As is probably evident by now, I adore farmers markets. But I’m afraid the feeling isn’t always mutual. You see, I’m not exactly a farmers market vendor’s dream customer. I ooh and ah at the produce, of course, but I linger. I brush my finger against the mound of heirloom tomatoes. I squeeze peaches. I take pictures — way too many pictures. I stare glassy-eyed at the explosion of colors until another (paying) customer has to politely ask me to step aside so they can make a purchase. And I’m a sucker for samples. And yet, despite my deep adoration of the market, I usually come away with only one or two carefully selected items — a pint of blueberries, a single red onion, maybe an apple to eat along the way.
However, on a trip to the Fulton Street Market a couple of weeks ago, the story was quite different. I loaded up bags of fruits and veggies, and, as a happy consequence, didn’t feel quite so bad about snapping a million photos. The special occasion? My 23rd birthday. Truly, I can think of no greater birthday treat than a spending spree at the farmers market, can you?
My most attractive purchase of the morning was arguably a pound of Michigan apricots (pictured above). These apricots glowed, as if each one were a miniature sun pulsating with an inner light. I think of apricots as the under-appreciated runt of the stone fruit family, too often overshadowed by the other late-summer stars like peaches, plums and even nectarines. But to me, these little guys could not have been more perfect for the birthday dessert I had in mind.
Allow me to present: the apricot cherry galette.
A galette, in case you didn’t know, is a fancy-sounding French word for a rustic tart. Think of a pie baked without a pie pan, and you’ve got a galette. If you prefer, feel free to use the equally-fancy-sounding Italian word, crostata. But no matter what you choose to call it, do try to make one before the summer is out. It’s a simple yet impressive, flaky, vibrant, juicy jubilee of summer, of markets, of birthdays — of whatever’s good in your life that you feel deserves a tasty celebration.
apricot cherry galette
for the crust
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup cold water
for the filling
1 pound fresh apricots (about 7-8 large apricots)
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
juice of 1 lemon
1 egg for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Let’s commence with the crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chopped up bits of cold butter. Thoroughly work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until each butter chunk is coated.
Slowly add the cold water to the flour and butter mixture. Mix gently with a fork or your fingers until the dough just comes together. Be careful not to overmix!
Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead gently — flattening the dough with the heel of your hand and folding it back onto itself — until you form a soft, not-too-sticky sphere. If you’re doing it right, you should see little flecks of butter in the dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Fruit time. Wash the apricots and cherries. Take a minute to appreciate how pretty these two colors look next to each other. Maybe snap a photo. Or two.
Slice the apricots into thin wedges and halve and pit the cherries. This process is a juicy, time-consuming mess, but power through (eat a few cherries to keep up your strength) because the end result is worth it.
In a mixing bowl, combine fruit with sugar and flour. Squeeze in your lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Prepare your rolling surface with a well-floured piece of parchment paper. When the dough has been sufficiently chilled, plunk the dough in the middle of the paper and start rolling. You want a round-ish disc of dough that’s about a foot in diameter and about 1/8 of an inch in thickness.
Scoop the fruit onto the middle of the dough, leaving about two inches around the perimeter. Try to avoid too much excess juice (I, obviously, did not follow my own advice). Carefully fold the edges of the dough up and over the fruit, forming a nice, rustic-looking crust. Lightly coat the crust with an egg wash (white of one egg + one or two tablespoons of water) and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar. Finally, transfer the whole shebang, parchment paper and all, onto a baking sheet.
Let this baby cook for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Don’t worry if a lot of the juice seeps out of your galette and congeals into a weird, brown (but sweet-smelling) film on the parchment paper — mine did that, too. Not a problem.
Let cool before serving. I don’t think I need to tell you how divine this tastes when paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This galette is summer at its very best, folks: a simple buttery crust framing the finest flavors of the season, baked with just enough extra sweetness to make the fruits sing. And if apricots and cherries don’t pique your interest, try experimenting! Perhaps a peach? A plum? A pear? Only that blue, cloudless, summer sky is the limit.