July 11th, 2009 § Comments Off § permalink
Galettes are supposed to look rustic. Galettes are supposed to look rustic. Galettes are supposed to look rustic.
This cherry galette didn’t actually take as long as I feared, and wasn’t nearly as labor-intensive as I still think of pies and tarts as being. But it had its problems.
The whole pie with summer fruit thing kind of baffles me, because you need to keep pie crust cool until the moment you slide it into the oven. But you might have noticed: the northern hemisphere, between May and September, is hot. It’s hard to keep crust stiff enough in this kind of weather, even if you are trying for rustic.
But the pâté brisée held up pretty well, surprisingly enough; I used water straight from the freezer, butter straight from the fridge, and chilled it for a good hour or so before I shaped it. When I say “shaped,” you should probably read “swore a lot at.” It might have been rolled out too thin, because it tore more than a little (although it was easy enough to patch). Unsurprisingly, it was delicious; anything with that much butter in it, proportionally (hell, absolutely), tends to be so.
photograph by bensonkua
But the cherries were not that great. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the sweet and the sour ones (I had a pint of each) when I tasted a few as a reward for pitting them. And when I baked them with a splash of almond liqueur and some brown sugar and cornstarch, they were still not that great.
And then the crust leaked while in the oven and the juice that seeped out scorched and set off the smoke alarm. That was awesome.
This was frustrating and not as good as I had hoped it would be, but that is still pretty good.
Combine flour and cold butter in a 3:2 ratio by weight. Do not over mix; leave the butter in small, pebbly chunks. When combined, add 1 part chilled water and a dash of salt. (I used Michael Ruhlman’s sizing for this one, twelve ounces of flour, eight ounces of butter, and four ounces of water.) Mix lightly until just combined, but not homogenized. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour.
Pit cherries. I had two pints in total, one sour cherries and one sweet. Toss with ¼cup cornstarch or tapioca, ¼ cup brown sugar, and a splash of almond or cherry liqueur.
Heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
Pat out dough to a rough circle about ¼ inch thick. Pile cherries in the middle and fold the edges up to cover about half the cherries. The fruit shrinks in cooking, so make sure there is a lot of it. Move the galette to a baking sheet and bake for thirty minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack.
November 29th, 2008 § Comments Off § permalink
12:30 — The kitchen’s a mess and I have apple cider boiling down on the stove. I’m hoping to have pie in the oven in three hours. Countdown starts now.
photograph by h3nr0
1:00 — Counters are clean, cider is reduced by a third, about to add 2 sticks of chilled butter to 2 ½ cups all-purposes flour, 1 tablespoon sugar (we’re running low; the apple filling will be made with brown sugar this time, I think), and 1 teaspoon salt. I have two foolproof ways of keeping my crust flaky, which requires chunks of butter to remain solid in the dough: one, start with frozen butter, which melts more slowly, and two, putting plastic sandwich bags over my hands and simply rubbing the butter into the flour. Possibly the latter is only worthwhile if you have constantly-cold hands like me, though.
1:25 — Cut the butter in; added ¼ cup icy vodka and ¼ icy water, mixed it in and added tablespoons of cold water until it came together in a mass. Split the dough in half and put each disc into plastic wrap; now they’re chilling in the fridge and before I start peeling apples I am having lunch.
2:00 — Apple-peeling time now. Oh, god. I have over a dozen pieces of fruit to dismember. Although there are worse ways to do it than with a cup of tea and The West Wing playing on my laptop.
2:20 — Apparently homemade boiled cider only thickens to a syruplike texture after you turn the heat off. I feel like that’s valuable information to have in my arsenal.
2:30 — Six apples done, three more to go, and then I get to mix them up with the spice mixture. Nutmeg: a good idea or no? This calls for pondering.
2:50 — Almost perfect timing, the last apple slices and the last episode of season one.
3:10 — Apple filling is mixed and I’m putting on Casino Royale, which I’ve not seen. Yes, I bake as an excuse to watch DVDs.
3:25 — One day, I will learn to roll out pie dough without covering myself with flour. One day.
3:35 — Bottom crust rolled out! Only two small patches needed once I got it into the pan, too. I am calling this a tentative success so far.
4:00 — Pie. Is. In. The. Oven. WOO-HOO!
5:00 — Do I really have to wait for the pie to cool before I slice it? Really?
July 20th, 2008 § Comments Off § permalink
In my file of ‘posts to make on A Very Uncommon Cook’ is a scribbled note that reads ‘wtf is the difference btwn fud processors & blenders?’
Well, I have discovered at least part of the answer: you can’t make pie dough in a blender.
This apartment only has a blender. I wanted to try the Cook’s Illustrated foolproof pie dough that Bitten Word published a while back. The very first line of that recipe reads ‘Process 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined.’
I tried, honest I did. But the blender just whirred away, and the pile of flour and sugar and salt collapsed in the middle and then refused to move. Dubious now, I nevertheless perservered, and added butter and shortening, just as I was told. It was a well-meaning attempt that produced absolutely nothing that resembled pie dough, even pie dough in utero.
At which point I dumped the whole mess into a bowl and started hand-cutting the butter and shortening into the flour mixture. Which worked well enough that as I type, I have pie dough chilling in the fridge. The counter got a little messy, but I blame that on the fact that the bowl was a little too small for the amount of dough in it.
Okay, the dough is sufficiently chilled now; I will report back when I’m done wrangling blueberries!
I would kill for decent counterspace; have I mentioned that? Rolling out the dough was mostly painless — it’s not a very sticky dough, so it stuck to the rolling pin and the counter very little — except that I ran out of room for it. The filling is quite easy to make, although as blueberries tend to, it stained everything it touched purple (and delicious).
Speaking of delicious, that would not be an overstatement; the pie smells fantastic, the crust is flaky and tender, and while I think I should have thickened the filling more (or, you know, let it cool all the way before I started eating it — don’t judge me, I bet you wouldn’t have been able to restrain yourself either), it’s a great balance of sweet and tart, and I am so making this again.
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
- cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
- ¼ cup cold vodka
- ¼ cup cold water
- 6 cups fresh blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
- 2 teaspoons grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or ground tapioca
- Pinch table salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted better, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Process 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl. Blend 1 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar on a mid-size bowl. Add 12 tablespoons of cold butter and ½ cold shortening and cut in, using knives or a pastry cutter (which I do not have, and honestly don’t see the point of; I mentioned the size of my kitchen, right? the size of New York City kitchens, by and large? Just use cutlery, it’s a little more tedious, but it works just fine), until fats are broken up and mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch think. Roll dough loosely and rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack and heat oven to 400 degrees. Put 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Mash berries several times to release juices; I used a fork, but a potato masher would work well if you have one. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 ½ cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. (I forgot to do this, and I doubt it made much difference.) Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, cornstarch, and salt; mix. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.
- Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Slash a starburst into the dough, radiating out from the center, leaving a generous frame around it. Roll dough loosely around pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least ½ inch overhang on each side.
- Trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving ½-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with times of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Place pie on heating baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juice bubbles and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
- Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.