High Country Baking: Nectarine-Blueberry Galette
August 30, 2017
High altitudes 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 that make baking in the mountains successful.
If you love nectarines, grab some now, while they're in our markets, and make this pretty galette. It highlights their mild flavor and pairs it with blueberries and a crisp, buttery crust. The delicate tastes and contrasting textures make a light and pleasing summer dessert.
Select nectarines that are ripe but not fully soft; they need to hold their shape when cut and cooked. Feel free to substitute your favorite pie dough (commercial or homemade) for the galette dough, just be sure it's sturdy enough to hold the filling without the support of a pan. To assure a tender crust, the butter and water must be very cold and the dough handled as gently as a newborn baby.
Make on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
Yields one 9-10 inch galette
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1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spoon and level
1 tablespoon superfine sugar, preferably Baker's
¼ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3-6 tablespoons ice water
¼ cup sliced almonds or pecan pieces
¼ cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 pinches ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker's
1 pound nectarines, washed
½ cup blueberries, washed
Glaze for crust
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Coarse granulated sugar or Demerara sugar
1. Make the crust: Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor until well combined. Add the butter and use quick pulses to mix it into the dry ingredients, stopping when it's still in ½-inch chunks. Add the vinegar and 3 tablespoons ice water (it must be very cold) and pulse until the dough just comes together in moist clumps. If it's too dry, add more ice water, a little at a time. Dump it out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, gently form it into a 6-inch disc, cover, and refrigerate it for at least an hour or up to overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the lower third. Process the nuts and confectioners' sugar for the filling in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground and set the mixture aside. Remove the dough from the 'fridge, and, if necessary, let it warm up so it's roll-able. Roll it into a circle 11-12 inches in diameter (I do this between two sheets of waxed paper) and refrigerate it.
3. Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, and superfine sugar and whisk until well mixed. Pit the nectarines (peel them if you prefer them without skins) and slice them into crescents 1/8 of an inch thick. Add them, and the blueberries, to the bowl and toss until all the fruit is well coated with the flour mixture.
4. Remove the dough circle from the 'fridge, place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread the ground nuts-sugar mixture into a circle in its center, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered. This layer will serve as a barrier between the fruit and crust, preventing it from getting soggy. Arrange the nectarine slices concentrically over the nut-sugar mixture. Gently fold the dough border over the fruit, pleating it as you go. If it tears as you do this, just pinch it back together. Scatter the blueberries over the nectarines. Glaze the crust by generously brushing the heavy cream over it and sprinkling it with the coarse or Demerara sugar.
5. Bake the galette for 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake another 10-20 minutes, until the fruit is soft and the crust is golden brown. If the crust browns before the fruit is cooked, tent the galette with a sheet of aluminum foil until the filling is done. Wait at least 3 hours or overnight (so the filling can set up) before cutting and serving the galette. Once it cools, refrigerate it, lightly covered. Serve warm or at room temperature. Slices can be re-heated in a microwave or 325-degree oven, if desired. Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Vera Dawson teaches high-altitude baking classes and is the author of two high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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