Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Little suns

Lately, I’ve been feeling rushed. Rushed in every possible way. With life, with work, with everyday chores, with cooking, with myself.






I feel like I need to take a break from everything and most of all my own thoughts and preoccupations. Those that are meddling with my inner peace, those that stir up memories and waters that are best left serene and waveless.






Speaking of water, I miss the sea. My sea, the one back home, not this one here which can be pretty, even breathtaking at times, but that can never be the one I long for.






I miss my feet being immersed in the sand, the subtle waves stroking my toes. I miss the sound of crickets in the night and the soft breeze traveling through the trees.
Perhaps I miss him, or the idea of him, being there but not really. Being a part of my future without him ever being present. His loud laughter and his hands that always looked so manly, so strong yet delicate at the same time, his cologne that smelled long after he’d leave a room.





It’s not so much a longing for home, but more for comfort, for safety, for belonging. I understand now that I will always be that person who reminisces about home, who can never really settle anywhere else but won’t go back either. I have to accept the fact that I’m perhaps destined to explore new worlds or that I’m the person who can never be content with what they have.






But I never stop smiling. I’m thankful for so many things and for the people in my life, for S above them all. I’m thankful for all of you, yes you, who read my words and drop by to leave me a note, for you who cook my recipes and come back, full of graciousness, to tell me all about it, you who are quiet yet here. Because, as I’ve said so many times before, this space here is a part of me, one that I’m very proud of, a part of me that always brings me pleasure to share.






I’m thankful for the cooking that fills me with joy, the food that brings me happiness, the ingredients that make me go in the kitchen and not come out until I have made something delicious to share with my loved ones. I’m thankful for the fruits of the summer. The cherries, the melons, the peaches, the apricots. The apricots, the little suns. Cooking with them brings sunshine even if it’s raining outside; always satisfying, and this time wasn’t any different.






This time I made this galette. With apricots, sugar, vanilla and a flaky pastry so light and buttery it reminded me of puff.
Simple stuff that bring a smile to your face. That’s what this is.











Apricot Galette

The galette is one of the easiest types of tarts because it’s free-form. You simply roll-out the pastry, arrange the fruits in the middle and you bring the sides of the pastry up and over the fruit. Straightforward and no tart pan required.

Use ripe, sweet apricots; the sweetest the fruit the less sugar you’ll need to add to them. If they’re very sweet, use 2-3 tablespoons of sugar in the filling instead of 4.

I used vanilla bean paste but you can use the scraped seeds of a vanilla bean. Don’t use vanilla extract, the flavor won’t be the same.

If you have a large food processor, it is best if you use it to make the pastry instead of making it with your hands because during the summer, our hands tend to get very warm causing the butter in the pastry to soften and thus making handling the dough more difficult. Below you’ll find instructions for both methods.






Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

for the pastry dough
200 g all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
140 g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1-2 Tbsp cold water

for the filling
300-350 g ripe apricots (I used 11 small apricots)
4 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and seeds scraped)

1 small egg, lightly beaten, for glazing the dough

Special equipment: large food processor, plastic wrap, rolling pin, baking sheet, baking paper, pastry brush


Preparation

for the pastry dough
• with a food processor
In a large food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest and blend for 5 seconds. Add the cold cubed butter and process for a few seconds until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Then add 1-2 Tbsp cold water (I used 1½ Tbsp) and process in order to bring together the mixture into a dough that just holds together when pinched (see photo below). Add 1 Tbsp of water to start and see from there whether it needs more. You don’t want the dough to be wet.


• by hand
In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest and stir with a spatula. Add the cubed cold butter and, using two knives, a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut it into the flour, until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Then add 1-2 Tbsp cold water (I used 1½ Tbsp) and mix with your hands, working quickly, until the dough comes together into a ball that just holds together when pinched (see photo above). Add 1 Tbsp of water to start and see from there whether it needs more. You don’t want the dough to be wet.

Empty the pastry dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, form a disk, cover it and place it in the refrigerator to chill, for about 40 minutes.

for the filling
Rinse the apricots well, cut them in half and remove the pits. Place them in a medium-sized bowl and add the sugar and vanilla bean paste (or scraped vanilla seeds). Mix well with a spoon until apricots are completely coated and set them aside.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit.

Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and discard the plastic wrap and place dough between two large sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry into an approximately 30cm round, with a 0.5cm thickness. Remove the top piece of baking paper and place the pastry, along with the bottom baking paper, onto a baking sheet.
Arrange the apricot filling evenly in the middle of the round piece of pastry, scraping out any sugar that’s left in the bowl, and taking care to leave space around the edges of the pastry, about 5cm, and place the baking sheet in the fridge. At this point the pastry will have gotten soft so by putting it in the fridge, the butter will harden thus making the pastry flaky when baked.
Leave it in the fridge for 10 minutes.


Remove it from the fridge and fold the edges of the pastry up and over the apricots, making sure to seal any cracks, otherwise the juices will run out during baking. You can use the baking paper to pull and fold the pastry dough over the fruit.
Using a pastry brush, glaze the dough with the beaten egg. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until the apricots soften and the pastry takes on a golden-brown color.

Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool. Serve the galette warm with some lightly whipped mascarpone, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
You can also eat it at room temperature.

You can keep it for a day or two, covered, at room temperature but it is best eaten the same day.





12 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Magda :) I never consider myself a beach gal, but after spending a year away from the Floridian beaches I always took for granted, I'm so excited to get back out there... something about the sun and salt is intoxicating—just like I imagine this galette is!

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  2. Hi Magda - This looks divine. The summer's fresh and vibrant produce are so inspiring, aren't they?! As an expat, I understand your conflicts. It's the blessing and curse of living far away. But most of all, something I strive for and will always work at improving, is learning to be content with the joys of now and being fully present in the moment. And having your life partner to share it with is the absolute most satisfying. :) Thanks for a great summer dessert!

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  3. What a lovely and honest post - so beautiful, the pictures you paint. Do you know this e.e. cummings poem?

    "maggie and milly and molly and may
    went down to the beach(to play one day)

    and maggie discovered a shell that sang
    so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,

    and milly befriended a stranded star
    whose rays five languid fingers were;

    and molly was chased by a horrible thing
    which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:

    and may came home with a smooth round stone
    as small as a world and as large as alone.

    For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
    it's always ourselves we find in the sea"

    It has always been my favorite, reminding me of the depth of feeling we all find at the water's edge.

    Your tart looks extra beautiful and I know I will be buying apricots again this weekend at the market. xox, David

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    Replies
    1. David, what a beautiful poem. Thank you!

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  4. So beautiful! Thank you for the motivation. I have been on a low-carb diet of late, so this is out for me, but I think I will make it for my beloved. Christina

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  5. Hi Magda,

    I just stumbled upon your site after seeing your beautiful spring tart recipe from a few weeks back on Pinterest. Now that I've seen this recipe for Apricot Galette, I know I'm going to be one of your best new followers.

    Having been an expat off and on again on several occasions so I totally understand your need for comfort foods that remind you of being back home. I think its natural to feel that way no matter how much you love your new home. In fact I just put a post of my site today about pies (cherry pie in this case) which reminds me of being home.

    And back to the Apricots! I've been salivating over apricots all season … fresh, dried, jams and spreads … I'm eating apricots in every form right now. You have given me a new simple fresh recipe to add to my repertoire! I'm probably going to be making your recipe this week.

    Best, Flirty Foodie

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  6. I understand you because I will never feel completely at home wherever I am. I will always miss something, someone or feel nostalgic, something I am prone to. And missing someone who meant so much, who will never come back, is also atrocious. It never stops but becomes easier as the years go by.

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  7. I think galettes are the prettiest cakes: rustic, full of flavors from the season, crunchy but tender...
    And I would love to try this recipe with my beloved nectarines :)

    So many things to be grateful for is such a blessing!!!!

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  8. Thank you all for dropping by and leaving a comment!

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  9. This is my favorite kind of deserts and my favorite fruit. I totally have the feeling of not being at home here on the East Coast - 2,000 miles away from my West Coast home. Cooking absolutely helps!

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  10. I love those tarts! They look delicious!

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  11. I made the pie. Well sort of this set of apricots were a little acidic, so I made jam with them. Used your crust recipe. Had guests over. They ate it up!

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