Thursday, 28 August 2008

Yorkshire plum galette

Munchkin Gramps and Grandma S have a plum tree in their garden, which to be honest, I've never paid much attention to in the past. In recent years I have become a fruit-forager of the highest order though, and so as soon as we pulled up their drive last weekend I had already noted the abundance of plums just waiting for someone to come along with a basket. Sometimes that tree crops well and sometimes it doesn't apparently, but this has been s a good year, and so Grandma S was happy to let me take a few. I like eating fruit on its own best, but The Scientist is a confirmed fan of fruit in desserts, and so with the plums rapidly approaching over-ripeness, we both got to satisfy our dessert leanings.

It's one of the happy symbioses of our house that I like baking fruity desserts as much as The Scientist likes eating them, and I just take a small tasting tithe - which frankly doesn't put much of a dent in the dessert as I always over-estimate how much I'm making. This time he chose a pie and I decided to take the opportunity to make a dessert I've had my eye on for ages but have never got round to. It's a blackberry galette in Nigella's Domestic Goddess, and I've always been taken by the picture which looks wonderfully rustic and golden. Or, as Nigella describes it, 'a free-form pizza-like tart'. The dough has cornmeal in it which is apparently good for soaking up the juices, and the plums were so juicy that I thought that might be a particularly good thing. I like making pastry - I have colder hands than anyone I know so I feel I ought to be good at it - and this was very straightforward - just a bit of mixing and rubbing in (or a few blitzes in the food processor but that would take all the use out of my perpetually freezing hands). The original recipe adds creme fraiche to the blackberries but I just sliced my fruit on to the pastry disc, scattered some sugar and cinnamon over the top, and baked it as it was.

It looked nice (the pictures didn't come out too well) though the pastry didn't blow me away. I'm not much of a pastry fan though, and The Scientist liked it. He didn't notice the cornmeal but perhaps that was because of all the cream he'd doused it in! I thought it did give the pastry an interesting texture and flavour, so if pastry's your thing then I'd go for it. Anyway, I was pleased I'd finally made it, and the pie-eater in the house said he'd happily have it again, so I guess that's chalked up as a success. I went blackberrying picking in the lane near our house last night (as I say - always on the look out for fruit foraging opportunities!) so I may try it again in all its original Nigella glory. If the berries last that long :)

Plum galette (based on Nigella's blackberry galette from Domestic Goddess)

Made one smallish pie (two Scientists; possibly half a Michael Phelps)

60g plain flour
30g polenta/fine cornmeal
1 scant tbsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
50g cold butter
15g (1 tbsp) vegetable shortening
1-3 tbsp ice water, or enough to bind [I found that 1 was more than enough]

about 5 or 6 ripe plums
approx 3 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste
about 1 tbsp cinnamon, or to taste

To make the pastry, mix together the dry ingredients, then add the butter and shortening, and rub in until it resembles breadcrumbs (or use a processor). Add enough water to form a dough. Form it into a ball, wrap in plastic and put in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Roll the pastry out into a rough circle, transfer to a lined baking sheet, and scatter sliced plums on to the top. I cut them over the pastry to catch the juices as well. Leave a good margin round the edge. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, then dampen the edges of the pastry with water, and roll them over to make a nice rustic looking edge. Put in the oven for about 20 mins or until pastry is cooked and golden.


Johanna said...

Looks lovely - but how odd that you like making fruit desserts and pastry but not eating them! I had started making more fruit desserts for a while because it is the only way E eats fruit (and they remind me of my mum's desserts).

I do have a question about your title - it is yorkshire plum galette because of the location of the tree, the type of plums or the type of galette? just curious!

Lysy said...

Good question! It's just the location of the tree - it occurred to me that I don't know what type of plums they are. I'll have to ask. I think galettes are a French think, though I'm sure more elegant than my version!

I think I like making fruit desserts because they're so nice and comforting to do - and I do make an exception for a nice crumble or fruity cake. Pastry just doesn't excite me (the eating of it - making it's lots of fun!). Perhaps it's because you so often get served a savoury pie as a veggie option and I got bored?

Squishy said...

Your blog was posted at the perfect time! I am Squishy, otherwise known as Skyhammer's Sweetheart. Recently, the Norse God was blessed with a goodly amount of plums. By which I mean, of course, that a work friend has a plum tree and more plums than he knew what to do with so the Norse God offered to put some of his plums to good use. Now, the plums were definitely on the ripe side. Maybe even on the wrong side of ripe. And there were loads of them, so when I read your post I thought, aha! Problem solved. And so commenced plum dessert making. Never having done it before, I thought I'd make it even more difficult by using a different crust. I had previously made a "pizza" from a recipe book called The Thrive Diet by a local vegan triathlete and the crust was delicious and super-easy to make (yeast-free!). I tried altering the spices added to the crust mix and cut the plums on top as your recipe dictated, and baked it. The first batch was pretty tasty although some of the crust was mushy from the plum juice. In making the second batch, I brilliantly decided to add more plums to the topping with the disastrous result that the crust was so mushy that it was pretty much inedible. Sigh. I sure had fun making it though!

I'd like to include the "pizza" recipe from The Thrive Diet here for your eating pleasure, and also let you know that I enjoy your blog very much.

Pizza Procedure: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a food processor, process all crust ingredients until mixture starts to ball up. Lightly oil the baking tray with coconut oil. Spread mixture on tray to about 1/4 inch thick. Spread your choice of tomato sauce on then add toppings. Bake for 45 mins. (This will vary slightly depending on the moisture content of the veg and the desired crispness of the pizza.)

Chickpea Curry Pizza

2 cups ground sunflower seeds
1 cup cooked or sprouted chickpeas
1/4 cup coconut oil or hemp oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
Sea salt to taste

1/2 medium sweet potato, finely sliced or grated
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup sunflower seed sprouts

Lysy said...

Yay Squishy! I'm so pleased to meet you, and delighted that the plum recipe was useful. Perhaps adding some cornmeal to your base might help to soak up some juices. I have some other plum recipes too - I will email them to the Norse God in case you still have a fruit surfeit!

Your recipe looks fantastic and contains loads of my favourite ingredients - can't wait to try it!