Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quick Simple Peach Galette or Rustic Peach Tart

What is a Galette?

Fresh Peach Galette
If you are unfamiliar with the term "galette" it is nothing more than a rustic, free form tart, made sweet or savory. Why use the term galette, when it is a rustic, free form pastry? Just a simpler term; one word instead of four. Plus, it sounds cool. How's that for a technical answer. I believer galette is a French term originally, for this type of rustic tart, though it also has other meanings there, as well as in Canada.

These rustic tarts or galettes have become very popular here in the US and are seen more and more as years pass. For one thing, they are so easy to make. Making a pie is intimidating to some, in a way that the galette is not. There is nothing fussy about making a galette. If you have a pie pastry made, and some fresh or frozen fruit, you have nearly all the ingredients necessary to make a galette. Making a savory galette can be equally easy, but can be spruced up amazingly.

My very first experience with a galette was in fact a savory variety. It came from a Food and Wine Magazine many years ago (March '94, if the many websites now displaying this recipe are to be believed). The recipe was for a Leek and Goat Cheese Galette and while not difficult at all, had many steps. It stated that a yeast dough could be used or a pie pastry. I feel that a yeast dough would end up far too doughy, and have only ever used the pie pastry. I have a fantastic recipe for Never Fail Pie Crust. Why use anything else? I made the Leek and Goat Cheese Galette and to my delight, it came out looking exactly like the photo in the magazine. I have made this recipe over the years many times. It is perfect with a side salad for a meal. Even my husband, a very staunch Midwest Meat Eater, found this galette good enough for a meal a couple of times. Here is the recipe for the filling for this galette:

Leek and Goat Cheese Galette (filling)

Leek and Goat Cheese Galette
makes 4 or 6 servings

6 large leeks, white and light green parts only
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup soft goat cheese such as Chevre or Montrachet

Cut off dark green tops of the leeks and discard. Cut off root ends and then slice down the length of each remaining leek section. Hold each section under running water, fanning the ends to rinse well to clear out any mud or grit. Slice the leeks across into about 1/4-inch slices. There should be about 6 cups total.

Melt the butter in a medium large skillet. Add in the leeks with the thyme and about 1/2 cup of water. Cook over medium-low heat until the leeks are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Raise heat slightly and add the wine and continue cooking until wine is nearly evaporated, then add in the cream and cook until slightly reduced, about 3 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool  for about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg aside. Mix the remaining egg and 2 tablespoons of the parsley into the leek mixture. Roll out a pie pastry to about 14 inches in diameter round and set it on a baking sheet. Spread the leek filling onto the center of the dough, leaving at least a 2-inch border all around. Crumble the goat cheese over top of the filling. Fold up the pastry edges, overlapping or pleating as necessary. Brush the outside of the pastry with the reserved egg. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Back to the Peach Galette

My sister-in-law loves peaches, a fact I have mentioned a few times in these blogs. She generally prefers a peach dessert for her birthday treat rather than a cake, so this year I decided on a fresh Peach Galette for her birthday dessert. If I was making this for myself, I might prefer another fruit such as blackberries or raspberries, maybe blueberries or a combination. Any fruits can be used. Pineapple would be great, apples, plums. Some people place a layer of marzipan or almond paste into the bottom of the pastry before adding the fruit, partly for sweetness and partly to absorb liquids as the fruit bakes. A frangipane mixture such as I used in my Cherry Frangipane Tart.
Peach Galette with Peach Ice Cream

How much sugar to add to the fruit will depend a bit on how sweet the fruit is initially. Adding too much sugar will only add to the liquids pooling in the pastry while baking and will contribute to a soggy crust. The Peach Galette recipe I created used a very simple 2:2:2 mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Another tablespoon of sugar could be added. The lemon juice would not be necessary for a berry tart, as berries can be tart enough to stand on their own. The lemon juice also helps the peaches (or apples) to keep a nicer color, not turning brown. The flour could be substituted with cornstarch as the thickening agent if desired. Spices could be added to the peach mixture. I added only a grating of fresh nutmeg. A sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg could also be added. 

Peach Galette

serves 6 or 8

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds fresh peaches (4 or 5)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 - 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pie pastry for a 10-inch pie
1 egg yolk

Peel peaches and slice thinly. Place them in a bowl with the next 4 ingredients and toss to combine. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Roll out the pie pastry on a floured surface to about 14 or 15 inches in diameter. Do not worry if the edges are uneven; this is a "rustic" tart. Set the pastry onto the parchment. Pour the peach mixture into the center of the pastry, spreading to within 2 or 2 /12 inches of the edge. Flip up the edges of the pastry all around, folding or pleating as necessary. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush this mixture onto all exposed areas of the pastry. Sprinkle the tart with a coarse crystal sugar such as demerara or turbinado, or with a fancy "sanding sugar." Bake the tart for 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.