This mixed berries galette has all the attributes that often make me weak in the knees when I think about an uncomplicated Summer dessert. One that is not perfect, a little tart and puckerish, refreshing and vibrant with colors. One that does not require lots of heating and whisking over a hot stove when the temperatures are already blistering outside. One that takes the best of the season and wraps in a buttery blanket of homemade pastry crust.
We are right at the prime time for peaches, plums and lots of stone fruits. Even with strawberry season coming to an end, blueberries are now in full swing, along with raspberries. While I can find all these at the farmers market, I did not expect to find golden raspberries at our neighborhood (read tiny - last minute shop stop) store.
Red currants and golden raspberries can't ever be local, I have been told. Too hot down here apparently but I admit, I could not resist getting a couple of pints of the raspberries. It's so rare to see them around and after sneaking in a taste, I tried to come with desserts where their sweet and mild flavor would used to their advantage. Well, beside finding their way directly into my mouth...
I am still a hard core fan of raspberries and Chantilly for dessert. Nothing else. Nothing less. Nothing more. But...I think I am the only at the house who does that. My dear husband would rather have a little crust to go along with all that berry goodness. Something to tame the pucker-up factor which I so love.
Making any kind of pastry dough is a way to relax for me. The mixing, kneading, rolling. All focused and intentional steps to have something good to share with loved one for dessert. Finding the right balance of fruits, sugar. The right amount being mounded onto a buttery crust before being enclosed, free form. The smell filling up the entire house as the berries release their juices and aromas.
There is always a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I pull a galette out of the oven. I can't describe it really. A peaceful second where I feel and understand years and years of family cooking and cultural belonging. It is a fleeting second, indeed. But one that anchors me in the moment and the moments to follow where we will cut right through that galette and smile.
Finding peace and balance has never been as important to me as it is now. I've never felt the need to actively seek them. There are always in me. However, the family events of the last five months have made me dive head down into my work and not allow myself to feel negative emotions. I am aware that I need to voice things out, write them down, and scream out loud if need be.
Nurturing comes from within oneself first. For me, it has been as simple as baking. Late at night when I let myself get sad and angry. Making jam. Cutting fruits. Anything that makes me feel close to the ones I love. When we had a problem in my family, we would make a cake. Did not matter if one person or twelve would come eat it. The intent to create was a simple human attempt at conjuring the absence.
So I made a galette. And another one. One morning, B. woke up to a dozen cupcakes, a banana loaf and another galette. One night, we almost had apricot tart for dinner. It's winding down...thank goodness. It's actually been great practice for the workshops I am teaching at Squam this week. I am also looking forward to the scenery of New Hampshire. A bit of wet weather and colder temperatures.
I am also looking forward to sharing with other students the personal reward that is to create, to make something by hand and to tell its story. To leave a trace and to find a spark within oneself. For some it is painting, knitting. For others like me, it is baking, kneading, whisking and taking a photograph. Journaling the process. Leaving a trace. A thought. An emotion or a connection.
If you are heading to Squam this weekend, come say hello!. I will make sure we have a slice of pie to share together!
Mixed Berries Galettes:
Makes three 6-inch galettes (enough for 6 to 8 people depending on size)
Notes: the crust is taken (and slightly adapted) from Holly Herrick's book Tart Love which I recommend to everyone who has issues with making pie crust. Techniques, tips and troubleshooting ideas are well explained by Holly and the recipes are creative and delicious. And I can safely vouch for them since I also happen to have made and photograph 45 of them for the book...No plug intended... I just love that book...
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup Jeanne's all purpose gluten free flour mix (or regular all purpose flour if not gluten free such as While Lilly)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup cold milk beaten with 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
1 cup each raspberries, golden raspberries, strawberries (hulled and cut small), blueberries
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1/4 cup honey
Prepare the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, (or follow the same instructions if doing by hand), pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse until the butter resembles small peas and is evenly incorporated. Gradually, stream in the cold mil & egg yolk mixture until the flour just comes together. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and form into a 2-inch thick, round disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before rolling out.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, combine all the berries with the lemon zest and juice, cornstarch (or arrowroot) and honey. Fold gently until everything is incorporated. Let stand while you roll the crust.
On a large surface area, well floured, roll out the pastry dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut out three 8-inch circles from it. Transfer right away to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mound half the fruit filling on one circle and repeat with the other one going close but not all the way to the edge. Leave a 2-inch border of pastry all around. Gather the edges of the pastry dough, pleating as you go with your fingertips (don't worry about being even - these are free form. Imperfections are wonderful anyways...). Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the galettes are golden brown