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Italian Prune Galette

Originally posted on October 3, 2014
in Galettes, Italian prunes, Pies and Tarts, Recipes

Last week I was thrilled to find Italian prunes at our farmers’ market, and I thought I’d repost my recipe for baking them in a galette. I’d always called these succulent fall fruits Italian Prune Plums. But I now have learned, thanks to my friend, John Keegan, that I have been wrong. Here’s what he wrote when I made my original post on October 14, 2013.

Thought you would like to know. While many prunes are dried plums, the Italian prune (also known as Italian prune plums) is a prune and not a plum. The name was changed in order for younger people to like the fruit. So the Italian prune was dried into a prune, however it started out a fresh prune not a fresh plum.

So there you have it. The galette–a rustic French creation–is one of the best ways to bake these prunes. Here’s the recipe. The photos in the Rustic Italian Plum Galette post will lead you to a delicious result. (You may have to click on the title of the post to open it). The window of availability for these fruits is quite short, so don’t dawdle. Make it now!

Here are a few photos to guide you.

The galette pastry rolled out. Notice the large butter flakes. They’ll create a very flaky crust.

Once you’ve rolled the pastry and set it on a 14-inch pizza pan, sprinkle on the walnut base in a 10- to 11-inch circle. The nut base absorbs the juices from the plums and keeps the galette crisp.

Arrange pitted plum halves cut side down on the nut base.

Sprinkle sugar over the plums and dot the plums with butter.

Bring up the edges of pastry to partially cover the outer ring of plums and press the pastry firmly onto the plums. Sprinkle the edge of pastry with a bit more sugar to give the galette an extra bit of crustiness. The galette is ready to bake.

And here’s the baked galette cooling on a wire rack.

A tight shot of the galette pastry edge. The pastry has that special “I’m crisp” look.

Plum Galette

 

You can make the pastry hours or even a day or two ahead and refrigerate it. It must be cold when you roll it out. The nut and flour base may also be made ahead. If you have a baking stone, this is a good time to use it. You’ll need a 14-inch pizza pan or large rimmed baking sheet for baking the galette.

 

Pastry

 

1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably organic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

 

Ground Almond Base

 

1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Plum Filling

 

1 1/4 pounds (about 18) Italian prune plums, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

To make the pastry, either weigh the flour or measure it by dipping a dry measuring cup into the flour container, filling it to overflowing, and sweeping off the excess with a straight edge. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Slice the cold butter and add to the bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into smaller pieces, about ½ inch or so. Then reach into the bowl, and with your fingertips, rapidly press and flatten the butter pieces into flakes. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t soften and don’t be concerned about flattening every piece of butter. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir and toss with a fork to combine. Stir just until the dough comes together in one mass. If the dough seems dry, add only enough additional water to make it cohere. Shape the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disc—you’ll see large flakes of butter in the dough—and enclose with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm the dough.

 

To make the ground almond base, process the almonds, flour, sugar, and cinnamon with a food processor for a few seconds until the nuts are finely ground.

 

If you have a baking stone, set it on the center shelf of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you don’t have a baking stone, just preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 

To shape the galette, roll the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface into a very thin, roughly shaped circle, 14 inches in diameter. If the dough is very firm, let it sit at room temperature about 10 minutes or tap the pastry all over with the rolling pin to flatten it a bit, then roll it out. You may not think the dough will be able to become 14 inches in diameter, but it will. (If the dough feels too soft, fold it in half, transfer it to the pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet, unfold it, and refrigerate a few minutes.) Do not be concerned about rough edges of dough or if your circle is perfect. This is rustic. What’s important is that the dough is thin, thin, thin. The butter flakes melt during baking and the pockets of air that are formed make the pastry flaky.

 

Transfer the dough to the pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the ground almonds and flour onto the center of the dough and distribute with your fingers into a thin powdery circle 10 to 11 inches in diameter.

 

Arrange plum halves cut side down in concentric circles on the nut layer. Scatter the cold butter bits over the fruit, drizzle with lemon juice, and sprinkle evenly with 6 to 7 tablespoons of the sugar. Bring up edges of the pastry to cover the outer edge of peaches and press gently to adhere. Brush the pastry with water and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

 

Put the galette into the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or maybe even longer, until the plum juices bubble thickly, like a syrup, and the pastry is well-browned with random darker spots. The sugar must be well caramelized.

 

Cool the galette on its pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer with a wide metal spatula to a wire cooling rack. Sometimes juices leak onto the pan during baking causing the galette to stick, so loosen the galette carefully to avoid tearing the pastry.

 

The galette is best when very fresh. Serve it plain or with crème anglaise. Note: I’ve successfully reheated leftover galette the next morning in a preheated 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.

 

Makes 8 servings

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