It’s beginning to be the season for fresh strawberries in California, but not here in New Mexico where we still anticipate at least one more hard freeze. Even though the grocery store versions of strawberries lack the sweetness and flavor of those at San Francisco’s Ferry Building, they have the advantage of being available year around. That is good, because this beautiful dessert is worth the effort any time of year. If you prefer, you can substitute your choice of other berries or any combination of berries.
Although I have tweaked it a bit, the original recipe comes from one of Deborah Madison’s excellent cookbooks: Seasonal Fruit Desserts From Orchard, Farm, and Market (Broadway Books, New York, 2010, p. 119). Deborah Madison now lives in Santa Fe and is viewed as the doyenne of the local food-writing community even though she is not nearly old enough for such a title. She began her cooking career in the Bay Area, working at Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse and then eventually serving as the founding chef of what has been called the first high-end vegetarian restaurant, Greens. The restaurant is still popular and definitely worth a visit at its beautiful site on the edge of San Francisco Bay. Since then her cookbooks, including Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, have won many awards including the James Beard Foundation Book Award.
This dessert fulfills that well-earned reputation.
Just a few minute last-minute pointers: Resist the temptation to overfill the galette with fresh fruit. Make certain that the edges of the dough are well-sealed. Otherwise, it may leak, and you could face a major oven cleanup.
Pastry for Galette
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup pastry flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 5-6 tablespoons ice water
- In a bowl large enough that you will be able to mix the dough with your hands, mix together the flours, salt and sugar.
- With a pastry blender, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. The crust will be flakier if some larger pieces of fat are left unblended.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, and 4 tablespoons ice water. Pour over the dough mixture and work in with your hands.
- Add remaining ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. It should not be sticky. Knead lightly; divide into two equal balls. Pat into discs about an inch thick, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- 4 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ pastry recipe (above)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the halved strawberries, maple syrup, lemon juice, cornstarch, and vanilla extract.
- On a well-floured work surface, roll out one of the chilled discs of dough into a circle at least 13 inches in diameter.
- Arrange the rolled-out crust on a rimmed 13 x 18 inch baking pan lined with parchment. Top the crust with the strawberry mixture, leaving a 2-inch margin around the filling.
- Fold the edge of the crust over the filling so that it drapes over the filling and any folds are sealed.
- Sprinkle the melted butter over the filling.
- Brush the crust with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 425°F for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden.
- Serve warm or cold with heavy cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.