Thursday, January 28, 2010

Berry Galette (Crostata)

My favorite restaurant in the world is Al Forno in Providence.  I went there as often as I could afford when I was in graduate school, and I try to go every time I get back to Providence (it's so popular, I once went there on Valentine's Day and was told there was a 5-hour wait!). The chef/owners at Al Forno invented grilled pizza; they serve an amazing baked pasta in pink sauce; the corn fritters alone in August make the 3 hour drive worth it.  The menu changes daily according to what's in season, and you have to order dessert at the same time as you order your meal.  Their signature dessert is their crostata - strawberries in the spring, apples in the winter, berries in the summer, and if you're very very lucky, white peach. Yumm....  This galette (i.e. crostata) uses the Al Forno dough, with a berry and lemon curd filling. If you're feeling extra indulgent, serve the galette in a pool of creme anglaise.

You'll have lots of extra lemon curd, but it tastes great with scones or fruit; or fold in some whipped cream for a light lemon mousse.  It lasts a few weeks in the fridge, and several months in the freezer.

My favorite thing about the galette:  it looks great (think rustic!), and is so much easier than a traditional pie.  So if you're scared of making pie dough from scratch, try this - you still have to roll it out, but no struggles to fit the dough perfectly into the pie plate and no fancy crimping required.

This was another recipe we covered in baking class.  Stay tuned for the students' final projects, they did great work!  Baked alaska, an orange and white chocolate Charlotte, Pierre Herme's plaisir sucre, macarons, Opera Cake, and so much more!! Pictures and recipes coming soon.

Brushing excess flour off dough

Galette Dough (from Al Forno Restaurant, Providence)

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup sugar 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 cup ice water 

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a food processor or by hand. Add the ice water and stir with a fork until all ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.  Turn the contents of the bowl out onto a sheet of aluminum foil and shape it into a rough ball. Wrap the dough in foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm.  

Christina & Anna making lemon mousse from lemon curd

Lemon Curd

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, in small pieces

Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Cook over low/medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 10-15 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil (lift off heat if it looks like it's approaching a boil).  Transfer to small bowl.  Stir in butter, 1 piece at a time. Stir in zest.  Cool completely.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. 

Filling is ready; time to fold over the edges
(I'd suggest leaving a much smaller border around the filling as indicated, unless you want to make a dumpling)

Galette Filling

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen berries 
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

Egg-washing the dough

Assemble the galette.

Preheat the oven to 425F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough to about an 11” circle, and transfer to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of lemon curd over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2 “ border all around.  Toss berries with sugar and lemon juice.  Drain excess liquid.  Mound the berries in the center of the tart dough, leaving a 1 ½" border all around.  Fold in the dough to partially cover the berries, and gently pinch together the pleats of dough on the border to help minimize leakage.  (Some berry juice will almost certainly leak through anyway) Sprinkle with sanding sugar if you have it.

Bake the tart for about 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Let cool.  Dust with powdered sugar just before serving (warm or room temperature).

Variation:  Make individual tarts instead.  Divide the dough into 3-4 pieces before freezing.  Roll each piece into a 5" - 6" disk, and prepare as directed.

Sean's ready to bake the galette

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