Peach Galette for One

August 13, 2015

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No need to adjust your screen. The uneven folds and flopped over parts, which leaked on the parchment paper (and in doing so, created a crispy sugary bottom), were not intentional, but it’s fine. Really.

There’s a lot of hope involved in baking. You hope that what you pull out of the oven is what you’d envisioned, but this isn’t always the case. It’s often a variation of what you thought it would be, or something else entirely. Mistakes. Surprises. Sometimes a little of both. You leave room for things to not turn out the way you thought they would.

But we’re just talking about appearances here. The thing itself is as delicious with the leaky sides as without. It may even be better this way. I am not a perfect baker, but I am an enthusiastic one.

Galettes are the no brainers of the pastry world; uncomplicated, what you see is what you get desserts. There’s nothing hidden beneath an elaborate and intimidating lattice crust. Afraid of pies? Make this instead.

I am more galette than pie. Slightly messy, with imperfections showing. Which I probably don’t need to remind you is what ice cream is for.

Peach Galette for One

Makes 1

Call it rustic, call it handmade, it’s easier than pie to put together because there’s nothing to crimp or pinch or fit into a dish.

  • ½ cup/1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces/1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspon sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 medium peach
  • ½ teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon cassonade sugar, plus a bit more for the crust
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cream or half and half
  1. Cut the butter into small cubes and put in the freezer for at least an hour. You may also do this in advance.
  1. Make the dough. Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas or pebbles, but it doesn’t have to be uniform. Slowly add the ice water, and pulse just until the dough begins to come together (it’ll still be a bit crumbly, but don’t worry. It’ll come together. You don’t want to overblend or overwork the dough.) Put the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a large rectangle about 2 inches thick and pop into the fridge for an hour.
  1. Divide the dough into four even pieces and gently shape into squares. Wrap all but one in plastic wrap, and pop these in a plastic bag and keep in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
  1. When you want to make your galette, preheat your oven to 450°F,
  1. Make your galette shell. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it’s approximately 5 inches by 5 inches, or thereabouts. Don’t worry about how it looks. The crust doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped – in fact, part of the charm is its odd shape. Once rolled out, place the dough on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pop back into the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.
  1. Peel, remove the pit and chop up your peach into small 1/2-inch chunks and toss with the cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  1. Pull the dough from the fridge and place the peach mixture in the center. Fold over the edges and lightly brush them with cream or half and half. Put this back in the fridge to chill and firm up.
  1. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust turns brown. Let cool slightly before serving. Ice cream is always a good idea.

 

 

 

 

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DSC_9078I’m just back from a weeklong yoga retreat in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain, where the meals were modest and vegetarian, and often without dairy or gluten, due to the dietary needs of some of the other yogis. Which made me start thinking again about what brings flavor to a dish, and what’s necessary and what’s not.

Especially right now, when there’s so much that’s in season, there’s no reason to try to do some big cover-up with cheese, or anything, really. I would’ve put fresh cilantro in these, but I didn’t have any, and it’s not available at the Carrefour or the stinky Franprix, and don’t get me started about what’s not open right now and will not reopen until the rentrée in September. The neighborhood marché is all but closed and the two nearest boulangeries are closed until the end of August, and the shoe repair shop, the eyewear shops, and nearly everything else has hand-scribbled “fermeture exceptionnelle” signs in the windows. It’s like a ghost town around here.

But the grocery stores are open, albeit with dwindling stock, so I’ll be cooking with what I can find for the next few weeks, which is one more reason to aim for easy and simple.

Back to the galettes. I often reach for plain flour or cornmeal when making savory pancakes, but this time, I decided to try something different: rice flour. Instead of my default, yogurt, or some kind of tzaziki sauce spooned on top, I made a simple avocado salsa — four ingredients, y’all! —  which would also work on top of any sort of taco or enchilada, or for that matter, just eaten by the spoonful.

I made these with leftover grated carrots from the Torta Ace, and zucchini, because they’re crazy cheap right now. The spices are Tex-Mexy in spirit, but you’ll notice that I’ve got turmeric on the ingredients list, too, which makes these extra yellow. I’m trying to add a little bit of this when it makes sense to whatever I’m making, because it’s a great anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon, too, which I now sprinkle into my daily smoothies.

In my eating and in my life, I’m (still) trying to find some kind of balance. Some days, it feels like I’m getting there. Other times, when I find myself yelling speaking in a slightly raised voice to the Taxi Bleu driver, who’s barrelling down the periph at 70 mph while looking down and reading a map on his lap BECAUSE HE HAS NO GPS DEVICE and doesn’t know where he’s going, and the fare just passed 34 euros, I realize I’ve got a long way to go.

Carrot-Zucchini Galettes with Avocado Salsa

Makes 8 (4-inch) galettes

  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ cups grated zucchini, drained
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • ¼ cup diced white onion
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • sprinkle of smoked paprika, plus more for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • Valentina sauce or your favorite salsa, for serving
  1. Make the avocado salsa. Put the first five ingredients in your blender and let ‘er go until the texture is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings.
  1. In a bowl, toss together the grated zucchini, carrot, onions, rice flour, egg, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt. Put the 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, using your ice cream scoop or a large spoon, put as many pancakes into the skillet that’ll easily fit, leaving 1 inch between them. Cook until browned on one side, then flip them over. Make sure these cook completely and not too quickly, because you don’t want them to be wet in the middle. If you’re making these in advance, keep the cooked pancakes warm on a rack set over a cookie sheet in a 200°F degree oven.
  1. Serve with a spoonful or two of avocado salsa on top. Feeling spicy? Splash some Valentina on there, too.

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