High Country Baking: Dried fruit galette
Eagle County CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
You probably won’t make it if you don’t know what it is. So, let’s define terms: “Galette” is a French word used to describe a flat, round pastry. The one featured in this column is an intriguing little morsel that is halfway between a cake and a cookie. The taste is dominated by the soft dried fruit, heightened and made more complex by a soaking in dark rum, and by the buttery dough; the texture is tender and light. It isn’t rich enough to be decadent; instead, it’s pleasant, delicate and easy to eat.
Because it isn’t overly sweet, it can be served at almost any time. It’s as suitable for brunch or at tea as it is for dessert. The galette is good warm or at room temperature and works nicely with or without the optional sauce. If I’m using it to end a dinner, I serve it warm, with the sauce. At other times, I present it unadorned and at room temperature.
The galette may be made a day before you plan to serve it, stored in the refrigerator, and brought to room temperature or re-warmed when you’re ready to bring it to the table.
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Make in a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
1 cup of mixed dried fruit (I use equal amounts of dried cherries, dried, blueberries, dried cranberries, and raisins. Cut larger pieces of fruit so they are the same size as the berries and/or raisins)
1/4 cup of dark rum
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
16 tablespoons (two sticks) of unsalted butter, cold
5 large egg yolks
1 egg, lightly beaten
Optional fruit sauce
1/2 cup of good fruit preserves (Use a preserve with the same flavor as one of the dried fruits above.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Grease the tart pan well. Put the dried fruit mixture in a bowl and immerse it in the quarter cup of dark rum. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the fruit soak for half an hour. Test the fruit, if it isn’t plump and moist, microwave the bowl (still covered) for a minute at low-medium heat until the fruit has softened. You don’t want it to cook, only to soften.
To make in a food processor: Put the flour, granulated sugar and salt in the bowl of the processor and pulse to combine well. Cut the cold butter into one-inch pieces, add them to the bowl, and process until the mixture is mealy. Combine the egg yolks in a small bowl or measuring cup, add them to the bowl of the processor and pulse until large, moist curds are formed. All of the flour mixture should be moistened but shaggy, not smooth. To make with a mixer: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, beat at medium speed with an electric mixer to combine. Cut the butter into half-inch pieces, add them, and beat on low speed until mealy. Add the egg yolks and mix until the dough is uniformly moist but not yet smooth.
Strain the dried fruit over a bowl or squeeze it in your hands until the excess rum is removed. Save the rum if you plan to make the accompanying sauce. Add the dried fruit to the dough and either pulse (if using a food processor) or mix on low speed until well combined. If using a processor, don’t overprocess; you want the fruit to stay whole. Press the dough into the prepared pan, leveling and smoothing the top. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the dough (you won’t use it all). Using the tines of a fork, make a decorative crosshatch pattern on the top.
Bake the galette until the top is a deep golden brown. This takes about 27 to 32 minutes in my oven. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and let the cake, on the pan bottom, continue to cool. When cold, you may wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and store in the refrigerator over night. Return it to room temperature or warm it in a 325 degree oven (in a foil tent) before serving. If you plan to serve it warm, I find it easier to cut when it is cool, so cut it into serving pieces before you re-warm it.
To make the optional fruit sauce, combine the preserves with the left-over rum and warm on the stove or in the microwave. Add some water if the sauce needs additional thinning in order to be drizzled over the pieces of galette when you serve them.
I’d give credit if I knew where this recipe originated; it came to me from a friend.
Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.