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~ Plumb Scrumptious: E-Z Plum & Almond Galettes ~

IMG_1860Our purple plum tree is up to its old tricks again -- it's gifting us with these tart, juicy beauties faster than we can eat them hand-to-mouth, right-off-the-tree (which is my favorite way to enjoy them). Plums and peaches are my two favorite stone fruits.  When they begin coming into my kitchen a basket or two at a time, using them to make a few rustic, freeform French galettes is a great way to keep up with them without a lot of effort on my part.  When they pick up the pace and start coming in faster than that, I turn to making plum preserves to preserve my sanity.

IMG_1656Galettes:  Easier than pie, and, in my opinion just as good! 

IMG_1752Easier than pie?  Absolutely.  Better than pie?  That's a toss up.  Hailing from France, a galette is usually a round, flat, free-form, unpretentious, rustic pie- or tart-like dessert made of flaky pastry dough (although in some regions a galette is a flat cake made of yeast dough).  There are probably as many variations as there are regions in France.  Just like pie and quiche, galettes can be sweet or savory and can be filled with almost anything you can think of:  fruit, jam, dried fruit and/or nuts, meat, cheese, vegetables, etc.  

"Flat as a pancake" translated into French:  "plat comme une galette"!

6a0120a8551282970b01a3fd1ccef1970bWe all have our favorite recipe for pate brisee,  and pate sucree (unsweetened and sweetened recipes for quiche, pie and tart pastry). Some folks simply purchase pie pastry and I am neither going to judge nor criticize.  What happens in your kitchen stays in your kitchen.

The phrase "it's as easy as pie" originated a century ago when almost every American homemaker baked pies several times a week.  It was a task so familiar, it was done without any real effort.  When it came to fruit pies, they used the what fruit grew in their climate and adapted the recipes of their family's heritage to suit that fruit.  More often than not, they picked them off a tree in their backyard or bartered for a basket from their neighbor.  They did not have the luxury of walking into a market and choosing from five or six varieties (from the hundreds of varieties mass produced in the world today).  Once the fruit was prepped, a few handfuls of flour were thrown on the table and some shortening was cut in.  The pastry got rolled, plopped into a pie tin and into the oven the filled pie went.  They really did consider pie baking  "as easy as pie!"

There are 14-16 purple plums in 1 pound.  You'll need 4 pounds to make 2 galettes.

IMG_1668Meet my all-purpose "easier than pie" galette recipe:

IMG_16791  15-ounce box Pillsbury Pie Crusts, containing 2, 9" pie crusts, at room temperature (Note:  By all means use homemade pie pastry if you have it or the time to prepare it.  That said, I want to use this super-easy, time-saving substitution as example that good things, occasionally, can and do come out of a box!

6  cups fresh fruit or berries, prepped as follows:

peeled, cored and sliced apples, or:

IMG_1692blueberries, or:

pitted sour cherries, or:

unpeeled, pitted and chopped or sliced peaches or plums

6  tablespoons cornstarch

2  teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca

2  teaspoons Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour for Sauce and Gravy

2  tablespoons apple, blueberry, cherry, peach or plum sweet brandy or Schnapps

IMG_16811/2  teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, preferably fresh but bottled concentrate works just fine

1  cup sugar

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4  teaspoon ground cloves

1/2  teaspoon salt

IMG_16848  tablespoons crushed almond biscotti, about 3, 3/4-ounce almond biscotti, for sprinkling on crusts (Note:  Biscotti add flavor & soak up excess juice.  TipProcess several biscotti in a food processor & freeze to have on hand.)

4  tablespoons lightly-toasted sliced almonds, for sprinkling over fruit (Note:  While you might be inclined to experiment with other types of nuts and flavors of biscotti, trust me when I tell you that almond is the perfect complement to any and all fruit galettes.)

1  large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for glazing crusts

a sprinkling of bottled Sugar 'n Cinnamon, for topping crusts

IMG_1711 IMG_1701~ Step 1. Prep the plums, or whatever fruit you have decided to use, as directed and place it in a large mixing bowl as you work.

Measure and add the cornstarch, tapioca, flour, brandy, almond extract, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

IMG_1716~ Step 2.  Stir ingredients together and set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a thick pie filling has formed.  While filling is thickening, cover a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan with a layer of aluminum foil, then place a sheet of IMG_1721parchment paper over the top. Place biscotti in a food storage bag. Using a flat-sided meat mallet, pound biscotti to crumbs.

~ Step 3.  Place pie pastries on pan, overlapping them about 1" towards  center of pan, as well as hanging over the left and right sides.

IMG_1726 IMG_1729~ Step 4.  Place 4 tablespoons of biscotti crumbs on the bottom of each crust.  Spread them to within 1" of the border around each.

IMG_1739                        ~ Step 5.  Using  a large slotted spoon, evenly distribute/mound pie filling over crumbs, leaving excess juices in the bowl.  While this seems like a waste of perfectly good juices, because these galettes will bake for only about 30 minutes, there is not time for any excess to thicken, meaning:  they will just ooze out of the galettes onto the pan as they bake.  Sprinkle 2  tablespoons of almonds over the filling on each.

IMG_1742 IMG_1747~ Step 6. Using your fingertips, making your way around each crust, fold the dough, like you would fold fabric, up and 1"-1 1/2" over the fruit filling, pleating the dough to form a protective rim to keep the filling from oozing out.  Galettes are a rustic, freeform dessert.  Do not concern yourself with uniformity.

IMG_1754~ Step 7.  In a small bowl, using a fork, whisk the egg and the water together.  Using a pastry brush, liberally paint the surface of both crusts with the egg wash.  

IMG_1762~ Step 8. Sprinkle the Sugar 'n Cinnamon liberally over all of the surface crust and the exposed filling.  Easy enough so far?

IMG_1766~ Step 9.  Bake on center rack of preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 10-15 additional minutes.

IMG_1779The fruit juices will be just bubbly, not boiling, and the pastry will be a lovely golden brown.  Note:  Because galettes will cool on the pan, they will continue to cook, thicken, and set up during the cooling process. 

Remove from oven and allow galettes to cool on pan, about 15-30 minutes prior to transferring to a cooling rack to cool to room temperature, or, to a large round plate to slice and serve warm.

Slice each galette into six wedges:

IMG_1847Serve w/a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

IMG_1874Plumb Scrumptious:  E-Z Plum & Almond Galaettes:  Recipe yields 4-6 servings per galette.  It's really easy to eat two slices of this fruit dessert!

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; large rubber spatula; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; aluminum foil; parchment paper; flat-sided meat mallet; large slotted spoon; pastry brush; cooling rack

IMG_1107Cook's Note:  Plums come in many varieties, but, they be used interchangeably.  When my purple plums become overwhelming (in a few short days), I'll be making my recipe for ~ Pucker Up:  Tart and Sweet Shiro Plum Preserves ~. You can find the recipe in Categories 8, 9, 20 or 22!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos Courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


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