Summer, that lovely time around here when I feel alive and awake. The long days keep me energetic and active. The bright daylight awakens my soul. I plan my days outdoors as much as possible. I try to eat the freshest possible local fruits and vegetables whenever I can, before I’m again forced to eat something grown in California which traveled across the country half ripe based on an approximation that it would reach stores in some poor apology of ripeness. I go to farmers markets, sit outside at restaurants and ride my bike with my bike-crazy husband. There is nothing more invigorating than being in the sun.
Almost every week, I make a trip to the local orchard and pick my own fruit. Its great fun, and the fruits and berries are delicious. I buy my peaches either from there or from the local farm stands. The golden peaches ooze with juiciness and show off their bright orange flesh when in season and perfectly ripe. Both Dr. Sen and I are big fans of cooked peaches (even more than the uncooked ones). Even more so than other fruits, peaches taste doubly delicious when cooked. If you are not in a mood to prepare an elaborate dessert, just smear the pan with butter and roast the peaches with a little bit of brown sugar (or without) until caramelized. Eat them with vanilla ice cream. If you are in a mood to make something little elaborate, make a galette. The rustic galette is pretty idiot-proof. Being an idiot when it comes to baking, it was pretty easy for me. It needs very few ingredients and taste delicious. The best part is, you can tweak it according to your taste. Don’t like peaches? Add blueberries, raspberries, apples, plums or pears. Don’t like saffron? Use vanilla essence instead. Don’t like cream? Just skip it. It’s very versatile and the margin for error is very forgiving.
Recipe: (Inspired from Kulsum’s post)
Puff pastry dough: one sheet (store bought, frozen), thawed according to package instruction
Ripe peaches: three medium to large
Brown sugar: two table spoon or more if the peaches aren’t sweet enough
Ricotta cheese: 1/3 cup
Pistachio-almond: soaked and then chopped finely, 1/3 cup (you can use any other nuts)
Saffron: if using good quality saffron, then one tiny pinch (may be three-four strands)
One egg/butter melted 2 tbsp.
Flour to dust the parchment paper
Milk: 2 tbsp.
Cardamom: 2 pods, shell removed and seeds ground.
- Soak the saffron in one-two tablespoon warm milk for 15-20 minutes.
- Slice the peaches evenly into thin slices and then mix with the sugar. Keep them refrigerated for ½ hour-1 hour.
- Sprinkle all-purpose flour on the parchment paper and roll out the pastry sheet. Mine fell apart while unfolding and I had to knead it again a bit and then I rolled it out to ¼” thickness.
- Put the sheet with the parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Mix the saffron and the cardamom powder
with the cream very well.
- Spread the cheese on the pastry sheet leaving one inch border space.
- Layer the peaches on the cream in alternate fashion (shown in the picture)
- Fold the sides leaving most of the peaches uncovered.
- Keep the entire thing in the fridge for an hour or two (overnight works well too) until chilled.
- Preheat the oven to 375-400C.
- Beat the egg or use the butter.
- Take the galette out of the fridge, sprinkle the nuts on it, brush either a little bit of beaten egg or melted butter on the sheet (the border only) and then bake it for 45-an hour and 15 minutes. The time will vary from oven to oven. You will know it’s done when the pastry sheet will be golden brown in color.
- I usually take it out after 40 minutes and brush it with egg once more.
- Let it cool on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes.
- Serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
If you want to eat it by itself, add two tablespoon of sugar in the cheese