|Apricot-Plum Galette, juicy and tangy|
Abigail Dodge, author of "The Weekend Baker", calls a galette the "friendliest of all pies": ideal for people suffering from "pie anxiety". There is no double crust to deal with, no complicated lattice weaving, no edge crimping - not even a pie plate is needed.
Though I like the combination of plums and apricots - and both were available in our supermarket - I didn't suffer so much from pie phobia, as from filling anxiety. Apricots and plums are usually only half ripe when you get them, and you never know whether they will soften into juicy goodness or mealy sourness.
I bought my two pounds of fruit, and placed them, together with an apple, in a brown bag, hoping they would ripen in time for the challenge.
Making the crust was no problem. Following Hanaâ's advice, I froze the cubed butter, instead of just refrigerating it. I substituted a fifth all-purpose flour for spelt flour, to have a little bit of whole grains in the crust.
Rolling the dough, transferring it into the sheet pan - no great challenge there, and no slightest twinge of pie anxiety.
After their three days of hobnobbing with the apple, I found the apricots and plums softer and sufficiently sweet, so I didn't add any additional sugar. I forgot the lemon juice in the mix, so I belatedly drizzled a bit over the top.
The galette looked very appetizing when it came out of the oven - only the crust had cracked in several places and the pie sat in a puddle of juice!
And then came the only glitch - Abby Dodge wants you to lift the slightly cooled galette with two spatulas on a plate. This action, exercised with a metal peel and a bench knife, ended in a broken pie.
The congealing juice stuck to the parchment paper, and the sticky surface made easy gliding impossible. The parchment paper was pushed together in wrinkles, and the galette broke apart.
|Re-assembled galette, the damage is hardly visible|
I got the pie out, don't ask me how, and assembled the broken pieces on the plate, so that the galette looked almost like new. I didn't attempt to glaze it, not wanting to disturb my poor pie anymore.
But, in the end, who cares, when the the taste is right. And it WAS right! Plums, apricots and ginger made an awesome combination, and the crust was delicate and flaky.
You'll find the recipe in "The Weekend Baker", by Abigail Johnson Dodge. She calls her recipes "irresistible" and I wholeheartedly agree. And to make this galette entirely "stress-free for busy people", I would next time line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and move it with the pie to the platter.
And, after reading other Avid Bakers' posts, I realize that leakages rather seem to be the rule in rustic galettes, not a failure. Even master baker Joanne Chang commented in Fine Cooking: "It’s all right if some of the juices escape from the tart and seep onto the pan."
But I still thought about how to minimize those leaks, and asked my knowledgeable daughter Valerie what she would do.
|It's great to have a chef in the family|
She recommended "Bakers' Secret Weapon" - a layer of cake crumbs on the crust to soak up excess juice. Or mix the fruits with the sugar several hours before using, strain them over a bowl, and then cook the juice in a sauce pan until reduced to syrup.
Another way to achieve a leak free crust is a French pastry bakers' technique, called fraisage. After transferring the dough to the work surface, you smear the crumbly mass repeatedly with the heel of your hand, until it is cohesive. Cook's Illustrated explains that this procedure creates long, thin streaks of butter between layers of flour and water, resulting in a sturdy, but very flaky dough.
If you would like to join the Hanaâ's Avid Bakers, take up the monthly challenge, and have the fun - here is your link: