The homey shape of this galette belies its sophisticated filling, a combination of almond cream (crème d’amande) and pastry cream (crème pâtissière), two essential recipes in French pastry making. (Almond cream is the classing filling for tarts, cakes, pastries or leftover stale croissants and pastry creme is the thick custard piped into eclairs and creme puffs or spread between the layers of millefeuille.)
The rich, flaky pastry is quite forgiving; a great dough for timid bakers. The recipe calls for room temperature butter so you don’t need to worry about keeping everything ice cold and the dough is rolled and folded without any tricks into a free-form shape.
To make it even easier, you can use any fruit – just not anything to wet or juicy – save the raspberries and strawberries for summer smoothies and opt for stones fruits, figs, blueberries and/or blackberries.
Rustic fruit galette with almond cream
- Serves 6-8
- Tart Dough:
- 250 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
- 130 g (9 tablespoons ) European style unsalted butter, (82%) fat, cut into small cubes and at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more for border of tart
- Pinch of salt
- 60 ml (3 to 5 tablespoons) cold water (approximately)
- Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière):
- 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise from a whole bean (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
- pinch of salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
- 20 g (2 tablespoons) regular flour
- 20 g (2 tablespoons) corn starch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Almond creme (Crème d’amande):
- 120 g (1/2 cup) of crème pâtissière (room temperature)
- 120 g (3/4 cup) almond powder
- 100 g (2/3 cup) powered sugar
- 80 g (1/4 cup) butter
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 5 to 6 nectarines, cut into thin slices (or peaches, apricots, plums or figs and there why not a handful blueberries thrown on top!)
- 1 tablespoon of melted butter
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- In a large bowl add the flour, sugar and salt and stir together to combine. Make a well in the middle and add the butter. Using your finger tips, gently work the butter into the flour until it resembles large crumbs or flakes. (this pastry, using soft butter, needs to made by hand, pulsing the flour and soft butter in a food processor will over process the dough). Make another well in the flour butter mixture and add the egg yolk and half the water. Again, using just your finger tips, gently mix the wet ingredients into the flour until you can pat it into a ball. (add more water only as needed - you want the ball to barely hold together, you want it to be scraggly, not be a sticky, wet, mass of dough) Dust the ball of dough with a small amount of flour and press it into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and put in the refrigerator to rest and firm up for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days. (if the pastry has been in the refrigerator for more than a couple of hours, take it out and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes to soften and become pliable before rolling it out.)
- While the dough is resting make the pastry cream:
- Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the milk. Add the salt, place over medium-high, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour and sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat with a mixer until smooth, thickened and whitened in color, about three minutes.
- When the milk is ready, remove from heat and slowly pour about one-third of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Gradually add the rest. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the pot and return the pot to the stove over medium high heat. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens. Continue cooking for at least 2 minutes, stirring vigorously, so that the flour and cornstarch cooks - you want the mixture to come just to the point of boiling, but not boil rapidly, as this would curdle the eggs. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a bowl. Whisk in the butter. Allow the cream to cool, and stirring occasionally. If making the cream in advance, cover the bowl with plastic wrap pressing the wrap directly onto the surface. This keeps a skin from forming on the top of the cream. The cream will keep for 5 days, well covered, in the refrigerator.
- Make almond cream:
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and add 120 g (1/2 cup) of cooled almond cream and beat until smooth.
- To assemble the tart:
- Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F).
- Roll out the pastry dough between two sheets of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour into a large square, rectangle or circle about 3 mm (1/8th inch) thick. (part of the beauty of a rustic galette is that you don’t need to worry to much about the shape!) Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and transfer the dough, with the bottom piece of the parchment paper still intact, onto a baking sheet.
- Spread the almond cream on the rolled out pastry in a thick layer, leaving about a 3 1/2 cm( 1 1/2 inch) boarder around all the sides. Cover the filling with the fruit slices in a pretty, neat, single layer spoke pattern or pile it on haphazardly - then fold up the edges of the pastry encompassing some of the fruit. Brush the entire tart dough with melted butter, (this keeps the fruit from looking dry!) then sprinkle both fruit and pastry generously with sugar. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until the crust is brown and the almond cream has puffed up, surrounded the fruit and has coloured as well.
- Let the tart cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes, then slice and serve as is or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. (a slice of cold galette is particularly good as breakfast with a cup of coffee!)