Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smells of Summer: Peach and Blackberry Galette

The other day, on one of my long runs, I was thinking about my favorite outdoorsy smells. Sun-baked pine needles reminds me of camping at Yosemite. The scent of eucalyptus trees reminds me of a certain road trip to Bodega Bay. But, without fail, the scent of a California summer is hot asphalt. It's not glamorous, no, but it cooks the prematurely fallen leaves to the perfect crunch. Deeply inhaled, it's the scent of the road. Of racing. Of hot summers in the city, always blown away by cool breezes at night.

Growing up, I used to go into the Body Shop and try all their perfume samples. My favorite? Fuzzy peach. Because I swear you could smell the fuzz in the bottle. It amazed me that they somehow captured that dusty musk over the syrupy sweet peach notes. Ten years later, peaches still have me in lust. The drive-four-hours-to-pick-some-with-friends kind of bliss. And behold:

We don't have peaches on my side of the mountains, though. Until two weeks ago, I'd never picked any before in my life. But you know what we do have? Berries. Oh, do we have berries. Every summer there would be a berry excursion. We'd pick blueberries in the slough by my house, forage blackberries along the road by the park, or drive an hour away to a U-pick farm to pick as many raspberries as possible and spend the entire next day making jams to store. Blueberry and apple pie, blackberry and raspberry jams, berry crumbles, berries and cream... the desserts of my childhood summers.

On my long run at home, the trails smelled of cooked berries-- those that had fallen to the asphalt, the sugary juices growing more sweet in the heat of the sun.

What better way to celebrate the end of a great season than filling the house with the scent of this sweet galette and a ready-for-fall kind of comfort.

I've made this four times in the past week, eaten an entire galette in the past two days, and will be making it again for a housewarming party this weekend. I've gotten phone calls and emails about it. It is AMAZING.

Peach and Blackberry Galette (from the recipe listed here):

For the pate brisée:
1 1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt (it tasted a little too salty, so I used 1 tsp.)
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
7 Tbsp. ice water

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
2. Work the chunks of butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender (or your fingertips). It may still be a little chunky.
3. Add the cold water to the dry ingredients. If using a food processor, pulse until just blended. If doing by hand, do a tablespoon at a time until dough barely holds together.
4. Shape the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.

For the filling:
3 c. fruit (though this is very approximate. I ended up using 2 large peaches and a half cup of blackberries)
the juice of one small lemon (or half a large lemon)
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 egg
1 Tbsp. milk
extra sugar for dusting

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheet (preferably rimmed) with parchment paper.
2. Let chilled dough sit out for approx. 15 minutes, or until soft.
3. Roll into 14" round on lightly floured parchment paper. Refrigerate while preparing next step.
4. Combine fruit, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl. I wanted my peaches to stay yellow, so I arranged the sliced in a circle in the center of the dough (leaving an inch border) and only combined the blackberries with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the blackberries into the center of the galette; the juices will diffuse and cover the bottom.
5. Whisk together egg and milk and brush over crust. (You will not use all of this! I only used about a third. Make an omelet or something with the rest.)
6. Sprinkle entire galette with granulated or sanding sugar-- how much will depend on the sweetness of your fruit (I used a few tablespoons.)
7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.
8. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.


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