We are having a summer. Foggy mornings, warm afternoons, swim ‘lessons’ at the pool where I learned to swim so many years ago, (very) early double espressos down the street, picking blackberries and huckleberries and apples, ice cream cones and hours at the playground. Still to come: Yosemite, a week along the coast up north, a visit with friends in Sacramento, some more trips to the beach. All the cool breezes and redwood trees surely should last us through another handful of months in the desert.
Although it’s coming just a few weeks after I wrote about that strawberry-rhubarb pie, I have another pie-ish recipe today. It’s for a cherry galette, and it’s so very good. Dangerously so, even. You can make the crust with a combination of spelt and almond flours or a gluten-free combination of oat, sweet white rice, and almond flours. The consistent ingredient here is, obviously, the almond flour. Cherries and almonds just go together — it’s a flavor combination I revisit again and again. If I’d had the time to make marzipan I might have spread a thin layer along the crust before piling in the fruit; that would have been truly sublime.
Baked on high heat, the cherries release their juices and slump softly into one another in the oven to create a jammy filling that still has a fair amount of texture. I used natural sweeteners here, just a touch of maple syrup in the crust and honey in the filling. Fruit is so sweet on its own you don’t need much extra, and this suits my summer mood just fine. The days run into one another, punctuated by a long run here and there or a trip to West Marin or a day in the city ever so often. Slow summer but it will be gone in a flash, just like every year.
You could use this crust as a base for any number of fruit fillings — blackberry (and apple) is next on my agenda, plums, too, and I know it will carry over well into fall. You could also use it in a recipe for a one-crust pie.
For the crust
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup almond flour
gluten-free variation: 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour, 1/4 cup sweet rice white flour, 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup cold olive oil
1/4 cup cold buttermilk or ice water
For the filling
3 cups pitted cherries, about 1 pound
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon tapioca
pinch ground ginger
1/3 cup honey
Make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Stir in the honey. With a fork, work the oil in, whisking and stirring until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk and gather the dough together into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for at least an hour (dough will keep in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months).
Make the filling: Place the cherries in a large bowl, and add the salt, lemon juice, tapioca, ginger, and honey. Stir gently to combine.
Heat oven to 400 F. Remove dough from fridge and gently roll out into a 9-inch circle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the dough on the parchment.
Pile the filling into the center of the dough. Working quickly, and being as gentle as possible, gather the edges of the dough toward the center of the fruit, pinching and sealing as much as you can. I find my galettes are usually messy, and that’s OK!
Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until filling is bubbly and crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet until room temperature (fruit will set as is cools).