Monday, August 18, 2014
Recipe For A Plum Galette and Thoughts About My Mother
When I was growing up, most of the moms I knew stayed home with their kids, and were responsible for taking care of the house and doing all the cooking. That's just the way it was back then, and being a good housewife was something that my own mom sometimes struggled with.
My mother was always kind and loving to me, but there were days when I came home from school to find her laying down in her bed, with the room dark, and I could feel a heaviness in her that I didn't understand.
Of course, now I know that she sometimes suffered from depression. Depression wasn't talked about back then, you hid it because it carried shame. She did what she had to do for her family, and I know how hard it must have been to carry on as though she were fine.
You might be wondering what all this has to do with making a galette. Well, I remember my mom always being unhappy with her pies, and she thought they never looked pretty. She felt the crust wasn't right, and I remember watching her frustration as she rolled out the dough and put the pie together.
My own attempts at making a great pie crust weren't all that successful either. So when I learned how to make a galette, where you put the dough and the fruit together in a rather freeform sort of way, I thought about my mother.
I thought how wonderful it would have been for her to be released from her own judgment about presenting her family with a picture perfect pie, and instead something that was beautiful in it's own rustic way.
So now when I make a galette, it's my mother I think about, and know that she would think this was a great idea.
When I saw these gorgeous and delicious black plums at the store, I wanted to make a plum galette, even though I had never used plums before. One nice thing about the plums is that you don't have to take the skin off of them, which is a huge time saver. After you have sliced them, just toss them with some sugar and a little flour, and they are ready to go into the center of your dough.
Leave about a two inch rim of the dough all around the fruit so it can be folded up to keep the fruit inside. It's so amazing how different fruit galettes can look from each other, because they reflect the bakers own hands and how it was folded.
Most apple pies look like an apple pie, but I think the beauty of a galette is in the individual look of each one. There are no mistakes, and that is the most wonderful feeling.
Somehow, this dessert has been deemed 'fancy' by a lot of people. I have seen it in popular cooking magazines, and yes, it can seem that way. I also saw a whole mixed berry galette for sale at an upscale bakery for $36.00. Crazy, right?
But it's so very simple to make, and so satisfying to put this gorgeous dessert on the table to share with family and friends.
I wish my mom were here to have a slice with me. She would have loved the ease and freedom of this dessert, and told me how delicious it was. I miss her everyday.
Recipe for Plum Galette
Ingredients for pastry dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice-cold milk
1 tablespoon water (to make egg wash)
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk together egg yolk and milk, pour into flour mixture, stirring just until dough starts to form a ball.
Press together with lightly floured hands, and form into a flat round. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Ingredients for filling:
2 pounds black or red plums, quartered, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss together plums, sugar, and flour.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into an approximate
10-inch round. Place on a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Scoop plum mixture into center of round.
Fold about 1 inch of dough all the way around to form a rim. Combine egg and water, brush outside of tart with the egg wash.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on pan 20 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Can be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
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