Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fruit Galette or Crostata di Frutta

Nothing says summer to me more than stone fruits. I can't wait to taste the first white nectarine or peach of the season and then, if I can find them, Italian plums. There is something so sensual about their flesh and their aromatics are potently hypnotic. Oh yes! Already this year I have made this recipe two or three times, and I must make it again soon. I say "must" because I have these wanton and needy white nectarines calling to me from the kitchen. "Come and get us, we're ripe and luscious and if you don't want us the fruit flies will!" I respond with, "It's 83 degrees in the house and there is no way I want to turn the oven on. I promise I will have my way with you in the morning when it is cooler!"
Yesterday I sacrificed two of my lovely nectarines to Ilva's "Wine Simmered Peaches with Wine Flavoured Yogurt" recipe at Lucullian Delights . Thank you Ilva for saving me from turning on the oven one more day!
So, this is what I will be doing with my Sunday morning, in between sips of cappuccino and reading the Sunday LA Times. Why don't you join me?

Peach, Plum or Nectarine (or all combined!) Galette/Tarta di Prugna, Pesca o Pesca Nettarina

(With apologies to whoever wrote this recipe for not crediting you. I have had it for years and cannot find the source. I have altered it slightly. I love the way the sour cream makes this flaky pastry a little lighter than an all butter one.)

Makes enough dough for one 10-12 inch galette or tart

1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. sugar (more if you like your crust sweeter)
1/4-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 1/2 Tbsp. sour cream

In a food processor or by hand, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix or pulse. Add the butter and pulse or mix until the texture resembles coarse meal. Chill the work bowl for 15 minutes. Replace the work bowl, add the sour cream and process until the dough resembles coarse sand. I know it is the right texture when I take some between my fingers and press. It is ready when it flattens out nicely into a dough between your fingers. If it is too dry, add a touch of sour cream or ice water, and if it is too wet, add a bit of flour. Gather the coarse mixture together and form with your hands into a disk. Wrap in plastic or wax paper and chill for 30 minutes. (At this point you can freeze the dough also, allowing it to thaw in the refrigerator before using.)

(You can get creative with the fillings. Try apples, rhubarb, anything seasonal.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the dough is chilling, peel and seed the stone fruit. Slice into 1/4-1/2" slices. In a bowl, mix 1/4 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 cup sugar and the sliced fruit. (This makes a slightly sweet tart; use more sugar if you like a sweeter tart.) Add a good squeeze of lemon and I add in a sprinkle, about 1 tsp., of a fruit distillate like an Italian acquavite (clear) or kirsch.

Once the dough has chilled, roll out on a lightly floured surface. I never worry about rolling it into an exact circle, as this is meant to be a "free form" tart. It should be rolled to about 1/16 - 1/8" thick. The thinner, the better, as long as it is not so thin that the fruit will poke through. Transfer dough to a baking sheet. Sprinkle a little flour over the inside. (At this point, if you want a traditional looking tart, form a decorative edge around the dough using your fingers. It should be about 1/4-1/2" high. For a galette, leave the dough flat.) Pour the fruit mixture on top of the dough, leaving about 2-3" between the filling and the edge. Fold the edge of the dough over the fruit, overlapping the next section, and so on. Dot the fruit with a little butter. Sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the crust. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

I made a plum version recently in which I added two lavender flowers to the plum mixture while macerating. The result was so subtle, that I couldn't taste the lavender, but I believe the whole galette came out more aromatic than usual.

I think I love this "dessert" more for breakfast than any other time. However, if you have it for dessert, seek out a refreshing Moscato d'Asti to have with it. Buon appetito and happy summer!


Chris said...

This is lovely! I could eat this morning, noon, or night!

sognatrice said...

This looks so truly fabulous I'm going to have to break down and make my own sour cream (can't find it here) so I can try it. Oh, and head to the market tomorrow and buy lots of plums, nectarines, and peaches...I can't tell you how many I've eaten over the past two weeks or so. LOVE them :)

The Passionate Palate said...

Chris - Welcome! And I concur whole-heartedly.

Sognatrice - Butter works just as fine. I did make one with all olive oil and wasn't thrilled. I discovered that with all olive oil you need to 1. add more sugar, about 3x the amount; 2. add a little more salt; 3. use light olive oil as extra virgin is too strong in flavor for a sweet crust; and 4. use a traditional tart pan for this dough because it is difficult to work with and would never form into a "galette". Maybe Chris, being the baker, has some suggestions in this arena, too? Good luck!