This past week, some of the grocery stores have offered specials on cherries from California; the first of the season. It seems odd that the first cherries would show up in May, but, apparently, that’s the way it is. We just love getting fresh cherries, most of which we just eat as is. But, we also buy so many that we start thinking of making something with cherries. We came up with a couple of ideas, and this is the first.
We like making galettes because it takes the pressure off. There’s no need to make them look perfect; rustic is best. Plus, once you have a crust, you can fill it with almost anything, sweet or savory, bake it, and have a meal or dessert. This time, we went with dessert.
Now, we will tell you that most of this recipe we pretty much made up; after all, it’s a galette, and you just make them up. And, our version is slightly different from the recipe we give you. Why? Well, we made our crust with freshly-ground Sonora White Wheat flour, and, besides being difficult to acquire for most scratchers, it made the crust a bit difficult to handle, so we’re going to recommend that you use all-purpose flour.
The crust we use is a variation on our favorite pie crust, Bouchon Bakery’s Pâte Brisée. The only thing we did was whisk a teaspoon of ground dried rosemary into the flour at the beginning; everything else is the same. If you have a favorite crust that you’ve perfected, feel free to use it with the rosemary added, but, if not, consider the Pâte Brisée. It’s fast and easy, and it always works, producing a flaky, buttery, crust.
If you wish, you can make your almond meal by grinding almonds in a food processor. We didn’t, only because we had some almond meal in house.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Macerate cherries. Every time we make a fruit pie, we macerate the fruit. It basically means that we mix the fruit with a bit of sugar to draw out some of the juices and firm up the fruit. So, place the pitted cherries in a medium bowl, sprinkle the sugar over the top, add the almond extract, and stir. Let it stand, but do stir it from time to time. It’s not really important how much stirring or how often, just enough to dissolve the sugar as the juices are drawn out.
Roll crust. Meanwhile, place the pie crust on a piece of baking parchment — cleanup, parchment is all about easy cleanup — and roll into a 15-inch circle (or oval if you only have rectangular baking sheets). It’s okay if the edges are ragged; it’s a galette. If you have the crust rolling skills that we have, you’re liking galettes already.
Spread almond meal. The almond meal is our barrier between the crust and the cherries, protecting the crust from getting soggy, so spread the almond meal in a circular, even layer about 10 inches across. As with the crust, no need for perfection.
Toss in almond slices. We didn’t want to break up the almond slices while stirring the cherries, so now’s the time to stir them in, gently. Just stir or fold until the almond slices are coated. Perfect.
Spread cherry mixture. Now, spread the cherry mixture over the almond meal, trying to cover it, while keeping the edges of the crust bare. Try to get the cherries in an even layer, without scraping away too much almond meal. Again, don’t stress; there’s no stress when making a galette.
Fold edges. Fold the edges of the crust up and over the cherries. Our crust — being whole wheat — was fragile, so we used the parchment to lift and fold over the crust. You can do that, too; it does make the process easier. Just make sure to leave the center section of cherries exposed. Once folded, press it together in places so it’ll hold its shape. No matter how it looks, it’s perfect for a galette.
Apply egg wash and sugar. Whisk together the egg and about a teaspoon of water in a small bowl, and, using a pastry brush, paint the exposed crust to ensure a nice browning. Before the egg wash dries, sprinkle with sparkling sugar for a little visual and textural interest. If you don’t have sparkling sugar, granulated sugar works, too.
Bake. Slide the galette, parchment and all, onto a large baking sheet, and bake, 45 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the crust is nicely browned and the cherries in the center are bubbling.
Cool. Let cool completely before serving.
The rosemary was a nice touch for flavoring the crust. It wasn’t overpowering, but you could taste it, and it pairs well with cherries. Plus, the rosemary crust helps to make your galette stand out. Of course, almonds and cherries together are a perfect match, so you can’t go wrong there. Plus, some of the almonds get a toasty crunch, which is quite nice. The only thing we will say is that our cherries seemed a bit bland in comparison to the other competing flavors. Four stars.