Paul’s Party, Part 3: Peach-Boysenberry Crostata-Galette

I apologize for the long delay in getting back to the story… Nolan came down with his very first cold last week, and I caught one to commiserate, so we’ve generally been pretty fussy and sleepless around here. For once, the little guy fell asleep on Daddy’s chest instead of mine, so here I am. Anyway, our friends brought over a beautiful cake from Konditorei for the party, but I was feeling like an overachiever and wanted to provide another option, particularly in view of all the luscious fruit that was in season. To keep it relatively simple, I opted for a freeform summer fruit galette, filled with local peaches. Thinking I might combine the peaches with something else, I stopped by one of the berry stands, even though I don’t much care for berries personally. Blackberries are particularly low on my list because I find them to be so gritty and sour, not to mention pernicious and thorny. But somehow, for the sake of politeness, I found myself agreeing to sample all the berries at the stand, and was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I eat my very first non-sour blackberry, but I also realized that boysenberries were in season, and impulsively bought two pints.

I used all my fresh fruit to make a peach-boysenberry crostata following the summer galette recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. (What is the difference, by the way? In some recipes, galettes and crostatas appear to be the same thing, just French and Italian, respectively.) I made the pie crust in my food processor the day before the party, then rolled it and filled it and baked it off the next morning. I’ll definitely use this crust again, as it produced very flaky results and wasn’t too fussy to work with. Wish I could say the same for the peaches, which refused to slip their skins neatly despite two blanchings. The galette was absolutely simple to put together, and looked beautiful until I poured the simple custard over the fruit: it spilled right over the sides of the crust and burned, so it was fortunate I had the foresight to be baking on a silpat. I’m still not quite sure what it added to the finished galette, and it made such a sloppy presentation that I saved it as a tidbit for the guests of honor to sample, rather than putting it out for everyone. It was, however, delicious, both at room temperature and sliced straight from the fridge the next day. Jeremy wasn’t really interested in trying it at first, but said it had really grown on him by the time we finished it off, and I, who love nectarines but not peaches (especially cooked ones), am now very tempted to make the custardy peach pie from the same book next summer.

Since I still had over a pint of boysenberries leftover after the galette, I offered to make Jeremy some boysenberry sorbet or something. He countered with a request for vanilla ice cream with boysenberries swirled through it, so I adapted David Lebovitz’s raspberry swirl ice cream. The recipe calls for slightly mashing and macerating the berries with sugar, then layering it through freshly churned custard-style vanilla ice cream. This sounded good in theory, but when I actually made the ice cream this way, my berries froze up rock solid in the ice cream and made a difficult, if tasty, eating experience, not to mention that the seeds were really bothering me in this application. If I were to do this again, I would either just macerate the berries and spoon them over the ice cream as we served it, or puree and sieve the fruit with a higher sugar content (to keep it from freezing rock solid) before layering it much more thinly in the ice cream, or just stir it right into the custard and lose the swirl aspect. It looked pretty, but just wasn’t worth the effort, and we ended up eating around the berries, which was a terrible waste.

Good for Almost Anything Pie Crust

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour (or add some white whole wheat flour)
2 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 T) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 T very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 C ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening care cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing — shoot for pea-sized bits of fat. While pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water—add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way—then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. You should still see chunks of butter in the dough and that is fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling. (If your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly enough, you might be able to roll the dough immediately.)

To partially or fully bake: Refrigerate the rolled and shaped crust while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dock your crust with a fork, cover with a buttered aluminum foil sheet or parchment, and fill with dried beans or rice or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins. Carefully remove the foil or parchment with the weights and, if the crust has puffed anyway, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, return the pie plate to the oven and bake uncovered for about 8 minutes more, or until the crust is very lightly colored. To fully bake the crust, bake uncovered until golden brown, about another 10 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

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