Summer starts late in Oregon, just last week we had massive downpours and I found myself putting on a sweater. Some people can’t handle it but for me it helps me appreciate the summer sunshine even more.
In our little community, 15 minutes outside of Portland, summer means the start of the Farmer’s Market season. Not only is this a great place to get local, fresh, and organic fruits and veggies but it’s also great for people watching, lemonade drinking, pastry eating, and running into friends.
On a recent trip I couldn’t ignore the beautifully ripe flats of Oregon strawberries… they were practically calling my name! I knew I could probably find some kind of baked good to use them in. And that is exactly what I did my friends! Instead of picking something that would tap into the crazy perfectionist side of me I decided to go rustic. Enter, the rustic strawberry galette. I grabbed bits and pieces of recipes online and created this crazy little thing. Sure, sweet strawberries and a delicious shortbread-like crust would probably be enough but what if we mixed a nutty delicious flavor? So I whipped a homemade almond paste to spread under the strawberries before baking. I’ll wait for you to stop drooling before I go on……. you good now?
This dessert got yum’s, and mmmmm’s, and oh man’s, and wow’s from everyone that tried it. Oh, and if you don’t have a powerful food processor I would go ahead and buy the pre-made almond paste from the grocery store in the baking section.
A few notes while making this stuff:
- My crust was a little too soft, when I folded it over the strawberries it stretched a bit too much and in parts it leaked juices while baking. I believe that I used a bit too much water during mixing, I was slightly impatient and got ahead of myself. Don’t do that.
- The almond paste was not quite sweet enough for me. Maybe adding more powdered sugar would help? Maybe adding less sugar to the strawberries? Either way, something to keep in mind. On second thought, maybe a delicious almond pastry cream would be a nice additional layer? That is a thought for another day though.
- And last but not least, 3/4 of the way through baking I slid a baking sheet under to catch the juices that spilled out. Cause I’m smart like that… except it was just that I saw it leaking all over the bottom of my oven.
Crust (ingredients and directions courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons ice water (I used one more because I was impatient… restrain yourself!)
1 lb ripe strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into halves or quarters (I had a 1/2 flat so I weighed them in a Ziploc on the bathroom scale. Sometimes you have to improvise)
1/4 scant cup of sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries, plus 1 T. for sprinkling
1 T. flour
juice from a clementine or half a small orange or tangerine
Homemade Almond Paste (recipe & directions below)
To make the crust: Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a processor. Add the butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the ice water and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. (If the dough still crumbles and does not form into a ball, add another tablespoon of ice water.) Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
For the filling: Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the strawberries, sugar, flour, and juice in large bowl; toss gently to blend. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, dust a large sheet of parchment paper with flour and, working quickly so that the dough does not get warm, roll out the dough on the paper to an 11-inch round. Transfer the dough on the parchment paper to a heavy large baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the berry mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round, leaving the berries exposed in the center. Pleat loosely and pinch the dough to seal any cracks. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Bake the galette until the crust is golden and the berries are bubbling but not disintegrated about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack; cool for 10 minutes. Slide a metal spatula under the crust to free the galette from the baking sheet. Giada says to serve lukewarm but ours was totally cool when we ate it and it was delicious. I also whipped up some heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar to plop on top. Yum!!
Homemade Almond Paste (from Two Tarts)
3 cups raw almonds (not roasted, or the blanching step will not work correctly)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 egg whites
Heat a big pot of water to boiling. Dump a scant 3 cups of almonds into the boiling water and boil for one minute. Drain immediately and let cool for a few minutes before peeling their loose brown skins off…. and by peel I mean squeeze and they will pop out, sometimes flying across the room. Super fun to do with kids! Discard skins.
Re-measure the 3 cups of blanched almonds to make sure you have exactly 3 cups – you may have a few extra because they expand in hot water. Add the 3 cups of blanched almonds to a food processor with a 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, this will ensure that your almonds don’t turn into almond butter if you accidentally go too long. You want to let it run until the almonds are broken down into very very tiny pieces – 1-2 minutes.
Next add the remaining cups of powdered sugar and let run for another 1-2 minutes. Take your time on this step – you want to get the mixture as finely ground as possible. Once you add the egg whites, the whole mixture will ball up into a very firm and sticky mass and unless you have a really powerful food processor you will not be able to process it much past this point!
Last step – add the 2 eggs white and process until they’re fully incorporated. Store tightly sealed in airtight containers, after I used what I wanted I stuck it in the freezer…. currently taking suggestions as to how to use it next!
Alright, start baking and let me know how you like it!