Galette Gusto!

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I have been really into desserts lately, especially with all the delicious fruits coming into season! Nectarines only come around once a year for a few months so I jumped at the chance to create a simple, rustic, yet impressive dessert for my clients.

Fussy tarts and pies can be such a pain to form and of course as a chef I always want to create that perfect aesthetic, however I discovered that when time is of the essence, something comparable like a galette can impress just as much but with less of a hassle.

A galette is essentially a free form rustic, generally crusty pastry that can be topped with various sweet or savory toppings. I chose to pair fresh nectarines tossed with vanilla bean and citrus to accompany the delicate yet crisp crust made with cornmeal. The result was delicious and it couldn’t be easier….here’s what I did….

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed
2 tbsp. buttermilk
1 egg (for egg wash..this creates that golden brown color)

In a food processor combine all the ingredients, except the egg. Pulse until the butter is small and pea sized, but not too small! (if the butter is fully incorporated it will not achieve the same flaky crispy texture you want)

Pull the dough out of the processor and knead by hand JUST until a ball is formed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the Filling:

6-8 ripe nectarines, sliced
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1 lemon, juiced & zest
2 tbsp. all purpose flour

In a large bowl toss all ingredients until combined and the nectarine slices are evenly coated.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. You may need a bit more flour to prevent sticking for this step…use your noggins people! Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined sheet tray.

Arrange the nectarines in the center of the dough leaving about a two inch border of crust. This will allow us enough room to fold up the edges and prevent any of that yumminess from creeping out. Fold up the edges of the dough and brush only the crust with your left over egg.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. It may take a few minutes longer depending on your oven, but ultimately all you need is for the nectarines to be partially cooked and the dough to be crisp. Check this but CAREFULLY lifting the galette and checking for browning underneath.

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I topped mine with a fresh raspberry whipped cream…It’s super easy….1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 3 tbsp. powdered sugar and 1/4 cup fresh raspberry puree. Sub out the raspberries for any other berry that you have :-)

Spring Fruit Crostata

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Ever crave a pie but reallllly don’t want to go through the trouble of trying to create that perfect pie crust with an uncooperative pie pan? Yeah me too.

A crostata is basically a free form rustic pie. These can be made individual like I have done, or family sized! :-) Either way they are going to be delicious and easier than you may think. I used fresh apricots and cherries for my simple filling, but try these during any season. (Think apples in fall, cranberries in winter & berries in summer)

Tip: Try getting your kids involved in forming the crostata, this way each one can be unique and personalized!

The most important part of the crotata is the crust….heres my take on it:

Dough:

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup cornmeal flour
1/4 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp. cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup cold buttermilk (or ice water if buttermilk isn’t readily available)
Extra flour for rolling out

Filling:

4 fresh apricots, sliced
1 cup cherries, pitted
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested

 

1.) In a food processor pulse cornmeal, flour, sugar & salt. Add in the cold butter all at once and pulse until the butter is around pea  sized. (This helps the butter spread evenly throughout the dough and helps promotes flakiness) Slowly stream in the buttermilk just until the dough starts to form. Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and knead to combine…..Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. (the colder the better)

2.) In a medium sauté pan on medium heat, saute the apricots and cherries in the butter until they just start to soften. Don’t turn these to mush! Once the fruit has softened just slightly, add in the remaining ingredients. Continue cooking until the sugar has melted and coats the fruit. Let cool.

3.) Separate the pie dough into fourths or even eights depending on how big you want your crostata to be. Using the extra flour, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch and place on a parchment lined sheet tray.

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4.) Take about 2 tbsp. of filling and put into the center of the dough. Fold up the edges of the dough creating an even crust around the crostata. Bake these suckers at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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I plated mine a bit fancier with lemon curd, caramel and a sour cream sauce. These crostatas are perfectly good alone or with some fresh home made whipped cream!

Banana Bread Pancakes

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Banana bread is one of my favorite comfort foods. When I smell it baking it immediately reminds me of home. I mean these pancakes take everything you love about banana bread and elevate them to the next level. The velvety smooth glaze over the crispy exterior of the pancake is amazing. Try these out on a Sunday morning; kids and adults will love them.

Pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cinnamon and Oats to garnish

In a bowl whisk together oil, sugar, vanilla, milk and mashed bananas. In a separate bowl sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine. (Yes this will be a thick pancake batter and will resemble that of a banana bread batter…go figure!)

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Vanilla Bean Maple Glaze

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 teaspoon milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Feel free to make any flavor glaze you want but make sure you have plenty it goes fast!

To Stuff or Not to Stuff?

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Okay, I tried to make this dish as light as possible. Lets face it, sometimes on a Sunday morning you just need a big hearty breakfast. This Cream Cheese, Banana & Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast will always do the trick….Elvis would be proud.

 

Cream Cheese, Peanut Butter & Banana Stuffed French Toast

  • 2 Slices Bread (not specific I know, but use whichever type you want, preferably NOT white bread because it will not hold up to the batter)
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (feel free to use chunky if it floats your boat)
  • 1 ounce “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana (Unless you like the unripe taste…no thanks!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk (usually heavy cream is used in some French toast batters, but it is not necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup dark brown sugar (as I have said before, it is so much better than light brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Non-Stick cooking spray as needed

Using an electric mixer beat together the peanut butter and cream cheese. Spread evenly between the two slices of bread. Slice the banana to desired thickness and put it on the bread as well. Make a sandwich with the two slices and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, whole milk, cinnamon, dark brown sugar and pure vanilla extract until combined.

Spray a non-stick pan with the cooking spray and turn on medium-low heat. While the pan is heating up dip your sandwiches in the batter for about 5-10 seconds per side. (too long and your bread will fall apart) Sear the sandwiches until golden brown on each side and the batter is cooked about 3-4 minutes per side.

Drizzle the French toast with maple syrup and I topped mine with crispy crumbled bacon :-)