Not that it takes much coaching. Peaches are pretty much designed (to the benefit of us fire-wielding humans) to take like perfection to being transformed by a bit of heat into a pie – the juicy become juicier, or something like that. Or, in this case, a galette (a kind of lazy pie with only a bottom crust that’s folded up around the fruit in a way that’s rustic and *I* think even more celebratory of the ripened innards). I made it in honour of a good friend dropping by from out of town, and I think it’s becoming a tradition that I bake a peach pie in the midparts of summer, started three years ago when I first moved into this wonderful house that I live in now and will soon be leaving. There are, usually, no less than seven people under this roof, and I wouldn’t be who I am without these beautiful folks.I always have mouths to feed, and there is usually dessert on the table. The first peach pie I made here was about a foot tall, a sliceable bucket of sweetened bourbon fruits in a burnished coffin of a shell – I had to use a spring-form cheesecake pan just to fit it all in. The year after was a Pi Pie and I learned the first-hand way exactly what happens when impatience prevents me from chilling an unbaked dough enough – it does get a little… misshapen and less fantastic to eat. But no matter! This year was different.
This year I figured I would see how fast I could turn a lump of frozen butter and a smudge of salt and sugar into a pie-like device. This took half an hour maybe? I even had Amaretto still in the pantry. Really I hardly touched the fruit at all, just tossing with sugar, cornstarch and liqueur, then arranged onto crushed Amaretti cookies & ground almonds. It doesn’t mess with the flavour of peach, just enhances. The crust was shatteringly crisp and flavoursome, and held the fruit beautifully.
Anyway, my lovely friends, this is for you. Merry August, and shine on like adamantine in the wind.
PS. White beer goes FANTASTIC with this. Just saying’.
For more photos, check out the Flickr set.
Summer Peach Galette
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick or 3 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2–inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon amaretti cookies, pulverized — or — 1 extra tablespoon ground almonds plus an extra teaspoon sugar
- 10 ounces galette dough, rolled into a 14-inch circle and chilled
- 1 and 1/2 pounds ripe peaches (about 4 large)
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 sliced almonds (optional)
- Peach or nectarine jam (optional)
Make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large, wide mixing bowl. Cut in six tablespoons of the butter with a pastry blender or two knives, mixing until the dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Dribble four tablespoons ice water over the mixture, using a rubber spatula to pull the mixture together. Gather the dough into a mound (either in the bowl or on a counter) and gently knead it together, for just a few seconds. If it’s not coming together, add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until it does. Wrap dough in a flat disc in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
When you are ready to roll out the dough, take one disk and let it soften slightly so that it is malleable but still cold. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before using.
Make the galette: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a pizza stone, if you have one, on a lower rack. Toss the ground almonds, flour, one tablespoon of the sugar, and pulverized amaretti (or mix of extra ground almonds and sugar) together.
Remove the prerolled dough from the refrigerator or freezer and sprinkle the almond mixture evenly over the pastry, leaving a 1 1/2 to 2-inch border uncoated. Cut peaches in half, removing pits, then each half into thirds (you’ll get six wedges per nectarine). Toss the peaches in a bowl with the amaretto liqueur and cornstarch. Arrange the fruit, skin-side-down, in concentric circles on the dough, making a single layer of snugly touching pieces, leaving the border bare. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the sugar evenly over the fruit.
While rotating the tart, fold the border of exposed dough up and over itself at regular intervals, crimping and pushing it up against the fruit. Pinch or trim off any excess dough. (Make sure there are no breaks that will let juices leak.) Brush the border with melted butter, and sprinkle it with two tablespoons sugar.
Bake in the lower third of the oven (preferably on a pizza stone) for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is well browned and its edges are slightly caramelized. If you wish, sprinkle sliced almonds over the galette 15 minutes before the baking time ends, so they get toasty and extra-crisp. As soon as the galette is out of the oven, use a large metal spatula to slide it onto a cooling rack, to keep it from getting soggy. Let cool for 20 minutes. If you want to glaze the tart, brush the fruit lightly with a little warmed peach (or nectarine, if you have it) jam. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or with plain yogurt.
Do ahead: This galette keeps at room temperature for at least two days, and even longer in the fridge. The unbaked dough, wrapped in plastic, will keep in the freezer for a few weeks, the fridge for a day or more. Rolled-out dough may be frozen and used the next day.