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Plum Galette

Thank God I can bake. Because otherwise, after seeing what I saw, I would have just died.

Since you’re reading a food blog, you must have come across the Chez Panisse 40th anniversary photos. And since you’re alive, you MUST know how to bake. Because otherwise, you couldn’t have survived after seeing what I saw.

More specifically, assuming you did see it, you must have baked this plum galette. And if you hadn’t, then I have to ask: What’s wrong with you?

Seriously, how did you resist the urge? And if you did bake it, you must have felt the need to share it with the rest of the world. So, why haven’t I heard from you?

Anyway. I did bake it and am here to tell.

First, the photos. Todd Selby documented 14 of the gatherings and took photos for T Magazine. Here they are: part 1, 2, 3 and 4. If you are pressed for time, here are Selby’s favorites. In addition to those, here’s David’s post, which includes the photos of the plum galette that inspired this post.

The moment I saw the photo with the brush applying a glaze on top, I knew what the folks over at Chez Panisse were doing. They must have found the most fragrant plums of the season, thought for a second and realized quickly that those plums were destined for a tart – one with as few ingredients as possible. Like two. Plums and sugar.

That is kind of genius. This tart doesn’t really need anything else. See, the plums are very high in pectin and forty five minutes in the oven with sugar means instant jam. Yes, this galette creates its own filling!

Isn’t that something? The sugar draws moisture out of the plums, the heat turns it into a syrup and because the amount of pectin in the plums is so high, the syrup quickly becomes jam.

The same logic applies to the glaze: (Plums + sugar) x heat = Glaze in a second.

OK, maybe not a second, but close. I grated two plums into a pot, poured some sugar on top and seven minutes later, the glaze was ready. It would have been a crime to glaze this beauty with anything else.

So, I assume you’re getting dressed and will start running to the farmers market as soon as you’re finished reading this post.

And if you’re not, what’s wrong with you?

PLUM GALETTE RECIPE

Inspired by a photo from Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Ingredients

For the crust:

Makes two 9-inch galette doughs (you only need one for the recipe – you can either halve the recipe or freeze the second piece)

  • 2 sticks + 1 tablespoon (250 grams) butter, cold
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 2+3/4 cups (385 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) fine sea salt

For the fruit layer and glaze:

  • 8-10 (1,75 pounds/800 grams) red plums, divided
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) + 3 tablespoons (45 grams) sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter, melted

Method

  1. To prepare the crust, cut the butter into small pieces and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  2. Stir vinegar and water in a small bowl and keep in the refrigerator until needed.
  3. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse flour, sugar and salt to mix.
  4. Add chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  5. Gradually add the water & vinegar mixture and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds.
  6. Transfer the dough in a large mixing bowl and gather into a ball. Divide into two, flatten slightly and wrap individually in plastic. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  7. Place one piece of dough between two parchment papers and shape into a flat disk by smashing it with a rolling pin. Roll out into a rough 11-inch circle. Trim the edges to a clean circle with a pizza cutter (or a pairing knife). Transfer the circle to a baking sheet and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  8. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  9. To prepare the fruit layer, reserve two of the plums and cut the rest into two. Remove the pits, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and set aside.
  10. Grate the remaining two plums into a medium pot, add half a cup of the sugar on top and set aside.
  11. Remove the rolled-out galette dough from the freezer and leaving an inch and a half border from the outside, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar on top.
  12. Arrange the plum slices on top in slightly overlapping concentric circles and sprinkle another tablespoon of sugar on top of the plums.
  13. Roll the border of the dough towards the plums, brush the top of the border with melted butter and sprinkle the remaining half tablespoon of sugar on top.
  14. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes.
  15. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Place the pot with the grated plums and sugar over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pass through a fine mesh sieve, discard the pulp and set the glaze aside.
  16. Remove the galette from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Brush the top of the plums with the warm glaze (you will not need all of it) and serve (preferably with a scoop of seven-bean vanilla ice cream) immediately.

Note: This galette is best served warm. If you have leftovers, warm for a few minutes in a 350 F oven before serving. You’ll also have leftover glaze. To apply it the next day, add a tablespoon or two of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.