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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peaches Galore

Peaches Galore – that title instantly reminded me of that sexy vixen from a James Bond movie with a similar name. Yeah, you know to whom I'm referring. Right? From the movie Goldfinger. Well maybe not.

The blog title refers instead to all of that fresh stone fruit at the farmer's market this time of year. Peaches and nectarines. So delicious. And while blueberries have since disappeared from our local market, I still pick them up at the grocery store to combine with fresh peaches in a sweet salad. That is, when I'm not grilling the peaches on the barbecue. So many options when it comes to these fruits.

One of these options includes baking, a favorite of mine of course! Recently, Molly's mom decided to pick up Deborah Madison's book Seasonal Fruit Desserts, which had a delicious recipe from Nancy's long-time friend Marianne Brenner. It's a peach galette. A galette is basically a rustic French free-form cake. There's nothing refined or sophisticated about these pastries. Except usually the taste. Roll out pastry dough, top with fruit, and fold over the edges of the dough to make an outer lip that holds everything together. Bake and devour. A galette is really that simple.

Except there's a surprise in Marianne's recipe that elevates this simple and rustic dessert to something extraordinary, memorable, and even special. It's frangipane, a rich filling made from almonds. The addition of the frangipane is surprising - you can't see it in the final baked pastry and the flavor sneaks in at the end behind the bold fresh flavor of peaches. But once you get its taste, you'll look forward to it in each and every bite. You'll even perhaps head for the leftover frangipane in the fridge, spoon in hand, lights off, clock striking midnight. Or maybe that's just me.

You can read Nancy's article in today's Chico Enterprise-Record online. And the recipe is listed below. Enjoy.

Marianne's Peach and Frangipane Galette

1/2 recipe chilled pastry for pies or galettes
3 to 4 peaches, ripe but still a little firm
1/2 recipe Almond Frangipane, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon organic sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Have the dough made, chilled and ready to roll. Dip the peaches into boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds, transfer them to a bowl of ice water, then pull off the skins. Slice them into quarters or eighths.

Roll the dough into an oval or a circle 11 or 12 inches across and about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer it to the parchment lined sheet pan. Spread the frangipane over the dough to within 2 1/2 inches of the edge. Lay the peaches over the frangipane, then flop the edges of the dough over the fruit, letting it overlap. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle the sugar over the pastry.

Bake for 20 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly — another 20 minutes or so. Serves 6.

Almond frangipane
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 to 2 tablespoons Amaretto

Grind the almonds, sugar, salt and flour in a food processor until finely pulverized. Add the butter and process until smooth, then add the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use, but return to room temperature before spreading.

Deborah Madison's pastry for pies or galettes:

This recipe makes enough for one double crust pie, or two smaller galettes, each serving 6. If you don't have whole wheat pastry flour, use all-purpose flour, and you can use regular sugar in place of organic. It's nice to have some coarse turbinado sugar to embellish the galette crust, but not necessary.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon organic sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Mix the flours, salt, and sugar together in a bowl. Cut in the butter by hand or use a mixer with the paddle attachment, leaving some chunks the size of uncooked chickpeas. (If using a food processor, pulse until the butter is broken up.)

Mix the egg yolk and vinegar with 1/4 cup of the ice water. Sprinkle the liquid over the flour mixture by tablespoonfuls and toss until you can bring the dough together with your hands. Add the last one or two tablespoons of water if needed. (If using a food processor, don't take the dough all the way, but stop when it begins to look tacky and starts clumping together.)

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap, press the dough into a disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or longer. Chilled dough is easier to roll out, easier to handle, and absorbs less extra flour, keeping the texture light and flaky, as it should be. he dough can be made a day or two ahead. Wrapped well, it can be frozen for up to a month.

Eric Lovelin Photography


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