Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peach, Ginger and Almond Galette

August is prime peach season, the time to make that perfect peach pie. But August is also a lazy month, and I tend to take my share of shortcuts in the kitchen to leave more time for reading and relaxing. So instead of making a classic, state fair type of peach pie with 

perfectly crimped crust edges, I’ve been known to go the rustic route, and make a simple, freeform galette instead. Yes, you still have to make the pastry, but it doesn’t require rolling out two crusts, nor does it require a long baking time. Since peaches pair so  

well with almonds and ginger, I sprinkled the pastry with a combination of ground almonds and toasted breadcrumbs (they also help to mop up some of the peach juices, so they don’t spill out), and tossed the sliced peaches with freshly grated ginger and 

finely chopped crystallized ginger. The result, I must say, is nothing short of spectacular—in the flavor department, at least. But I do love the rustic, countrified look of this pie, though it probably will never win a blue ribbon at the state fair. Assuming you could find one around here.

Peach, Ginger and Almond Galette

Makes 6 servings

Galette Crust:
2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
9 tablespoons (127 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
2 to 4 tablespoons ice-cold water

Peach Filling:
2 lbs ripe peaches
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup light brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 egg, whisked lightly
2/3 cup finely ground almonds
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, made from white toast
Sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish

Make the dough for the crust:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter cubes, tossing to coat them with flour. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolks and process just until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of the water and process just until the dough starts to come together. If the dough feels dry, add more, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is no longer dry. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch round. Refrigerate the pastry while you make the filling.

Make the filling:
3. Cut each peach in half, remove the stone, and slice them into ½-inch wedges.
4. Place the peach slices in a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice, ½ cup of the brown sugar, crystallized ginger and grated ginger.

Assemble and bake the galette:
5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough round from the refrigerator and place it on a baking sheet. Brush 1 inch around the edge of the circle with the whisked egg. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and ground almonds and sprinkle them inside the circle, leaving the eggwashed rim bare. Sprinkle with half of the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar. Top the inner, breadcrumbed circle with the peach filling. Fold the pastry up over the edge of the fruit filling. (Don’t worry if it cracks a bit, this dessert is supposed to look rustic.) Brush the edge with eggwash. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoon of the sugar over the fruit, dot it with the butter pieces and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are just golden.
6. Sprinkle the galette with the almond slices and serve immediately with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. (The galette is delicate, so if you want to transfer it to a serving plate, carefully slide a cardboard cake round or tart pan base under the galette after it’s cooled for a bit, then transfer it and slide it off the round onto the plate.)