Friday 31 July 2009

french lemon meringue tart

lemon meringue tart 1

What did you always want to be when you grew up?

Not that I'm, er, looking for ideas, or anything. Various friends have proposed to me that I could work in a bakery, or open my own cake-and-teashop, or generally pipe buttercream for a living... but I've always thought I'd probably get bored (and/or obese) too easily. The truth is, I not-so-secretly want to be a pirate, or possibly a hired assassin.

I also want to be several inches taller and married to Johnny Depp, but it turns out we don't always get what we want. Sigh.

lemon meringue tart 3

This lemon meringue tart got me thinking, for several reasons. Firstly; I'm not going to pretend that I'm all experienced with patisserie, because I'm not, but though I know this is by no means perfect and I would probably be laughed out of cookery school -- hooboy, was I proud of it. I've never made a French-style lemon meringue tart before (LM tarts have a lemon cream filling, with a texture which reminded me of swiss meringue buttercream; whereas the more common (to me) LM pies have a lemon filling made with egg yolks and cornflour), and the several components of this are rather intimidating - not to mention all the 'chill overnight' and 'let rest for two hours' type instructions (all of which I entirely disregarded), and the demand for a sugar thermometer (which I similarly ignored, on account of not having one).

Yeah, I really wasn't qualified to make this tart, on reflection.

lemon meringue tart 4

But I'm so glad I did, because as I piped swirls of Italian meringue over the lemon filling (piped being a term used loosely, since I left my piping bags at uni and had to use a plastic sandwich bag from my mother's kitchen drawer... which inevitably burst midway through and forced me to blob the rest of the meringue onto the tart with a teaspoon. But I digress) I really thought that I wouldn't mind a future in this sort of thing. When I realised it had all actually worked, and come together, and I didn't even have to call it 'rustic' for a change... I saw the appeal of a little shop of cakes and patisserie; all neat and pretty and professional.

And then?



lemon meringue tart 5


Maybe I'll be one of those pirates who attack people with blowtorches... and then make creme brulee afterwards. I'm pretty sure there's a job market there.

Lemon Meringue Tart
Adapted from Pierre Herme, via
Tart crust adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Makes enough for one 9-inch tart

I was so proud of how pretty this looked that I've barely even talked about the taste - but for the record, this kicks the arse of any lemon meringue 'pie' I've eaten previously; turns out the french-style lemon cream is absolutely the way to go. This is impossibly light, crisp and delicate, and was devoured (at a family gathering; I'm a show-off) to rave reviews. For all the effort, this is definitely my go-to recipe; it's just the best there is.

For pastry:
210g (1 1/2c.)
plain flour
icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
(1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for (ideally) about 2 hours before rolling.

2. To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch removable bottom tart tin. Roll out chilled dough on floured surface to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Turn dough into case and aeal any cracks . Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

4. To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 190C. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. (To partially bake it, only an additional 5 minutes is needed.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.

for the lemon cream:
200 (1c. + 2 tbsp )
finely grated zest of 3 lemons - I used a microplane zester for this, because apparently I'm a total idiot. I lost hours of my life straining big pieces of zest from my cream; don't be like me. Use a fine zester.
4 large eggs
130ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
(from 4-5 lemons)
300g (10 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into big chunks

(This amount of filling is enough for 1 8" tart + 4 3" tartlets; I just made one 9" tart and had a little filling leftover - which worked for me cause I lost some when straining, sigh.)

1. First thing: fill the sink with 3-4cm of cold water. Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl (I use the bowl of my kitchenaid stand mixer) that can be set over a pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

2. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and start stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 85°C (ahem), stirring constantly – be prepared, as it can take quite a lot of time. As soon as it reaches 85°C, remove the cream from the heat and place the bowl into the sink and allow to cool down to 60°C. Gradually incorporate the butter, whisking after each addition (at this point, I used my kitchenaid fitted with the whisk, hence the use of the kitchenaid bowl…).

3. When all the butter as been used, blend the cream with a hand-held blender for 8 minutes. It might sound long, but will ensure a too-smooth-to-be-true lemon cream. Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of cling film against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate overnight. And again I say, ahem.

4. The next day (or later, as the cream can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days), whisk the cream to loosen it and pipe it into the tart shell and refrigerate for at least an hour before starting with the meringue. Oh, I actually did this one!

for the Italian meringue:
2 egg whites
(2 tbsp)
caster sugar
(2 oz)
(5 1/2 oz) sugar

Make the meringue just a little before you serve to avoid weeping. I mean the meringue weeping, not you. Well, maybe you.

1. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt at slow speed until the foam throughout, add the sugar, gradually increase the speed to fast, and beat to soft peaks. Turn the machine to slow as you complete the sugar syrup.Bring the sugar and water to 115°C. Beating the egg whites at moderate speed, pour the boiling syrup into them. Increase the speed to high, and beat until the bowl is no longer hot (it should still feel slightly warm).

2. Pipe the meringue onto the lemon cream and caramelise using a blow torch.

lemon meringue tart 6

Friday 24 July 2009

asparagus & potato tart

asparagus & potato tart 1

I'm not a big watcher of food programmes on TV. I'm not sure why this is - I suppose a contributing factor is having Not Had A Telly for the past year at uni, but I was baking last night when Nigella Express came on BBC2, and I definitely wasn't a fan ... if by 'not a fan' you mean 'kind of wanted to give her a good shake', which I do. It was a bit of a crushing blow, considering I love all of her recipes and the way she writes - maybe I just don't like seeing people for real? Maybe it's a little too close to actual human contact for comfort? Maybe I should be locked up; but let's move on.

I was as surprised as anyone to find myself really enjoying Jamie At Home, then - you know; Jamie Oliver grows courgettes and potatoes and things, pours copious amounts of olive oil over everything, gets nice and grubby, and then serves an amazingly fresh, simple dish at the end of it. I'm good at maybe two of those things (read: consuming olive oil and getting dirty fingernails) so I feel a bit of an affinity for him.

asparagus & potato tart 2

However, Jamie At Home was something I could only watch on internet catch-up while I was at uni, which meant more often than not I'd be watching Jamie grilling seafood and tossing it with chopped red chilli and lemon juice on a bed of courgette ribbons, while I'd be sat at my desk eating cuppasoup, or - at best - 'insert food item here' on toast. (Under such depressing circumstances, you can see why I wasn't blogging.)

To come home and be allowed all the chopped red chilli and lemon juice I could get my hands on was a revelation (specifically; not to eat red chilli and lemon juice on their own), but it was this asparagus & potato tart that was the biggest success with my family; something I'd seen Jamie make on the programme weeks before that had made me sigh dramatically -'WILL I EVER SEE ASPARAGUS AGAIN?', type thing.

The fun irony of this story is that, since I made this, asparagus season has kind of ended.

asparagus & potato tart 3

I could say I'm doing this to you because I care, but that would be a lie. I'm doing this to you because I want you to feel my pain.

And also because this tart is delicious.

And also because I'm well brought up and am going to give you other options to use this base for. As long as you tell my mum what a nice girl I am.

asparagus & potato tart 4

Asparagus & Potato Tart

Adapted from Jamie At Home

Jamie's version of this used filo pastry and double cream, but since it's the eggs that set tarts like this, I used milk as it's what we had in. Obviously both work, but cream is richer if you're serving this for a particular occassion. I also used a fair bit less butter and cheese than he suggested; not consciously, just because I didn't feel we needed quite so much - use your own judgement.

British asparagus season is shorter than my tolerance for most TV chefs, but it's the mashed potato base of this that's so different, and almost anything could replace the aspargus. My little sister's optimistic suggestion (I don't know why I even asked) was 'SAUSAGES': I rolled my eyes, but on reflection a 'bangers & mash' tart is quite a cute idea.

500g (1lb 2oz) potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
sea salt
& freshly ground black pepper
500g asparagus spears, woody ends removed
about 400g
(8oz) shortcrust pastry (or 2oog filo, Jamie's way, but he uses an extra ton of butter for this)
100g (3oz)
freshly grated Lancashire cheese
(3 oz)
freshly grated Cheddar cheese
3 large eggs
1 x 284ml pot
(1 1/4c.)
double cream (I used milk)
1/4 of a nutmeg
a good blob of melted butter

1. Put the potatoes in a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 15 mins. Meanwhile blanch the asparagus in a separate pan of salted boiling water for 4 mins, and drain in a colander.

2. Preheat oven to 190C (375F) and prepare an ovenproof dish (Jamie helpfully says, 'I've used many different shapes and sizes' - men. I think a 9x13" halfroaster would be the perfect size; I made one 8x11" tart and one individual one with this quantity). Roll out shortcrust pastry into a large rectangle on a floured surface and line your tart dish with it.

-- Have you ever used the trick of rolling out pastry between floured sheets of clingfilm (plastic wrap)? I would explain further, but that's basically all there is to it. I did it for the first time making this tart, and it's changed my life, to exaggerate but a little. Yet I digress --

Prick the bottom of your pastry case a few times with a fork, and if your life is empty and you don't have an Aga, cover it with a layer of baking parchment and parbake it for five minutes or so.

3. When the potatoes are done, mash them with the cheeses. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and cream/milk and stir into the cheesy mashed potato. Grate in the nutmeg, season well with pepper (seasoning is key in this tart) and mixed together. Spread the mash over the pastry, then take the blanched asparagus and line it up across the filling, making sure you cover it all. Brush all over with the melted butter and put in the oven for about 20 mins, or until golden. Allow to rest 10 mins before serving alongside some fresh salad.

asparagus & potato tart 6

Saturday 18 July 2009

strawberry streusel cake

strawberry streusel cake

You want to know what the saddest thing in the world is?

Of course you do. Everyone wants a bit of misery on a Saturday morning.

The saddest thing in the world is when you make a cake, and it's a really, really good cake (no, bear with me). And you're eating this cake, and you're thinking, 'this wasn't really the cake I had in mind', but it's nothing against the cake itself, you just sort of hoped it would be different. And you do like this cake, you really do, but you spend every mouthful thinking of the cake it could have been, and before you know it all the cake is gone, and you never really appreciated it, cause you were always thinking of something else.

Oh, yeah- I mean, sure you could apply that story to like, relationships, and life and so on. But I'm pretty much just talking about cake.

I really like cake.

So I made another one. A better one. The one I'd wanted all along.

tub of strawberries

Alright, so as delicious as Joy's strawberry streusel cake was, it wasn't the one I had in the back of my mind: you know, the one with great crumb boulders tumbled over the top, and a ribbon of strawberry filling baked through a thick, moist yellow cake. My streusel kind of got engulfed by the rising cake itself, dragged beneath the surface Atlantis-style, and my strawberries turned to chunks; and no one complained, but any excuse for another delicious attempt, you know?

Not to mention that we have so much fresh fruit in our house at the moment that I'm constantly engaged in a dramatic race-against-time to eat it before it turns to goo; as soon as I finish this post I'm going to go battle the forces of decomposition in aid of a few punnets of blueberries and some brown bananas. As soon as I bake something into safety, my mother buys armfuls more - the constant pressure! The constant lining of baking tins! I think my mum is doing this on purpose.

This really is a post full of woe, isn't it? Oh, the trouble I endure.

strawberry streusel cakestrawberry streusel cake, cutstrawberry streusel cakestrawberry streusel cake, pieces

Strawberry Streusel Cake

Happy Love Strawberry

I turned to about a hundred different sources for this, using Joy's cake as inspiration but turning away from her recipe. This is what I had in mind: heaps of streusel topping steals the show, undercut by a generous swathe of sweet strawberry filling. You may need to bake it for a little longer; I needed to cover it with foil and give it another 15 minutes, but I later realised this was because the Aga was running cool - so use your own judgement.

Preheat oven to 180°C with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9" cake tin. Line bottom with parchment paper.

For the crumbs:
40g (1/3 c.) dark brown sugar
60g (1/3 c.) caster sugar
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp salt
120g (1 stick) butter, melted
250g (1 3/4 c.) plain flour

To make crumbs: in a large bowl, whisk sugars, lemon zest and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

Strawberry filling:
about 150g (1 heaping c.) sliced strawberries
60g (1/3 c.) sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp water

Combine strawberries, sugar, water and cornflour in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and strawberries are soft and somewhat broken down. Set aside to cool.

For the cake:
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g (1 c.) sugar
280g (2 c.) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120g (1 stick) butter
2 large eggs
120ml (1/2 c.) sour cream

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and sour cream alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.

Spread most of batter in pan, then spoon strawberry filling over it. Spoon several small tsps of the remaining batter over the top of the strawberries and smooth them with as gentle of a hand as possible. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs. Sprinkle over cake.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted into cake (not into filling) comes out clean, 45-50mins (mine took a little over an hour as the Aga was running cool). Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up.

strawberry streusel cake, square

Monday 13 July 2009

peanut butter blondies

peanut butter blondies

I try to be a good person.

I try to blog recipes that I've at least adapted from the original source, rather than blindly followed. I try to be original, rather than reproducing pretty much everything ever posted on Smitten Kitchen. I try to eat healthily (um, relatively. Fresh fruit cancels out sugar, right? I mean, that's science, yeah?) (if not, then what is the point of science?).

All my efforts seem to fail in the face of peanut butter/chocolate recipes.

peanut butter blondie (nom)

I mean, how do you improve on something like this? Sure, you could just stir a load of chocolate and peanut butter together in a bowl and just hand it to me (oh wait, that's basically what this recipe does), but let's keep some semblance of class going on here.

Only a semblance. I wasn't going to tell you, but I had to edit a dog hair out of one of these pictures in photoshop.

(The friends who helped me eat these on Friday are now going 'hccaaaakk' and clutching their thoats.)

(Only one dog hair! It's kind of like Russian Roulette. Most of you are in the clear!)

For the record? These were worth it. When I first tried them I thought they were a little too much - my sweetness tolerance has taken a dive recently - but after being chilled overnight the flavours had melded together into sweet, fudgy squares... not to mention they cut really neatly and looked full-on adorable. I'm such a sucker.

peanut butter blondies

Peanut Butter Blondies
Adapted from Butterwood Desserts, West Falls, New York via Gourmet, October 2007
Found here on Smitten Kitchen.
Further adaptation & metric conversion by Happy Love Strawberry.

These are described as 'brownies', but apparently I think my bar classification system far outstrips the professionals. Brownies mean a chocolate base, okay? Whew, you people are lucky I'm around.

I can't help feeling that these NEED to be made with soft light brown sugar. I don't know why I didn't. Even at the time, as I was stirring in ingredients, I thought, 'I should really use soft light brown sugar for this', and then I totally did not do so. Feel free to do so! But bear in mind I haven't tested them this way yet. Let me know if you do.

For blondies:
230g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

300g (1 3/4 c.) sugar - I'm promoting the untested brown sugar version, here.

240ml (1 c.) crunchy peanut butter
2 large eggs + 1 large yolk

2 tsp pure vanilla extract
(2 c.)
plain (all-purpose) flour
(9oz) milk chocolate, cut into small chunks (or chips)
1/2 tsp salt

For ganache:
250g (9oz) milk chocolate, cut into chunks (or chips)
120ml (1/2 c.) double cream (a litle milk worked for my -admittedly half quantity- version)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Butter a 13x9" baking pan, then line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter parchment.

1. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour until just combined. Mix in chocolate chunks/chips then spread batter in baking pan, smoothing top. (It will be thick, almost like cookie batter.)

2. Bake until blondies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, like I ever cool anything completely.

3. Make ganache: Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate and let mixture stand for one minute. Gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms. Spread ganache on cooled blondies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.

peanut butter blondie tin

Friday 10 July 2009

fruit & veg box review + smoked salmon potato salad.

potato salad

Reason to blog again # 136: Freebies.

...Who am I kidding; that's like reason two. When Abel & Cole (an organic food delivery company) emailed me and asked if I wanted a free produce box in exchange for a review here, I admit my half-arsed relaunch plans kicked up a gear, and - you know the rest. I like vegetables, okay? They keep me honest. Ish.

This particular box of vegetables was delivered by a very nice man called Rob yesterday morning, much in the manner of Father Christmas, if Father Christmas were in the habit of handing out lettuces.

abel & cole - outsidelittle gem lettucebroad beansabel & cole - inside

Considering I hadn't been sure what to expect, I was impressed. The vegetables in particular (spring onions, several courgettes, a rather sweet little cucumber, charmingly grubby new potatoes and young carrots, two very photogenic little gem lettuces, and broad beans in their pods) were seasonal, fresh - the sort of thing you hope, rather than necessarily expect, organic food to be. If these were your vegetables for the week, you'd be pretty well off, in a hearty, 1940s-diet sort of way. They made me want to sit outside and pod broad beans into a vintage colander with a couple of small children - and I loathe small children.

The fruit - an armful of sweet pink apples, a bunch of fairtrade bananas and a little round melon (which my mum ate for breakfast this morning) - were equally in great condition and perfectly ripe, but considering it's the middle of Summer, I felt they could have branched out a bit more on this front. When I think of the fruit in season at the moment - strawberries! raspberries! peaches! - it seems a bit of a crime not to take advantage of them while they're around. Soft fruit isn't ideal for deliveries like this, but having gone to all the trouble of a sturdy box and some very well-thought-out packing, I'm sure they could have slipped a punnet of cherries or blueberries in, for example.

i like dirty vegetables.

Yet it's hard to be critical in the face of dirty vegetables. I like Abel & Cole, and not just because they gave me free stuff (yeah, my allegiance is easy to win). I like their approach, their friendly notes slipped into the box, their ethics. I like their potatoes.

You know what I like to make with potatoes? Potato salad. I never said I was original.

potato salad

My Favourite Potato Salad
Happy Love Strawberry

This salad originally used bacon, and I'm not usually a girl to leave bacon *out* of a dish, but we had smoked salmon in the freezer and the combination of smoked salmon, lemon juice and watercress is too good to ignore. I know, I know, there's a recession on. Feel free to use a packet of bacon instead - 6-8 rashers would do it.

Incidentally: this bowl? Isn't it just crying out for potato salad? Seriously, if someone asked me to design a bowl for potato salad, I would design this one. People ask me to do this sort of thing all the time.

700g/ 1lb 9oz new potatoes
200g smoked salmon
150ml sour cream
2tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
bunch of watercress

1. Lightly scrub the potatoes, getting off any dirt, but don't peel. Unless you have very small ones, I tend to chop mine into halves or quarters. Boil for 10-15 minutes until tender.

2. Mix together the sour cream, olive oil and lemon juice and season, with plenty of black pepper. Remove any tough stalks from the watercress - I tend to rip it up a little at this point, but you can coarsely chop it if you're classy.

3. Drain the potatoes and cool under cold running water in a colander. Cut the smoked salmon into strips with kitchen scissors (if you're using bacon you can either cut it into strips or just tear it up). Toss the potatoes in the dressing and toss in the watercress and salmon. Season to taste before serving.

tatty salad on my fork =]

Abel & Cole website here.
Fruit and veg boxes

Tuesday 7 July 2009

apricot galette with brown sugar cinnamon pastry.

apricot galette with brown sugar cinnamon pastry

Hello, world.

Remember me? I used to write inane, cheerful and cake-centric food blog posts. It made me rather happy, and the people were lovely, and my friends got to eat lots of sugar, and really everyone was a winner. Apart from my mother, who funded my flour rations. But it was kind of for the greater good, and ultimately, she got a cake like this for her birthday, so who was complaining?

But then the metaphorical winter came. And, er, also the literal winter. And also I went to uni and couldn't really afford that much butter - or, I could afford that much butter, but I couldn't afford all the fresh vegetables and salad to balance it out and prevent, you know, heart disease.

But recently, the sun has come back, and I came home; the summer produce has invoked the drive to put fruit in pastry (I can't look at a piece of fruit without wanting to put it in a tart case! I keep snatching nectarines out of my sister's hand and shouting things like, 'PIE!', overzealously. I'm not even very good with pastry); I began to get sickeningly enthusiastic over cooking for my family again; and I developed this strange tic where I compulsively add lemon zest or juice to just about everything.

I thought about going to some sort of support group over the lemon thing, but when I sounded this out to a couple of people I was forced to conclude that no such group exists.

So I came back to blogging. Please be gentle.

apricots & brown sugar

This galette is the perfect example of my newfound pastry-urges (and hello, it contains the phrase brown sugar cinnamon pastry in its name. Surely you understand). This is a terrible thing to admit, but I don't think I'd eaten a fresh apricot before this - dried apricots, apricot yoghurt, apricot squash; but never the real shebang - but even with my lack of experience, I could tell the ones we had were perfect. I didn't even know when apricots were in season - for the record: right now.

Appearance-wise, this tart was a little less than perfect (one reason I like these freeform galettes; you can say you were going for 'rustic'), but I suspect this is due to my resolutely slicing the apricots rather than just halving them (there wasn't really enough room, but I loved the tumbled effect), not to mention that I just couldn't resist that pastry - brown. sugar. cinnamon. - and there was probably supposed to be a good deal more of it than I, um, ended up with. All the same, the galette I ended up with was not a 'serves 8-10' affair; I'd say closer to six, if you don't want to roll your pastry out uncomfortably thin (and it's better if you don't).

apricot galette & vanilla ice cream

Apricot Galette with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pastry

The beauty of this is how incredibly simple it all is; the pastry is made in minutes in the food processor and the fruit is just tossed with brown sugar (and - I couldn't help it - lemon zest, because no one's ever told me that lemon *doesn't* go with apricot...). This means you could use just about any fruit - this is crying out to be made with plums, in that late Summer-early Autumn period around August and September. Do it for me.

Adapted from BBC Good Food magazine.
Serves 6-8.

150g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
2tsp cinnamon
140g cold butter, cut into small chunks
85g light muscavado sugar
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 egg, separated

700g apricots, halved and stoned (I sliced mine)
1 tbsp demerara sugar

1. Oven to 200C. Put the flour & cinnamon in a food processor and add the butter, processing to make fine crumbs. Reserve 2tbsp of the muscavado sugar, then add the remainder and the lemon zest, and briefly mix. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp water, then pulse to make a firm dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.

2. Toss apricots in the reserved muscavado sugar. Roll out pastry on a sheet of baking parchment to a roughly 30cm round. Slide pastry & paper onto a large baking sheet. Cover with apricot halves/slices, cut sides up, and fold the edges of the pastry over the fruit, leaving the centre uncovered.

3. Lightly beat egg white and brush over the pastry. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 30-35 mins until the pastry is crisp and the apricots tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

apricot galette