Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chez Panisse's Nectarine Blackberry Galette

I would love to eat at Chez Panisse in Berkeley someday; it is one of my life goals. I read a book several years ago called "Alice Waters and Chez Panisse" by Thomas McNamee, a delightful recollection of the rollicking 70's Berkeley atmosphere and how Chez Panisse was created at that time. The book also chronicles how the restaurant has evolved over time under the guidance of Alice Waters, the perfectionist/artist/pioneer of California cuisine.

Sprinkled throughout the book are recipes for dishes served at Chez Panisse, and there is one page I have turned to over and over again. It's a simple, flexible recipe for a fruit galette by pastry chef Lindsey Shere.

This galette is phenomenal with almost any kind of stone fruit. I have used peaches, nectarines, plums, even apples in winter; you can also use some berries in a combination with other fruit, although you may find it too juicy if you were to use all berries. This week, I used nectarines from the farmer's market and plump wild blackberries I picked.

The crust for the galette is ideal - flaky, buttery, both crisp and soft, flecked with coarse sugar and filled with meltingly soft, sweet fruit. Baking it on a pizza stone does make a difference, so I recommend buying one if you don't already have one in your kitchen. Here's the recipe, which is very casual and more of a tutorial in Lindsey's own words:

Lindsey's Fruit Galette

Peaches, nectarines, and plums are great for this. It's easily translated to apples and pears, too. One of the great things about a galette is you can make it any size you want. If you want something for two people, you can make a little one.

You start with a pate brisee, of whatever size you need for what you're making. The one I use, for 6-8 servings, is a cup of flour, six tablespoons of butter, a quarter teaspoon of salt, and a quarter cup of cold water. You just put it together like pie crust, very quickly. I usually chill it then for a little while to let the flour relax a bit.

I roll it out really thin, as thin as possible, into a big circle. I usually bake it on a pizza pan, but it could be on a flat cookie sheet. If you've got a pizza stone, putting the pan on that would be an ideal way to bake it, because you want to get heat to the bottom of it very quickly.

So you roll out a big circle and lay it on the pan. then I usually make a mixture of equal parts of sugar and flour. For this size I'd use about 2 tablespoons of each and spread that over the bottom of the galette, out to about 2 inches from the edge. It's there to sit under the fruit and thicken the juices. Sometimes I add macaroon crumbs, or even a thin layer of almond paste.

If I were using peaches or plums or nectarines of pluots, I would use about a quart of sliced fruit. You can either arrange the fruit in a fancy design on the dough or just scrumble it about. Peaches I peel usually, but not plums or nectarines.

Now this is the part where you have to make a judgement. i sprinkle the top with sugar - more if it's something like peaches. You can sprinkle it reasonably heavily, because those things because much more tart when you cook them.

When you've sprinkled the fruit with sugar, fold the edges of the dough up over the fruit. You can pleat them in or father them in. Then I brush those folded-over edges of dough with water , pretty heavily, and then I sprinkle just the edges really heavily with coarse sugar, so there's a thorough coating on it.

It goes into the oven to bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. The thing you want to be sure of ts that the fruit is thoroughly cooked, and that it's boiling in the center of the galette, because that will cook the flour on the bottom.

When it's done, immediately slide it onto a rack to cool, so that the bottom doesn't get soggy. In the first 5 minutes or so, while the juices are still bubbling, I use a pastry brush to pick up those juices and glaze any of the fruit that looks dry. After that, the juices disappear into the flour, so you've got to be quick. And that's it.

1 comment:

  1. Yummy! We've got wild blackberries in the yard, but Laurel's trying to get me to weed them out.


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