THE BEST FRUIT TART EVER!!!
I sometimes feel I have to get your attention to read a recipe by being blatant, hence the above caption. It needed to be done, as it also needs to be said that Jacques Pepin has been in the forefront of the fine cooking world for the past 40 years for a very good reason; he is a superb chef! If one recipe can prove this unequivocally, it is this beautifully delicate fruit galette.
This recipe appeared in Food & wine magazine 19 years ago and again in my last issue. I am always looking for an easy, no-science-y pastry crust recipe, and this is it. I made this galette last night because I had a longing to hover in my kitchen but I did not want to make something that was dutiful like dinner, or tomorrow’s lunch box offering. I wanted to spend time over something decadent and lift Tuesday night to the status enjoyed by weekend nights. So, it had to be dessert and it had to be Monsieur Pepin’s time-tested Galette.
By the way, a “galette” is basically a term for any sort of flat free form tart in France. It can also be a wheat pancake but either way, fruit is involved in one form or anther. Jacques Pepin made his galette with plums but I had nectarines so I used those instead. They were on the hard side so they worked great and the pastry did not get over-run with juice making it soggy.
He also used a little less water than I seemed to need (I used a little over a tablespoon more, and it didn’t hurt anything), and he brushed a 1/2 cup of jam preserves over the whole thing when it came out of the oven which I didn’t think it needed, (I thought it might make it too sweet), but you can go ahead and do this if you like.
No matter what, you have to make this at least once. It is truly amazing.
You could make this for St Valentine’s day tomorrow for the ones you love!
You will need:
for the pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbs, 6 oz, 168g) cold unsalted butter, cut into thick slices
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup (maybe a little more) ice water
for the filling:
1/4 cup & 1/3 cup sugar (fine granulated/castor)
3 tbs ground almonds (You can grind whole or flaked almonds in food processor as I did)
3 tbs all-purpose flour
5 large (but not huge) nectarines, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (you can also use plums, blueberries, apricots, apples, cherries)
3 tbs (3 oz, 84g) unsalted butter, cut into bits
make pastry crust:
1 – Put the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and pulse for 10 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse again. It should form a loose ball. *If it doesn’t, add a tablespoon of water and pulse again for a couple of seconds adding more water if still too floury.
2 – Gather into a ball and place on lightly floured counter, and using a rolling-pin roll into a large round, dusting with a little flour if needed. The round should be approximately 18-inches in diameter, (don’t kill yourself trying to get it exactly round or exactly the right measurement).
3 – Put your rolling-pin on a very large baking tray and drape the dough over it (prevents it from getting very stiff), and place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes (you don’t want it to get very stiff and cold as this will make it harder to assemble the galette)
make the filling:
1 – Combine the flour, ground almonds and a 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
2 – Slice the fruit and cut the butter into pieces.
Assemble the Galette:
1 – Remove the rolling-pin from the pastry and let the pastry lay on the baking sheet (it doesn’t matter if it drapes a bit over the edges as you will be making it about 2 inches smaller all around). Spread the ground nut and flour mixture over the bottom of the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around (I quickly marked two inches in with a ruler to keep me from being sloppy)
2 – Lay the fruit in even layer over the bottom, starting from where the flour-nut mixture starts on the outer edge and work your way to the center.
3 – Dot with the butter and sprinkle the fruit with all but 1 tablespoon of the 1/3 cup of remaining sugar. Fold the border towards the center of the galette. It will automatically fold or pleat as you go. Sprinkle the folded edge with the remaining sugar and place in oven for up to one hour, checking after 50 minutes. It is done when the pastry is a rich golden brown. Run a spatula under the bottom to make sure it has not stuck (juices could run or sugar may make it stick a little).
Leave to cool. Can be served warm or at room temperature. Eat alone or with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped fresh cream.