Friday, July 27, 2012

Galette = Easy Elegance

I love pie, but in all my years of eating and making it, I had never tried a galette.

That's funny, because it's hard to find something that's simpler to make than one of these beauties, which can be filled with just about anything you like, sweet or savory.

This particular variation is based on a recipe from the Martha Baking Handbook. You start with a cornmeal pate brisee, a.k.a, crust, which is very similar to regular pie dough. Chill, then roll out into a large round and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. (These things tend to leak.)

In a large bowl, toss together whatever fruits you're using (I chose plums and blueberries--delicious!) with some sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt.  A bit of cinnamon wouldn't hurt either.

Then pile the fruit in the center of your dough and simply fold up the dough all around it.  Before baking, for about an hour, brush the edges of the dough with a beaten egg and dust with sanding sugar.

This is one of the most delicious pies, tarts, or galettes I've ever eaten.  Really good with a dollop of whipped cream.  The crust is crisp (at least for the first day or two) and sweet, with a nice subtle undertone from the cornmeal, and the fruit is beautifully steamed and juicy.

I would serve this the same day for the best results as the juicy fruit tends to soften the crust the longer it sits.

Cornmeal Pate Brisee


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


Place the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter, and process, until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, pour the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, until the dough just holds together (do not process for more than 30 seconds).

Turn out dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten each to form a disk. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day before using.

Plum-Blueberry Filling

1/2 recipe cornmeal pate brisee
1 1/2 pounds stone fruit (plums, apricots, or nectarines) pitted and cut into sixths
2 cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 a lemon
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
sanding sugar for sprinkling (optional)

In a large bowl, gently toss fruit, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and cinnamon if using.  Arrange fruit mixture on top of dough, leaving at least a 2-inch border all around. Fold border over fruit mixture, overlapping where necessary and pressing gentle to adhere the folds. Brush edges with egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer on baking sheet to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Easy, Vegan, and Delicious--Possible? Yes!

Can one cake be all at once:  easy, vegan, and delicious?

Yes, if it's this "Busy Day Chocolate Cake" recipe I found by Lucinda Scala Quinn, via the Martha site.

I stumbled upon it by accident when asked to contribute a dairy-free dessert for an Orthodox Jewish Shabbat dinner (chez my nephews and niece).

How surprised was I to find that the ingredients for this cake include no butter, no milk or sour cream, not even any eggs, and that the original directions call for you to mix all ingredients in the 8 x 8 pan you bake it in?

I was even more surprised that when baked, the cake comes out so moist that you'd be hard-pressed to lift it out of the pan unless you'd lined it with parchment. And the flavor is unmistakably rich and chocolatey. You could easily double this recipe and make a layer cake out of it, if you could just get it out of the pan to frost it!

For frosting, I used the recipe on the box of Domino's confectioner's sugar, subbing water for milk and margarine for butter. I also dyed it pink because in my world, frosting is always better when it's pink.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup cold water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an 8-inch square baking pan, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and coarse salt.

2. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add vegetable oil, pure vanilla extract, white vinegar, and cold water. Whisk until well combined. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My next class at Whole Foods is on August 8th. Click here to register.  The description is below:

Wednesday, August 8th

La Dulce Vida: Mexican Desserts
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Hands-On and Demonstration, $55  REGISTER NOW!Mexican cuisine is perfect for summertime: fresh, crowd-pleasing, and fun! And while Mexican food is often associated with smoky heat or bold, savory flavors, the desserts can be just as dynamic. In this class, we’ll whip up four dazzling yet surprisingly easy treats that will be the perfect ending to your next South-of-the-Border-inspired meal. In addition to a feather-light tres leches cake and Mexican hot chocolate cookies, we’ll also create pastries inspired by classic cocktails: virgin sangria tart and virgin margarita pie (instructions for how to make boozy versions included, of course). Your sweet tooth will surely be satisfied after tonight’s fiesta.
On the MenuTres Leches Cake; Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies with Dulce de Leche and Crushed Almonds; Sangria Tart; Margarita Pie; Cornmeal Crepes with Fresh Fruit Filling.