Rustic Apricot Galette
I totally get it. You’re cold. It’s dark when you wake up and it’s dark by 4:30 pm. The feels-like temperature has been hovering around 9°F/-12°C for a few days now. You’re stocking up on anti-freeze and new shovels. And, worst of all, it’s been months since you saw a fresh apricot.
I commiserate, I really do. I’ve spent almost every winter of my life in Boston or Montréal, two cities known for their harsh, prolonged winters. I, too, lived in salt encrusted, dowdy boots and kept my face and fingers permanently covered by itchy woolly things for months and months on end.
This is how I justify telling you about the amazing apricot galette I made yesterday. My other justification? We have about 7 pounds of juicy, ripe apricots overflowing from numerous bowls around the kitchen. And those are just the ones I didn’t manage to squeeze into our college dorm sized fridge, which is already stuffed with watermelon, white peaches and, naturally, lots of white wine.
Think of this as an early winter vote of confidence. You can do it! When the going gets tough and your toes burn when you step into the shower, remember that on the other side of all that snow and suffering lies the most incredible, fragrant apricot galette.
In what may well be a new record, it was gone less than 12 hours after I served it for dessert last night with some sweet whipped cream. Everyone had seconds. Then thirds. And the one lowly piece we were too polite to polish off was quickly gobbled up this morning by my beloved husband who takes breakfast very seriously (see photo).
As you may have gleamed from the complete lack of pie crust in my repertoire, I’m scared of pie crusts with their ice water, butter cutting, chilling, breaking, rolling and ultimate, inevitable (in my case) failure.
Hence, the rustic galette. The delicious crust was exceedingly forgiving, even for a (food processorless) wimp like me. I used the pastry cutter I just stole from my mom (who didn’t even know what it was for) to mix all the ingredients together then chilled the flattened ball of dough for the length of a dog walk. Then I turned on the oven, rolled the dough into a very rough circle about 1/3″ thick, put it on a tray, laid a bit of cookie crumb in the middle (to absorb the fruit juices and ensure a crunchy crust) and put my halved and pitted apricots on top. I sprinkled the fruit with a bit of sugar, folded the sides over, brushed the crust with a beaten egg, sprinkled a bit more sugar all over and popped it in the oven for 40 minutes.
What came out was heart breakingly beautiful. My first successful crust in as long as I can remember topped with one of my favorite fruits. Why rustic? It’s just code for easy. But no matter…the result was the simplest, most elegant, most summery and maybe most delicious tart I’ve ever had.
If it’s not too much to ask, I strongly urge you Sydneysiders to make this immediately. And to all you Northern Hemispheries? Bookmark it. Put it in your calendar. Because come August I can assure you this will be coming out of your ovens and breaking hearts in your hemisphere while I wait for summer, for buckets of apricots, for cicadas and iced tea. And if you send me photos of your rustic apricot galettes, I promise I won’t hold it against you.
If, however, after looking at these photos you’re still bitter, I’ll have some more winter recipes for you tomorrow. In the meantime, excuse me as I wipe some apricot trickle off my chin…
RUSTIC APRICOT GALETTE
This tart is perfect because, for one thing, it’s not too sweet. The apricots should be, I think, a little sour, which perfectly offsets the almost salty crust (the recipe for which I adapted from here) and the sweet whipped cream. If you really dislike even a hint of sour, go ahead and add more sugar. If you don’t have apricots, any small stone fruit would work. As for the cookie crumbs in the filling, you just want something to prevent the fruit juices from soaking the crust and making it soggy. Apricot jam would work, as would a thick layer of ground almonds mixed with sugar. You can even use sliced apples or pears. Serve the galette warm or at room temperature. Just don’t plan on it lasting very long. Serves 6.
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons (140 grams) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 or so ripe apricots, halved and pitted
1/2 cup cookie crumbs (or apricot jam)
1/4 cup sugar
raw sugar for sprinkling
1 egg for brushing
If you have a food processor, make the crust by combining first 3 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulsing several times. Add the butter and pulse until you have small pieces. Add the egg and pulse to combine. You may need to add several drops of ice water if the dough is too dry. Add additional water only until the dough just starts to come together. Remove from the bowl and flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using.
If you, like me, don’t have one, mix the first three ingredients together in a large bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two forks until there are no chunks of butter larger than the size of a pea. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then add to the dough, using a spoon to combine. If the dough is too dry to work into a ball with your hands, add a tiny bit of very cold water until it is. Flatten the ball of dough slightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the halved and pitted apricots with about half the sugar. You don’t have to do this, but I think it makes the apricots tastier. Also, if you don’t have cookie crumbs or ground almonds, make them now in a food processor or coffee grinder.
Once dough has been chilled, preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Between two pieces of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, use a rolling pin to roll out the flattened disk into your best approximation of a circle about 1/3″ thick. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking tray.
Leaving about 1.5″ of dough as a perimeter, cover the middle of the dough with the cookie crumbs, ground almonds or jam. You want a layer about as thick as the dough. Arrange fruit on top. Sprinkle the apricots with remaining sugar. You can also add slivered almonds if you like. Fold the sides of the dough over the fruit. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush over the dough. Give the rest of the egg to your dog. Sprinkle some raw sugar (or regualar) over the crust and the fruit and stick it in the preheated oven. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the dough is golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with sweetened whipped cream if desired.