For this feature, Lifestyle Mirror introduces Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra’s Kitchen. Check back for more In The Kitchen from Stafford and other food bloggers.
No single gadget has pulled its weight more in my kitchen than my digital scale. Atop that scale has sat bowlful after bowlful of countless sweet mixtures destined for the oven. Thanks to that scale, every batch of whatever I’m making ultimately emerges just as expected. No measuring tool matches a scale’s accuracy and consistency, making it an essential piece of equipment for anyone who likes to spend time in the kitchen.
The dough for these rustic stone fruit galettes basically follows the 3:2:1 by-weight ratio of flour to fat to liquid, and it never fails to produce a buttery, flaky crust. But what makes these galettes truly special is their thin layer of frangipane—almond-flavored cream—spread atop the dough, which complements every variety of stone fruit out there. Both the crust and the frangipane for these galettes can be made in the food processor, making for quick preparations, while their rustic free-form nature allows for a no-fuss assembly—the more misshapen, the better. With stone fruit season peaking, now is the time to showcase your favorites in this delicious dessert. —Alexandra Stafford
Galette Dough Yield: Three 9-inch tarts
3 cups (13.5 oz or 384 g) all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon table salt 19 tablespoons unsalted butter (9.5 oz unsalted butter or 268 g) cut into cubes and chilled ½ cup ice water (4.5 oz)
1. Place flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend. Add butter and pulse until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add the ice water and pulse until the dough is crumbly. Do not over-mix—the dough should not form a mass in the bowl of the food processor—it should look crumbly but should hold together when squeezed between your fingers.
2. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Do not wash food processor bowl—you can make the frangipane right after you empty the contents of the food processor. With your hands, gently portion the mass into three equal portions. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the table. Place one of the three portions onto the plastic wrap. Flatten into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Repeat with the remaining two portions. Chill for at least an hour and up to three days.
Frangipane 1 scant cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds) ¼ cup sugar Pinch of salt 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature 1 egg 1 tablespoon brandy, rum, or bourbon (optional)
In the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, combine almond flour, sugar, salt, butter and egg. Pulse until combined, then add alcohol if desired. Pulse until smooth. Transfer to a storage container and chill until ready to use.
Assembling the Galettes Selection* of stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, pluots, etc. cut into ½-inch thick slices 3 tablespoons butter, melted Sugar (a couple of tsp. per galette) Parchment paper 3 rimless cookie sheets (or upside-down jelly roll pans) Frangipane (recipe above) Galette dough (recipe above) Vanilla ice cream (optional)
*If the peaches and nectarines are on the larger side, you need about 1 peach or nectarine per tart. If you are using plums or apricots you might need about 2 plums or 2 apricots per tart.
1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll one disk out approximately into an 11-inch circle, using flour as needed to prevent sticking. Don't worry about the dough being in a perfect circle—these are meant to be rustic-looking tarts. Line a rimless cookie sheet with parchment paper. Transfer dough to cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator. Repeat with the remaining two discs of dough.
2. Remove one cookie sheet from the refrigerator and spoon ¼ cup of the frangipane into the center of the dough round. Using the back of a spoon, spread the frangipane out leaving a two-inch border all the way around. Drop the sliced peaches or plums or apricots over the frangipane, then spread them out so that they cover the frangipane—again these are meant to look rustic, so there is no need to arrange the fruit in concentric circles. As noted above, you'll need about 1 whole nectarine or peach per galette and about 2 whole plums or apricots per galette.
3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Finish assembling the galette by folding the exposed border up onto itself, tucking the dough under every few inches to make a folded-over border. Chill galette again in the refrigerator while you assemble the remaining two. When all three of the galettes are assembled, you can carefully shimmy one of the galettes off its cookie sheet and onto one of the others allowing you to bake two at a time, or you can leave each galette on its own sheet and bake each separately. Just before baking each galette, brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar (about two teaspoons per galette). Place in the oven for 25-35 minutes or until crust is golden. Let cool for five minutes on tray then slide parchment paper and tart onto a cooling rack. Let cool another 20 minutes sliding onto a large platter—a large rustic wooden cutting board works well for these galettes—and slice. Repeat with remaining two galettes.
Note: You'll likely have a little bit of frangipane leftover. This of course can be saved for future galettes, but if you're looking to use it up, spread it atop a thick slice of toasted French bread or brioche; top it with a sprinkling of sliced almonds and bake it at 375º for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy with your morning coffee.