Summer==Peaches! Peaches are such a gorgeous symbol of summer times, don’t you think they resemble little sunshines?! I love eating them and feeling their sweet and sticky juice dripping down my chin 🙂 I remember my summers as a kid, running wild at the garden of my grandpa who was growing plenty of fruits and vegetables. I couldn’t wait to be treated by him with ripe peaches with a mesmerizing sweet fragrance, which he just cut off from the tree and brought to the table carrying them in his shirt :-). I am not a mad fruits lover but peaches will forever be my favourite, because of their sweet yet a little sour taste and my childhood memories that I cherish. I felt like having peaches today but not only eating them over the kitchen sink ( yes, that’s what I do to avoid dripping my tops with their juice 🙂 but making something special, to celebrate this beautiful sunny day. So after I bought the peaches , I quickly glanced my cook books for inspiration but dropped them half way through as it hit me…of course I wanted a galette.
I’ve been contemplating baking a galette for some time, as it belongs to the French culinary tradition which I am fascinated with. I told you already how much I adore the French cuisine right? To me it is a celebration of food as an art form! Since I am still a novice I decided to start with a galette, which is basically an embrace of imperfection . Do not let its rustic view to deceive you though! The flaky crust topped with juicy fruits is simply irresistible. Imagine, a crust melting in your mouth, and this sensation followed by another one, even more delicious– sweet and sour peaches slightly caramelized during baking. Now, if you can resist this, you must be a stoic :-)! Well, I am not 🙂
As in every recipe presented in this blog I make everything from scratch. Galette calls for making your own pie crust, which is not that difficult but requires a lot of attention and even a small deviation in the technique can mar the final result. I had some pretty devastating experience with pie crusts, mainly due to the ingredients used. The majority of butters sold here are salted and release lots of water when baking. In my view, this is not good for the crust. In addition, I learned through trial and error that my previous generosity in using only butter in pie crusts will not create that much desired flakiness. So I felt adventurous today and decided to use a combination of butter and margarine. And it was it! I loved the result and will keep using this combination in my pastry baking.
For the crust
500 g all-purpose flour
125 g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
250 g margarine, cut into small chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
15 teaspoons ice water
7 ripe fresh peaches
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons starch
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small cubes
Place sifted flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir with a spoon to incorporate all the ingredients. Add the butter and margarine and pinch the fat into the mixture with your hands. It should look like coarse crumbs. You could use a food processor if you have one. I don’t ..yet.
Add the ice water ( I had a glass filled with water to which I added 4-5 ice cubes), one teaspoon at a time, and stir with a fork until the pastry just holds when pinched with your fingers. If necessary add more water. Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a ball. Handle the dough gently and as little as possible, overworking will make it tough. Flatten the dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. This will chill the fat and relax the gluten in the dough. Having small lumps of fat in the dough are very much encouraged because while baking they will give the crust that lovely light and flaky texture. I refrigerated the dough for 2 hours because I had the oven busy.
While the dough is chilling make the peaches filling. Place the washed peaches into a large bowl and pour boiling water ( I used my tea kettle) over them to soften their skin. After 2-3 minutes, put them in a bowl filled with ice water. You will be now able to peel the peaches easily. Cut the peaches into wedges and place in a bowl, toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Gently stir in sugar, salt and starch and mix with your hands. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for half an hour. This will make the peaches release their juices and dissolve the sugar.
Preheat your oven to 200 C. On a lightly floured work surface flatten the dough slightly with your hands and dust it with a little flour. Place carefully on parchment paper and start rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. Roll at the centre of the dough and work outwards to create a circle 3-4 mm thick.
Arrange the peach wedges in concentric circle and scatter the butter cubes on top. Before arranging the peaches I crumbled three biscuits over the dough to ensure the fruit juices are well absorbed and avoid making the crust soggy. Fold the outer edges of the dough over the filling, pleating in an accordion fashion. The dough should only partially cover the peaches. Lightly brush the top crust with 1-2 tablespoons of cream (you can also use milk) and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices have thickened. Cool the galette for at least an hour before serving. Galettes are best served the same day. Half of mine is already gone as I write this…and my boys and I are thinking of having another piece :-).
So fruity and so yummy!