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Friday, July 15, 2011

plum galette

Although I took a momentary plum vacation in order to hang out at the pool with my kids, my friends, my friend's kids and my kid's friends, it didn't last nearly long enough. On the other hand, in terms of how quickly fruit ripens during these hot summer days, an afternoon at the pool is perhaps a bit too long to stay out of the kitchen. Ay me.

Anyway, before I took a break to talk about salads and swimming and hot dogs, we had been discussing plums. And by "we," I mean me. And by "discussing," I mean I was spouting off information and opinions that you may or may not give a whiff about. And by "you," I mean... is there a you? Is anyone out there reading this? Hello? Anyone there?

Right. So back to the plums. Remember how I said that plums are clingstone fruits, and that when they are fully ripened they are all but impossible to get away from their pits?

Despair not! There are great things you can do with them while they are still a bit firm. When they have gotten their beautiful red skin, but before they are too soft, they are tart (but still flavorful), and much easier to pit without destroying the shape. In other words, perfect for baking.

During the course of this chaotic frantic bountiful fruit-filled season, I have made cakes, pies, muffins, and cookies. Being as I am one to get bored easily, I felt a need to try something different this time. 

I went for a galette. Look up any recipe for a galette of any variety, and somewhere in that recipe you will find the word "rustic." I am not saying it's a bad thing, it is simply true. One can't bake a galette without appreciating its rusticness (rusticity?). At least those are the findings of my anthropological study of galette recipes.

Be that as it may, I made a rustic galette. The rusticness refers to the free-form, casual shape and lack of fussiness in this almost-pie. (By "almost" I mean it really is a pie, but there is no pie dish involved, so we have to call it something else. Something a little more... rustic). It couldn't be easier to make... plums tossed with a little sugar and flour, piled onto a crust that doesn't have to fit a pie or tart pan, folded up and thrown in the oven. Voila! 

Served alongside vanilla ice cream, the tartness of the plums, the sweet syrupy filling and the buttery crust are to die for. It's just a perfect balance of sweet and tart, warm and cold. This dessert, as easy to put together as it is, is a sight to behold with the yellow egg-brushed crust and the ruby red plum juice. It's even better to taste.

Plum Galette
(Everyday Food)

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds red plums, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water

In a food processor, pulse flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces still remaining. Add 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. If needed, add a teeny bit more ice water. 
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a couple of times. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate at least one hour.
After your dough has chilled, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. (It will leak juice later as it bakes, and you'll be glad you don't have to scrub baked-on plum juice off of your pan).   Flour your work surface and the top of the dough and roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet. 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together plums, sugar, and flour. Mound plum mixture in center of prepared crust, leaving a 2 inch border all around. Fold border over edges of fruit, as rustically as you want. Brush dough with egg.
Bake tart until crust is brown and filling is bubbling and leaking all over your tin foil-covered pan, about 45 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a rack, and let cool for 20 minutes. Slice and serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.

This post has been linked to Cast Party Wednesday