As the sun turns my shoulders one happy shade darker, I know Summer’s signature long, lazy afternoons are here to stay. ‘Tis the season for sipping icy cold lemonade from porch swings, napping under the shade of big, friendly oak trees and eating as many watermelons as allowed by law. I’m a card-carrying watermelon-salter. A habit, which, I’m guessing, leaves me in the minority when it comes to acceptable summertime rituals. Any closet watermelon-salters out there? Anyone?
Even if I tread alone, I still love Summer. I love the ease of it. I walk slower, eat slower, cook slower. Heck, I’m cooking sooo slowwww these days that if you caught a glimpse of my-so-called ‘cooking’, it might look remarkably similar to, Err…stacking. Or spreading. Or tossing. But, I don’t mind one bit. The warm summer wind is gently flowing into the kitchen, Sinatra is playing in the background, nothing is hurried and meals have a tendency to transpire haphazardly. Walnut pesto or herbed goat cheese slathered on a toasted, crusty baguette along side a simple green salad and thick slivers of heirloom tomatoes, paired with a chilled glass of French Rosé, all of a sudden turns into a fabulously chic and perfect meal. Fully loaded and fuss-free.
Now, we can’t really talk about the ease and fuss-freeness of things, without a big summer nod and wink to the ultra low maintenance rustic almond-plum galette. This free-form tart is my favorite type of dessert. Little effort, big impact. It’s the definition of versatility and embodies the much acclaimed ‘oouu-ahhhh‘ factor. Even the biggest curmudgeon you know will eek out a grin with this galette. Serve it after a casual outdoor barbecue, a fancy-pants dinner party or a regular weeknight meal. It fits like a glove anywhere it goes. Or, if you’re crazy like me, have it for breakfast. Go for it…’Tis the season.
RUSTIC ALMOND-PLUM GALETTE
Make sure to pick plums that are not overly ripe – you want these babies firm, firm, firm. Otherwise, you’ll have a soggy mess on your hands. Adjust the amount of sugar as necessary to satisfy your desired level of sweetness/tartness. If you’re not a big fan of plums, feel free to pick your fruit of choice. Mix and match. Go nuts. Let me know what you come up with. I made this galette with strawberries a little while back, when strawberries were overflowing at my farmer’s market. (Plums are now overflowing). Actually, I made it twice. In the same week.
Music Pairing: Frank Sinatra, Summer Wind
- 1 1/4 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2-4 tbsp ice water
- 1/4 cup whole, skin-on almonds, toasted
- 5 to 6 firm plums, halved, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- zest of half a lemon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
In a food processor, combine 1 1/4 cups flour, butter, 1/2 tsp sugar, and salt. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time. Pulse until dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed. Do not overmix. Remove dough from food processor and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, wipe bowl of food processor clean and add almonds, 3 tbsp sugar, and 2 tbsp of flour. Pulse until ground to a coarse meal.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss the plums with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp flour and zest of half a lemon. Taste and add more sugar for desired sweetness and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 13-14 inch round, about an 1/8-1/4 of inch thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet (preferably without sides) and spread almond mixture over dough, leaving a two-inch border. Spread and arrange plums on top of almond mixture. Fold and pleat edge of dough over fruit. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle galette with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake until crust is golden and underside is cooked through, about 70 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.