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Farm Fresh: Rustic galette makes a peachy dessert

Thursday, September 06, 2001

By Betsy Kline, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

If you're easily seduced by the pale blush of a ripe peach, you'll be captivated by this lovely dessert, a rustic take on peach pie. You don't need any special skills to assemble what the French call a galette, just a rolling pin.

The recipe we use comes from the wonderful "Baking With Julia" by Dorie Greenspan. The cookbook's recipe calls for mixed berries, but any juicy fruit will do. Simply vary the amount of sugar according to the fruit's natural sweetness.

Peach Galette

The dough recipe makes enough for two 8-inch galettes. If you're making two, you'll need to double the ingredients for the filling.

For the dough:
3 tablespoons sour cream (or yogurt or buttermilk)
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 to 8 pieces

For the filling:
1 1/2cups sliced, peeled peaches
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

To make the dough by hand: Stir the sour cream and ice water together in a small bowl and set aside. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir with a fork to mix. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl, tossing them once or twice to coat with flour. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour, aiming for pieces of butter that range in size from bread crumbs to small peas. The smaller pieces will make the dough tender, the larger ones will make it flaky.

Sprinkle the sour cream mixture over the dough, a tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you've added all the sour cream, the dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if it's not, add additional cold water, a teaspoon at a time. With your hands, gather the curds of dough together. (It will be soft and malleable.) Divide the dough in half, pressing each piece into a disk, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To make the dough in a food processor: Stir the sour cream and ice water together in a small bowl; set aside. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in the work bowl of a processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse to combine. Drop the butter pieces in the bowl and pulse 8 to 10 times, or until the mixture is speckled with pieces of butter that vary in size from bread crumbs to small peas. With the machine running, add the sour cream mixture and process just until the dough forms soft, moist curds. Divide the dough in half, pressing each piece into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Note: The dough can be refrigerated for a day or two, or wrapped airtight and frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.

When you're ready to bake: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

To assemble: Put a dough disk on a lightly floured surface and roll it into an 11-inch circle that's about 1/8 thick. Use flour liberally because the dough is soft and sticky. Roll up the dough around your rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.

Spread the peaches over the dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the fruit and drizzle with honey, if you're using it. Cut butter into slivers and scatter on top of the fruit. Fold uncovered border of dough up over filling, allowing the dough to pleat as you lift it up and work your way around the galette. (This is easier than it sounds.) Dip a pastry brush in water and lightly coat the edge of the crust, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Bake the galette for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the galette rest for 10 minutes. Slip a wide spatula under the galette and slide it onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

Note: The galette is best eaten the same day it is made.

Adapted from "Baking with Julia" by Dorie Greenspan

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