Late last night, as I was waiting for a galette to come out of the oven to take to friends for dinner tonight – Happy 4th of July!! – I started thinking about our favorite summer recipes. To celebrate special occasions or just enjoy al fresco whenever possible.
Happy to share this space with a small round up of some of our favorite recipes during the hot Summer months.
If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be home in France in two weeks. It’s been four years since I have not been back and it was not for lack of planning or trying. Just happened that way. But now, as we get closer to the date, I buzz about even faster. As B. said "now you’re like a buzzy bee on a sugar high"… There is so much to do, straighten out, finalize, revise…Things I don’t want to do while away. People to see, places to be, milestones to celebrate. Life. Family. Time. Away.
I am already thinking about all the flavors of my childhood. Lavender fields, apricot jam and cherry clafoutis, cantaloupe with a splash of port wine, nectarines, barbecues and Champagne and cassis cocktails. Picking berries on the side of the roads by the Durance river. The juice of fresh peaches trickling down my chin, and my arm, and ruining my dress. But always leaving me happy happy.
I’ve always thought my little corner of Provence has some of the best stone fruit until I tried a Southern peach here. I can’t even compare they are so different. South Carolina peaches are a treat for sure. Think about your favorite peach scented anything and there you have it. It sounds like it has magical powers doesn’t it? Well it does. Right now, it makes the perfect dessert. Breakfast. Snack. I am even tempted to call it dinner tonight.
Imagine how giddy I was this week when I found myself the recipient of over 10 pounds of just ripe, just perfect peaches. Yeah. Giddy. It did not take me long to figure out what I wanted to do with them. Instincts kicked in and once back in the kitchen I started the little dance I’d do everytime at the restaurant. I started poaching, roasting, peeling, dicing…Pots and pans filled every corner of the stove and countertops. From savory to sweet, salsa to sorbet. Truly a good day.
The first thing I made though was galettes, free form tarts. I poached four peaches in jasmine tea, let them cool completely, peeled, pitted and sliced them thin. I used half a peach per galette, some I left all peach and some had a small handful of blueberries added to them. All were sprinkled with sugar infused with lemon thyme like I did previously in these Fresh Berries Tartelettes. Simply rub herbs and sugar together, can be citrus zest too, it works wonders!
I love how packed the summer gets. I love the epic heat of a day spent outdoors followed by stormy winds and thunderstorms. Summer. When rules are bent and time extends following the sunset. And mostly, right now, I love summer because of peach galettes….
Peach and Peach Blueberry Galettes With Lemon Thyme Sugar:
Makes 8 individual galettes (we share but you don’t have to)
– I use lemon thyme a lot this year because our one little plant is going wild. Our lemon balm and mint have suffered from the heat but you could definitely use those flavor.
Rosemary, oregano, chocolate mint and sweet basil work beautifully too. The sky is the limit!
– we are not fond of the taste of tapioca flour so I use cornstarch instead but feel free to use either or.
– If you are not baking gluten free, replace the rice, millet, sorghum flours and cornstarch with 1.5 cups of all purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.
– you can make this as one large 9-inch galette if you want to.
For the pastry dough:
5 tablespoons (70gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup (80gr) superfine sweet white rice flour
1/2 cup (60gr) millet flour
1/4 cup (30gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (40gr) corn starch (or tapioca flour)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup cold milk
For the fruits:
1 tea bag jasmine tea (or your favorite)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup blueberries
For the lemon thyme sugar:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon thyme finely chopped
Prepare the crust:
In a mixer, whip the butter on medium speed until light and airy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Mix until incorporated. Add the salt, and all the different flours, and the xantham gum and mix briefly. Add enough milk to moisten it. Dump the whole mixture onto a lightly floured (use more rice flour) board and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Prepare the fruits:
While the dough is resting, place the peaches, tea bag, sugar and enough water to cover the fruit in a large saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and poach the peach until just fork tender. Remove from the heat and let them cool on a clean kitchen towel. Once cooled, peel and halve them, remove the pits and slice the peaches thin.
Prepare the sugar:
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and lemon thyme together with your fingertips and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between two sheets of plastic. If the dough tears while you roll, just patch it with your fingertips. Cut eight 4-inch rounds, rerolling and using the dough as you go (ig it gets too soft, just refrigerate for a few minutes as you fill the other galettes with fruit).
Arrange the slices of half a peach in the center of each round and gather the edges, pleating as you go with your fingertips (don’t worry about being even – these are free form. Imperfections are wonderful anyways…). Add blueberries on top if desired and sprinkle with some lemon thyme sugar.
Place all the galettes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
– bike and handlebar basket: ours
– basket on bench: Dollar Store (yes…)
– wooden bowl: Star Provisions, Atlanta
– linen last picture: Cicada Studio, etsy
– wooden forks: Sprout Home
– enamel pot: ebay
It only took twelve years to admit this but I must say that in spite of the heat and humidity I really love summers here in the South. Yes. I’ve said it. Love them. You might wonder what else is to summer here that would make me forgive the mosquitoes, head bashing heat and stick-to-your-clothes-like-frosting-on-a-cupcake humidity. Well…Thunderstorms! Rain! Afternoon showers! Tea breaks and evening swims!
It was not until a recent conversation with my parents that I realized what summer here was like versus what I thought it should be: it’s like back home. Just a tad stronger. Every afternoon around 4pm the skies darken and the rain slowly moves in. Thunder. Lightning. The skies get a thick cloud cover and the house is nothing but shadows. It reminds me so much of the summer months of my childhood that it makes it bearable.
This weekend was no exception and we gladly took the opportunity to do as much as early as possible and cozy up in the afternoon. That’s the thing to do during summers here, start early and keep going until the rain stops you or the craving for a cold drink and a sit down become too strong. We set up on the dining room table and started working on our respective tasks, facing each other. Looking up once in a while. Bouncing ideas off of each other as they came along. Drawing directions and paths to the life we want to live.
We did just that on Saturday in the later part of the afternoon just as the rain was starting to fall against the window and we sat there quietly listening. A new summer ritual. A good cup of French press coffee or a cold glass of milk, a plate of still warm tea cakes or a handful of cookies. I suddenly got a hunkering for the coconut ice cream I had made specially for profiteroles to celebrate our anniversary the next day. Instead of a snack we stayed true to the past 12 years being married and did the opposite of what was planned. We had dessert before dinner.
Toasted coconut ice cream from David Lebovitz via my friend Jen, financiers made with the olallieberry jam that Anita had given me in Boulder, a plate of fresh figs. The first we’ve had this season.
I like summers here after all…
Olallieberry Jam Financiers:
Note: you can substitute any type of jam for the one I used here. You can also use about 3/4 cup of fresh cut fruit or 3/4 cup fresh berries instead.
1 stick (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (100gr) unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup (60gr) ground almonds
1/4 cup (30gr) rice flour
pinch of salt
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup olallieberry jam
Preheat your oven to 375F and position a rack in the center. Lightly butter the inside of 12 financiers molds or muffin tins and place them on a baking sheet. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, melt the butter until it turns to a rich hazelnut brown color. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve.
Mix together the powdered sugar, flour, ground almonds and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg whites and mix on low speed until all the ingredients are coming together. Add the brown butter, increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth.
Divide the batter among your molds, drop about 1 to 2 teaspoons of jam in the middles and swirl with the tip of a knife. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
1 cup (230gr) dried shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1 teaspoon rum
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the coconut on a baking sheet line with parchment paper and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Keep a close eye on it as it toasts rather fast and goes from perfect to burnt even faster. Remove from the oven when it is golden brown and let cool completely.
In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, warm the milk heavy cream, salt and add the toasted coconut. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Re-heat the cream mixture over medium heat until hot. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Slowly pour the cream mixture over the egg yolks, stirring as you do. Whisk well. Place the mixture back into the saucepan over medium and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Remove from the heat and pour it through fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press the back of your spoon against the coconut to extract as much liquid and flavor as possible. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature (you can place a piece of plastic wrap and poke holes through it to prevent condensation if you are concerned about leaving things uncovered at your house).
Once cooled, refrigerate the mixture until completely cold (I let mine in the fridge overnight) then freeze in your ice cream machine according to its manufacturer’s instructions.