It’s the unofficial end of summer. School starts next week, much to the chagrin of two certain children, the peach trees are bearing less fruit, and we’ve spied early pumpkins peeking up through the soil on a local farm.
Last night’s temperature hovered in the low 50s and the kids asked for hot cocoa, I was happy to oblige. It was the perfect night for a backyard movie with warm sweaters and cozy socks to stave off the chill. Autumn is certainly in the air!
I am thankful to live in a part of the country that fully experiences all four seasons. I love, just love, being caught in those palpable moments when one season begins to wane into the next. There’s a give and take that happens in those moments, a struggle of power and will, before the withering season finally surrenders. I appreciate bearing witness to that sacred exchange.
I know summer will cast a few more warm days upon us, but the nights have become significantly cooler, and while I love all four seasons for so many different reasons, I have always belonged to Autumn.
Today’s Stone Fruit and Port Galette recipe symbolizes the seasonal transition when late summer succumbs, just a bit, to the approaching fall.
A galette, if you don’t already know, is a type of rustic tart. It’s much easier to prepare than baking a pie because it uses only one layer of flaky, buttery crust. The crust is casually folded up around the contents of the galette in a somewhat pleated manner. The more imperfect the crust, the more rustic. So don’t worry about perfection here, this is a very user-friendly dessert.
Stone Fruit and Port Galette uses the ripened peaches and plums of late summer. The ones that are so ripe and full of juice that even touching them risks bruising. These ripened fruits might not keep their shape as well, but they are laden with succulent flavor. A fragrant burgundy-colored syrup is prepared by reducing a fine tawny port with vanilla and brown sugar, cloaking the fruit in a robe of flavor and aroma that simply beckons autumn. Add in a cinnamon stick if you really want the autumn feels.
I hope you enjoy this late summer dessert as much as we do. It’s surprisingly light and delicately sweet, not at all heavy or overbearing. Serve it along with coffee, espresso, tea, or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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Stone Fruit and Port Galette
For the Crust:
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick of butter, cold and cubed into small pieces
4-6 tablespoons of ice-cold water
1 egg, beaten (to brush on the crust)
Coarse sugar (optional)
For the Port Syrup:
2 cups fine tawny Port
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Galette:
5-6 combined peaches and plums (or pluots), skins peeled and sliced thin to medium
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of reduced port syrup
NOTE: Make the crust first. When it is chilling in the refrigerator proceed to make the port syrup and prepare the fruit.
For the Crust:
- Pulse together the flour, sugar, salt and cold butter in a food processor until the butter is reduced to the size of small peas and the mixture resembles coarse sand;
- Slowly add the ice-cold water, a tablespoon or two at a time, and pulse until the mixture forms into a ball of dough;
- Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and form into a disc shape with your hands. No kneading. Sprinkle both sides of the disc with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to allow the dough to fully chill.
For the Port Syrup:
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring the port, brown sugar and vanilla to a rolling boil. Reduce the flame so as not to scorch the mixture and allow to slow boil for approximately 15-20 minutes, or as long as it takes to reduce to 2/3 cup. (Feel free to measure the mixture on occasion if you aren’t sure);
For the Galette:
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.;
- When the port syrup is ready, remove the stones (or pits) from the peaches and plums and slice thin to medium (not too thin or they will completely fall apart, so somewhere in between)
- Gently coat the fruit slices in flour and mix in half of the finished and reduced port syrup. Gently toss to combine. Some of the fruit will lose its shape, proceed gently to retain as much shape as possible;
- Roll out the chilled dough to form a circle about 12 inches in diameter and place on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper for easy cleanup);
- Arrange the fruit in a single layer, overlapping the pieces, in the center of the dough forming a 7 inch circle;
- Pour the remaining half of the port syrup evenly over the fruit;
- Fold the edges of the crust up and over in an overlapping pleated pattern (don’t fuss with it, it’s a rustic dish, so it is not supposed to be perfect); brush the edges of the crust with a beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired;
- Bake at 425 F. for 15-20 minutes or until the syrup bubbles and thickens and the crust takes on a golden color. Allow to cool 15-20 minutes. Slice and serve.
Very ripe fruit is tender, handle carefully. The skins of ripened peaches and plums should peel off quite easily.
Feel free to add a cinnamon stick to the port as it is reducing, optional.
If opting to use a frozen crust, allow to come to room temperature before rolling it out.
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