I honestly believe God gave us fresh fruits and Saturdays so that we could bake. I’ve had a baking craving for weeks, but never got round to it until last weekend.
That I craved to bake at all was something of a surprise, because I’ve never been much of a baker, at least not of the caliber like that these bloggers are. You’re more likely to find me photographing my baked goods than selling them at the Farmers’ Market.
But bake I did. There were the last of the season’s blood oranges to be used, and it would have been too mundane to just slice them up and eat them fresh the way we always do. They were the last of the season. Which means bidding adieu to cold weather, mittens and bare trees, and welcoming the long days of summer. I had to do something, anything, but eat them raw.
Enter the rustic fruit galette. Rustic because of its irregular, hand-folded shape (I’m still working on rolling out a perfect circle of dough – willing to take lessons). Rustic too, because it’s simple and homey, and can be whipped up in a pinch for the day’s dessert. With fresh fruit year-round, this galette becomes a window on the changing seasons: citrus in winter and spring, berries and stone fruit in summer. Sweet treats all the time.
To dress up the dark velvet rounds of blood oranges I added a few slices of Mandarinquats. On the palate, these Mandarin-Kumquat hybrids provide a tangy sweetness that balances out the bitter finish of blood oranges. Served on a light, airy pâte brisée crust that I’m pretty proud of (details below), drizzled with some of Elise’s Caramel Sauce, we were two happy campers on Saturday afternoon, silently crunching into slices of galette with our afternoon coffee.
Yup, Saturdays were definitely meant for baking.
Blood Orange and Mandarinquat Galette
While most contemporary pâte brisée recipes are adapted for a food processor, I choose to make mine by hand. There’s just something therapeutic and calming about it, not to mention immensely satisfying to see the product of your work emerge from the oven 45 minutes later. Making pâte brisée dough by hand isn’t as difficult as it sounds – the trick is to keep everything very cold: from the butter, to the water used, to the bowl you use and even your rolling pin. I use Bodum’s stainless steel rolling pin and leave it in the freezer for 20 minutes before using it. Works perfectly in helping to keep the dough at just the right temperature.
I’ve also discovered the joys of using pastry flour for a lighter crust. Following Tartine Bakery’s recommendations for their galettes, and adapting my mother-in-law’s basic pâte brisée recipe, I substituted half the amount of all-purpose flour with pastry flour which yielded one of the better crusts I’ve made. Definitely a keeper.
- 3 ounces/ 85 grams all-purpose flour
- 3 ounces/ 85 grams pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 stick/ 113 grams cubed unsalted butter, very cold
- ¼ cup very cold water
- 3 to 4 blood oranges (about a pound)
- 3 mandarinquats
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- In a medium bowl, stir together the pastry flour, all-purpose flour and salt.
- Add the cubes of butter and rub them into the flour using a pastry cutter or the tips of your fingers. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes. The mixture is ready when the flour turns off-white and the butter is the size of peas.
- Make a well in the flour, then drizzle the water in and mix the liquid with the dry ingredients. Work quickly to gather the dough into a ball, adding more water as needed (if the dough is too crumbly) or more flour (if the dough is too wet). It should take no longer than 3 to 4 minutes to get a texture that’s firm but pliable and not sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. You could also wrap the ball of dough in plastic at this point and freeze it for later use.
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Prepare the fruit. Remove the tops and bottoms, pith and skin from the oranges and slice them into rounds, about half-inch thick. Thinly slice the mandarinquats, removing their pips. Set aside.
- When you’re ready to bake, dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour, then roll the ball of dough out into your preferred shape, until the dough is about 2 millimeters thick. To prevent the dough from sticking to the counter, I flip it over after 2 to 3 rolls with the rolling pin, dusting counter, pin and dough as I go.
- Transfer the prepared dough onto a lined baking sheet and place the oranges and mandarinquat slices in the middle, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Fold the edges over the fruit, then dust the prepared galette with sugar.
- Prepare the egg wash by beating an egg with 2 tablespoons water before brushing it on the edges of the galette.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges are a dark brown. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.