17 August 2015

A lucky one

Saturday evening, 9-ish, after a late breakfast, a late lunch, a lot of administrative work, and slice of afternoon dessert (see above), we find ourselves at the corner Vietnamese restaurant (cuz if you are marrying a 6'2 ft man there will never be a late lunch + dessert that also suffices as dinner) : )  

Everything is the same about this place, always. I will order grilled wild shrimps, Ed beef or pork and we will never have to wait. There are people there but not too many. The family running it available but not intrusive, the dishes authentic but not trendy, fresh but not farm-y. The one minute walk there, often an extension of a concentrated day not needing any more accoutrements but the mint leaf garnishes. 

On this visit Ed ordered a good Belgian beer which was, within minutes, spilled as our waiter set down dishes. With karate-like reflexes, it was propped back up, the wetness graciously blotted with towels. Not much was lost but a new bottle was brought. A lucky one, perhaps. And just as I thought I'd want more later, my Sauvignon Blanc was, too, refilled with the last of the bottle. Did they know we'd be married in a week, I wondered?

It is a good life lesson to aim to put in something extra. I remind myself this daily when the option to disengage comes up, the opportunity to give less, to ask for less, to shy away, to be sharp. I'm not saying it's always easy, but why not aim to rise to the occasion? When it comes to Rose Levy Berenbaum and pastry, she's an occasion, and if you're already following her, you are on the road to baking better, and that in itself is rewarding.

Along the way, of making this peach galette, there will be notes and tricks that seem out of the way, automatic no's, and your experience will totally depend upon what you know to be  most important...the non-negotiables. 

Her method with peaches here is non-negotiable, one I will always come back to. And her cream cheese dough? Excellent--even though I did not use bleached AP flour nor spoon the mixture into a plastic bag and knead it from the outside or chill the bowl for 30 minutes as she originally suggests, I just hand-made the dough per usual and chilled it. 

Someday, I will follow her to a T, I fantasize, but for now I am just happy she gets me to pursue something worthwhile. 

Summer Peach Galette
Adapted from Rose
Note: After chilling dough, I sliced the disc in about half, and used the slightly larger one here, and froze the smaller one for future use. I cut the below peach filling in half. You can either get one large tart out of this or two smaller ones or one smaller one using half the dough and half the filling. 

Cream Cheese Dough (for a large galette or 2 smaller galettes)

6 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter, cubed small
1 cup / 125 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 cup /2 oz cream cheese, cold
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp ice water

Filling (for a large galette or 2 smaller ones)

1.5 lb/~20 oz/~3 cups (about 4 medium) peaches, peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup/~60 grams sugar
pinch salt
1/8 tsp almond extract 
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp cornstarch

Milk + Turbinado for brushing

Make Dough: Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder well. Add the cream cheese and work in with your hands to form a coarse meal. Add the butter cubes, pressing with a snapping motion so no pieces larger than a pea remain. Use your palm to flatten some of the butter shards, too, in the bowl. Now mix the water and vinegar together and sprinkle over. Toss with a silicon spatula to moisten, then press into a rough ball. Place a piece of plastic on a counter and dump the dough onto it, pushing it together lightly and using the wrap to press into a disk. Refrigerate at least an hour, up to 2 days or freeze a month. 

Filling: Toss peaches with lemon juice and sugar and allow to sit for 30 min-1 hr. Set a fine mesh strainer over a wide measuring cup or bowl and carefully pour peaches over, letting the juice drip for a few minutes. Pour the juice mixture (there should be ~1/2 c ) into a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Swirl but don't stir the mixture until it is reduced by half and lightly caramelized. Remove from heat and toss with the peaches in a bowl. Add the almond extract and cornstarch and toss to coat until no traces remain

Roll dough out to ~12 inch round on a lightly floured parchment surface, keeping it moving. Transfer parchment to sheet pan, and if dough has gotten a little soft, stick the tray in the freezer a few minutes. Mound peaches in center and evenly pleat the dough over to cover. Use a bench scraper to release dough from parchment and aid in pleating if necessary. 

Place galette in fridge loosely draped with plastic and preheat oven to 400 for about 15 minutes. Brush edges with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake about 40-45 minutes until bubbly, the peaches tender and the crust a nice golden brown/crisp, rotating tray around 30 min through. Cool completely, a few hours, before cutting. 

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