Take that, you squirrel bastards! Yes, I hold a grudge. Last summer, I was about to harvest the first ripe nectarines of the season from my tree when I decided they could use one more day of ripening. That night, the entire goddamn tree was decimated by squirrels. To add insult to injury, most of the fruit lay on the ground half-eaten. Clearly, they were mocking me. Garden-to-table my ass, they seemed to say. Speaking of pesky animals and asses…. (where oh where is this going) …. a few years back we were trying to shoo a vicious urban raccoon off our back deck. He/she stared at us blankly, unfazed by our antics, for a moment or two before he/she sat down right in front of us and began licking his/her ass. At that point, I realized raccoons were like Frank Sinatra, it’s their world and we just live in it.
Anyway, this year I was determined to save my nectarines and beat the squirrels at their own game. So, I netted the tree. I paid what I consider a generous tithe of a few branches. I’m not completely heartless. I was rewarded with a lovely crop that we’ve been eating for breakfast and this weekend I finally had time to make this galette. Victory is mine.
This recipe is a true mash up. I used Cook’s Illustrated’s No Fail Crust, Suzanne Goin’s almond cream, and my own mix of nectarines, Meyer lemon juice and cardamom. If you’re short on time, use a store-bought crust, skip the almond cream and double up on the nectarine mix.
Rustic Nectarine Tart
1 recipe Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust or store bought
4 ozs almonds (or any nut you prefer)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp brandy or rum
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 lbs nectarines
3-4 Tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet your nectarines are)
3 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice)
1/8 tsp cardamom
Slice nectarines and toss with lemon juice, sugar and cardamom. Set aside.
Combine almonds and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Add butter, flour, brandy, egg and egg yolk and blend until totally combined.
Take out your chilled pie crust and roll out to 11 inches in diameter. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle for a galette. That’s why I make galettes more than pie. Call it rustic and it’s all good. Spread the almond cream in a 9-inch diameter circle leaving 2 (or so) inches uncovered.
Layer the nectarines over the almond cream.
Carefully fold the pie crust over the fruit pinching where necessary to bring the crust together. Again, this is not my forte and thankfully it does not matter with rustic looking pastries. If you are more skilled than I in this arena, go for it and gussy up that fold. But this will work. Place the galette in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees while the pastry is chilling. After 15 minutes, remove the galette from the freezer. Brush the crust with milk or cream and sprinkle a few pinches of sugar over the crust. Bake for 35 minutes, turning halfway through baking. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 10 minutes or until crust looks golden brown. This is damn good warm with a scoop of ice cream. But room temperature on its own is pretty fine too.