain, lined with great cafes, I came across this little place with gorgeous display of croissants, French pâtisseries and some savories. What caught my attention was a round tart kind of thing with beautiful fruit fillings, a galette! Less formal than the classic heavily glazed, precisely fluted French fruit tart, this charming dessert consists of a thin layer of fruit baked on top of a buttery, crisp crust simply folded over the fruit, very rustic! They made me salivate then and I got salivating today thinking about them.
What I love about this fruit galette is that it’s beautiful in its simplicity. You’ll be surprise how easy this recipe is to make. I like using stone fruits for my galette, but you can use almost any fruit you like. You could use strawberries, nectarines, apples and walnuts, pears, figs and honey and also a savory version of eggs and ham, asparagus and goats cheese etc. The list is endless. I had these beautiful peaches and blueberries on hand which I used to make this little beauty. Every bite transported me back to that little café, enjoying the sun at a pavement table, savoring each bite along with the perfect café au lait and watching the world pass by.
Makes one 12 inch galette
For the dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
3 oz./85 grams butter, cold and cut into cubes
4 tablespoons cold water
For the filling
½ cup finely ground almonds
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground cinnamon
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
5-7 ripe peaches, quartered and then cut into 1 cm. slices
½ cup of fresh blueberries
Few springs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ cup apricot jam, honey or maple syrup (for glaze, optional)
1. Make the dough: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. You could also use a pastry cutter or mix them with your hands. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until there are butter pieces the size of large peas. Do not process for more than 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Flatten, and form a disc. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours before using. Tip: 1. Use everything cold and make sure your hands are cold while flattening the dough. Wash them with cold water before. The idea is not to allow the butter to melt. 2. Don’t overwork the dough.
2. Preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Remove dough from fridge. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch/35 cm. circle, about ⅛-inch/½-cm thick. Place dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tip: To transfer the dough to the baking sheet, either roll the dough on a rolling pin and then unroll on the sheet or fold the dough into half to make a half moon and then again to make a triangle, unfold on the baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the ground almonds, nutmeg, cinnamon and ¼ cup of sugar. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1½-inch/4-cm. border. Arrange the peaches in concentric circles, making only one snug layer. Add the blueberries and sprinkle some thyme leaves. Sprinkle the remaining almond sugar mixture over the fruit.
4. Fold the border of dough over the peaches, pinching the edges to make sure they are sealed. Brush the border with the melted butter and sprinkle it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake in the lower section of the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the crust is well browned and its edges are slightly caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.
5. Serve the galette with warmed jam, honey or maple syrup.