Tag Archives: baking

Summer Berry and Stone Fruit Galette

I am having a great summer.  My summer job (at a summer-long camp for boys) keeps me feeling like I am outdoors most of the day, even though I work in the office.  I have had an eerily good run of days off with excellent weather; it always seems to rain on days when I’m working, when it rains at all.  My brain is finally relaxed after nine months of intense social work classes last school year, and (dare I say it) perhaps I’m even ready to dive back into all that again in a few weeks.

To symbolize this wonderful summer, I wanted to make a special dessert this weekend.  I’ve been combing my 44 (and counting) food blog feeds for pie recipes.  I don’t know, for some reason I just have pie on the brain.  My friend Tony recommended key lime pie, which I very nearly chose this weekend (I have been eyeing this recipe from Baking Bites).  However, I was feeling a little more loose, a little more flexible, perhaps from all the So You Think You Can Dance I’ve been watching lately.  I wanted something a little less precise, a little less confined-to-the-pan.  The solution?  A galette, or free-form tart.  This type of tart uses a fairly sturdy and mostly fool-proof dough that usually contains a bit of cornmeal.  Summer fruit desserts are pretty much my favorite thing ever, so to fill my galette I chose fresh blueberries, peaches, apricots, plums, and raspberries.

This was my first time making a galette, and I clearly don’t have the dough thickness down yet.  The part of my galette that is NOT visible in the photo is the side where I rolled the pastry too thin.  Too thin pastry = juices leaking out everywhere.  On the upside, I enjoyed several spoonfuls of warm filling that had spilled out onto the baking sheet when I pulled it out of the oven.  Yum!  🙂

The pastry dough itself is very easy to handle, not terribly finicky.  I chilled my dough per the original recipe and found that it rolled pretty well.  Next time I will be more careful about looking over the pastry for thin spots (and reinforcing them) before filling the galette with all that glorious fruit.

This tart is so simple, and so delicious, I don’t think I need to say much more about it than that.

Galette Pastry
Adapted from The Skillet Chronicles
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup organic cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water (may need more or less, I needed a bit more)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt, stirring well.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, blending with a fork until dough comes together.  Turn dough onto a large piece of parchment and gently form into a ball.  Flatten ball into a rough disk shape, wrap completely and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour but not more than 24 hours.  (Dough can be frozen at this point for future use.)

Berry and Stone Fruit Filling
Adapted from The Skillet Chronicles
2 medium peaches, pitted and sliced
2 fresh apricots, pitted and sliced
1 large black plum, pitted and sliced
1 pint fresh blueberries, washed and picked over
3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons milk

In a medium mixing bowl, combine fruits, the 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt, stirring gently.  Set aside while you roll out the pastry.

Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a large piece of parchment paper, being careful not to let any one area get too thin.  Entire piece of pastry should be about 1/8 inch thick.  Slide parchment and dough onto a baking sheet.  Dough can be refrigerated at this point, up to one hour (if you have not made your filling yet, for example).

Preheat oven to 375F.  When ready to bake, arrange fruit mixture in center of chilled pastry dough, leaving a border of about 2 inches around the outside edge.  Gently fold the pastry up over the fruit, pressing the dough into evenly-spaced pleats to enclose the fruit.  Use a bench scraper or sharp broad knife to gently loosen dough from parchment if it sticks or resists folding.  Brush the pastry edge with milk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 45-55 minutes.  Allow to cool until galette is set enough to slide off the baking sheet.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Blueberry on Foodista


Sweet Corn Chowder with Wheat Germ Flax Biscuits

So, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  For past six weeks I’ve been going through some “stuff”–you know, the kind of “stuff” that we humans all go through from time to time–the result of which was that I didn’t feel much like blogging.  Oh, I made some food, ate some food, even took some pictures of food.  When it came to blogging, however, I just couldn’t muster the creative energy.

The happy news for me is that I’m on the other side of the “stuff,” or at least on a different side of it, and ready to blog again.  As an act of penance for ignoring my readers for so long, I have included not one but two recipes in this post.  🙂

It’s summer in Maine and in lots of other places, so sweet corn is on my mind.  Since local fresh sweet corn has been surprisingly expensive this year, I’ve been satisfying my corn cravings with frozen sweet corn.  You can do almost anything with frozen corn than you can with fresh, so I frequently use frozen sweet corn kernals to save myself some of the trouble involved with shucking, cleaning, and cooking fresh corn.

Today for an early supper I made a pot of sweet corn chowder, and baked some biscuits to serve on the side.  While this is in no way a low-calorie meal, I am rather proud of the fact that it is entirely homemade and contains some very healthy and interesting ingredients.  The chowder is my own recipe, which I painstakingly wrote down as I created it today.  The biscuits are adapted from “Baking Illustrated,” which is the best resource for home baking I have ever found.  The chowder is a delicious New England-style chowder (not thick, not overly rich) with chunks of bacon, onion, and corn simmered in a delicious broth.  The biscuits are made with whole wheat flour, wheat germ, and flaxmeal for a nutty flavor and a tender, delicate texture.  These were fairly easy recipes to make on a lazy Friday off from work, and it turned out to be the perfect mid-day meal.  I am envisioning what to add to the chowder next time: clams, or perhaps a bit of lobster? 🙂  The biscuits, too, are so light and tasty that I think they’d be delicious underneath some berries and whipped cream for a lovely summer shortcake.

Wheat Germ and Flax Biscuits
Adapted from Baking Illustrated

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup raw wheat germ
1/4 cup flaxmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup plus 4 Tablespoons plain, nonfat yogurt

Preheat the oven to 450F.

In a large bowl, blend flours, wheat germ, flaxmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the yogurt until dough gathers into a ball .  Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface.  Quickly form dough into a ball.  Cut ball in half, then cut each half in half again to make a total of 4 evenly-sized quarters.  Cut each quarter into 3 even pieces.  Working quickly, gently shape each piece into a ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  The biscuits can be baked immediately, or covered in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.

To bake, place baking sheet in preheated oven.  Bake about 12 minutes, or until tops of biscuits are light golden brown.  Serve.  (Makes 12 biscuits.)

Becky’s Own Sweet Corn Chowder
8 oz. of bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-ounce bag frozen sweet corn
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet or pot, render bacon fat over medium-high heat until bacon is browned and crunchy.  Pour off all but two tablespoons of bacon fat and return skillet (with bacon in it) to heat.  Add onions to bacon in skillet and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic to onion-bacon mixture and cook, stirring contantly, about 30 seconds.  Add frozen corn to skillet (no need to thaw prior) and cook over medium heat until corn is thawed and hot, stirring frequently, 5-8 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth and simmer about 5-8 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the milk.  Heat the chowder until hot, but DO NOT BOIL.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.  (Makes enough chowder for 3-4 hungry people.)

Corn on Foodista