Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, the Kitchen Goddess Is... Baking
What’s cooking? Two Galettes – Blueberry and Blackberry

Is it sunny where you are? I hope so, because someone should have had good weather for the holiday. I can tell you for sure that whoever that is wasn’t in Central Texas.

It was hard to really think about it being Memorial Day weekend – all we’ve had for the past couple of weeks has been rain. And while I know we are all grateful that the rivers and lakes are filling back up (according to my local newspaper, Lake Travis has risen 14 feet since May 20, and parts of the Texas Hill Country got more than 12 inches on Saturday alone)....The hourly forecast for Memorial Day itself felt like a lesson about precipitation from Roget’s Thesaurus: “heavy thunderstorms,” “thunderstorms,” “scattered thunderstorms,” and a couple of hours of just plain “rain.” To say nothing of the Flash Flood Warnings and Tornado Watches. We’re having a blessed day of sun now that the weekend is over, but the forecast for tomorrow is back to “scattered thunderstorms.” I never thought I’d be tired of that pitter-patter sound on my roof, but geez, Louise, could we just get a break?!

The weather doesn’t stop me from cooking, of course, though you do have to stay away from anything that needs stiff egg whites. And we’re fast moving into the berry season, which always makes the Kitchen Goddess happy. Prices on blueberries in particular have been coming down lately, a sure sign that the season is upon us. Sunday – amid a blessed break from the downpour – I stopped in a local farmer’s market and bought these lovely blackberries.

Kitchen Goddess notes about buying/storing/washing berries: 
1. Buying. Berries won’t ripen any more once they’ve been picked. So buy the ripest ones you can find, which is most likely at a farmers’ market.
2. Storing. “Dry and dirty” are the watchwords for storing berries (except strawberries). Don’t wash any until you’re ready to eat them, and store them in the fridge in those little containers they came in. Keeping them on your counter will only make them rot faster, and they won’t get any riper.
3. Washing. To wash strawberries, swish them briefly around in a bowl of water, then let them dry on paper towels. Store them in the fridge in a single layer on a dry paper towel, covered with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out. For blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, put just the ones you 'll be eating in a colander and give them a brief spray with water. (One chef I met says she never washes raspberries at all.) There are methods you can find that involve vinegar rinses or a hot water bath, but they all sound like a lot of trouble, and I think I’ll just eat faster.

The Kitchen Goddess’s long-suffering husband is a big fan of berries, so today, for him, a berry dessert. Two of them, in fact, though it’s the same dessert made once with blueberries and once with blackberries, just to show you that the Kitchen Goddess is nothing if not flexible.

This is the blueberry galette; blackberry galette is at top of post.

A galette is a sort of free-form tart, most often made with fruit, and therefore sweet, but don’t be afraid to get creative. In a post from last September, I featured a Roasted Tomato-Bacon-Goat-Cheese Galette that is strictly savory and completely delicious.

Today’s blueberry galette was made totally from scratch, with dough you can put together in a food processor. No muss, no fuss. For the blackberry version, I used a sheet of frozen puff pastry dough. Sometimes it just depends on what you have on hand. Neither takes much time. Even with making your own dough, and including the time to let the dough rest in the fridge, the actual work involved in putting this dessert together is less than an hour. If you use frozen dough, you’ll still need to roll it out. The baking/cooling time adds another 45 minutes.

The short form of this recipe is:

■ Make the dough, and refrigerate it;
■ Roll the dough out and trim it to a 10-inch round;
■ Pile the fruit and flavorings into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border;
■ Fold the dough border in on itself, creating a sort of envelope around the fruit.
■ Bake and enjoy.

Before we jump into the galette recipe, the Kitchen Goddess encourages you to check out her Notes on Pie Crust (modified from the November 10, 2009, post about her heroic adventures with pie crust at the CIA). Now if you’re ready to roll, let’s make the galettes.


For the dough:
1⅓ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons solid shortening (Crisco)
3 tablespoons ice water, more as needed
1 tablespoon vodka

OR 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough or frozen pie crust dough

For the Blueberry Galette (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, July 2004):
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
finely grated zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon milk (whole, part-skim, or skim)
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (e.g. Sugar in the Raw)

For the Blackberry-Ginger Galette:
Substitute 3 cups blackberries for the blueberries (duh), and 2 tablespoons of candied ginger (minced) for the cinnamon. Remaining ingredients are the same.

Blackberry galette on its way into the oven.
If you’re using packaged dough, be sure to note the time you’ll need for thawing it before you begin. Then skip to preheating the oven, below.

If you will be making your own dough:
Start by dicing the shortening and the butter into teaspoon-sized bits, and put it into the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse 4-5 times to blend. Add the cold butter and shortening to the flour and pulse 12-15 times, or enough to get the butter down to the size of small peas. Drizzle the water and vodka over the mixture and pulse just until the mixture holds together when you squeeze a handful of it. (If necessary, add more water a tablespoon at a time.) Gather and press the dough into a ball, wrap well in cellophane wrap, and chill at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400º.

Blueberry galette just out of the oven.
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and dust it with flour. Roll your dough on it to a thickness of ⅛ inch and trim the dough (if necessary) to about a 10-inch round. Move the parchment (with the circle of dough) to a baking sheet and refrigerate it again for 10-15 minutes.

While the circle of dough is chilling, gently stir your berries in a large bowl with the remaining filling ingredients, except the milk and coarse sugar. Remove the dough from the fridge and pile the berries into the center of the circle, leaving a border of about 2 inches.

Carefully fold that border of dough over the fruit and toward the center, pinching and folding to create a pleated look. Brush the pleated border with the milk, and sprinkle the coarse sugar over all. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Cool the tart in the pan set on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or a dollop of non-fat yogurt with a touch of honey (shown here).

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