Sunday, June 05, 2016

Apricots and Berries

We have reached one of the great times of year for a baker. The first of the stone fruits are coming into the markets. Ripe, fragrant apricots, tender and juicy white nectarines, regular nectarines, peaches - both regular and white, are all ready to be turned into pies, crisps, buckles, muffins, and tarts, to name a few. Cherries are ripe, too. Here is a photo from our local farm stand. Don't they make your mouth water?

We are also beginning to have wonderful berries. Our local strawberries started late this year and my boysenberry shrubs are just now producing ripe king berries.

The garden has been growing like crazy. The only produce we have harvested is the zucchini, but today we found all three kinds ready to pick...dark green, light green and yellow. Will probably have them grilled tonight! My lovely poppies have started to bloom, too. At the top of the post are two that just opened yesterday. Aren't they lovely?

Recently I surprised Sweetie with an apricot and strawberry gallette, which is a free form pie. I used store-bought pie crust and just rolled the round out a little more so that some of the dough could be folded up over the fruit filling. At the bottom I sprinkled a layer of ground almonds and sprinkled that with about a tablespoon of flour. I knew that the strawberries in particular would produce a lot of juice and hoped that the nuts and flour would soak them up some. Well, good plan, but I needed more because the juice broke through cracks in the dough and created a pool to either side of the gallette. Not a problem. I put the gallette on parchment so we just scraped up the cooked juice when we served up our portions.

This was really tasty and, perhaps, the essence of late spring.

Apricot Strawberry Gallette
Serves 4-6

1 pie crust round, either home made or store-bought
about 1/3 cup ground almonds (or whirl some almonds in the food processor with 1 tablespoon sugar until finely ground. The sugar keeps it from turning to paste.)
1-2 tablespoons flour
4 ripe apricots, washed, dried, seed removed and cut into 1/8ths
1/2 pint strawberries, washed, dried, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
a few drops almond extract
Sparkling sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust 2-3 inches wider than needed for a 9" pie. Transfer dough to parchment paper on baking sheet. Draping dough over rolling pin works well for moving it to the baking sheet. Put an even layer of the ground almonds in the center of the dough, leaving about three inches around the edges with no almonds. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the almonds. Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix the prepared apricots and strawberries, the sugar and the almond extract. Pour this mixture into the middle of the prepared dough disk. Make sure that fruit goes over all the ground almonds, but not into the plain dough. Mound fruit in center. Gently pull plain dough up over the fruit, pleating as needed as you go around the disc. Use water on your fingertip to seal the pleats if necessary. Use a little more water (or some milk) brushed over the top of the gallette to help it brown and to hold a sprinkling of sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until pastry top is golden brown and juices are bubbly.
Serve after cooling 5 minutes or cool completely, then serve.

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