Friday, March 8, 2013

Strawberry Galette

This week marked a special day of remembrance for me. I won't get into the details, but suffice to say it is a personal holiday of sorts and one in which I fiercely celebrate each year. Some years I volunteer at a local shelter or plant trees as part of some riparian habitat restoration project. Other years I hole up and find solace in baking. As it turned out, this was one of those years.
I adore tarts. Wholeheartedly and with a sprinkle of amazement, I think tarts are the cat's meow (who came up with that expression??). But with this week being insanely hectic, I just didn't have the patience to devote to making one. So instead I opted for a galette, which is somewhere between a flat pie and a tart (depending upon the ingredients). Typically, a galette is made from some sort of short crust pastry or pate brisee, rolled out into a thin sheet with a filling, fruit, or compote added to the center, then the edges are folded over...and voila! Rustic pie!
With the amount of strawberries I had on hand, I went with strawberries as my theme. After making my pastry dough, I tossed the strawberries with almond extract, a tiny bit of sugar, and a little bit of cornstarch to absorb some of the moisture they would put off in the oven. Next I rolled out the pastry dough and spread a light layer of jams (strawberry and peach as they are what I had on hand) over it and continued on as I would with any other galette recipe.
Holy smokes, was this one of the easiest and tastiest desserts I have made in a long while. I bet you have all the necessary ingredients in your kitchen right now. Go, check. I'll be here stuffing my pie hole with this beautiful baby.

Strawberry Galette
Adapted from: Raspberry Tart

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups strawberries, sliced 
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp sugar + a little extra to sprinkle on top 
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp peach jam
  • 1 tbsp strawberry jam

In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add remaining water, if necessary.  Do not process more than about 30 seconds.

Turn the pastry out onto your work surface, gather it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour to chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax. 

In a separate bowl, toss the sliced strawberries with the cornstarch, almond extract, and 1 tbsp of sugar until well coated. 

Once the pastry has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into an 11" round. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and ensure even thickness, keep lifting and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness). Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper pined baking sheet. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. 

Next, spread the jams over the pastry leaving an untouched 1.5" border around the edge. Then arrange the strawberry slices in a concentric circle, starting at the edge of the jam and working in towards the center.  It's okay to let it get a little messy, this is a RUSTIC tart. Once you are done with the fruit, gently fold the edges of the pasty up and over the edges of the filing, pleating as necessary, being careful not to squash the strawberries. Sprinkle a little more sugar over the top of everything and put in the oven. 

Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking the pastry every 10 minutes for even baking. Remove when the dough is light golden brown, and place on a wire rack to cool. 

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