This recipe is adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. I bought this book after seeing it well-reviewed in a number of places, but the recipes seemed more complicated than I felt up to. I made this a lot simpler by using a prepared pie crust instead of making a galette crust from scratch. My mother made great pie crusts, and I've tried, but I don't seem to have the touch. I think the store-bought ones are a great invention! Addition 9/24/15: In the years after posting this recipe, I have become more confident in making pie crusts, thanks to the purchase of a silicone pastry mat, which the crust doesn't stick to, and which makes clean-up much easier. So, I've added below the recipe for the galette crust that comes from the same book. It is good enough that I think it's worth the extra effort; this is how I make the galette now myself. But a store-bought crust is fine too. And one other tip: If you want to serve this with something less caloric than creme fraiche or ice cream, try Low Fat Vanilla Cream.
(adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts)
1 prepared pie crust (I use Pillsbury)
1/2 c. + 2 T. granulated sugar
seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean (or you could substitute 1 t. vanilla extract)
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. fine sea salt
5 plums, pitted and each cut into eighths
vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche for a topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Cut the plums into eighths and put in a medium-sized bowl.
Line a rimmed baking sheet (or jelly roll pan) with parchment paper. (You need the rim, because juice from the fruit is likely to drip out of the crust, and you want the pan to catch it.) Lay out the pie crust on the pan.
Put the sugar in a small bowl. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the blade of a knife. Rub the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar. Add the cornstarch and salt and mix to distribute. Sprinkle 2 T. of the mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Toss the rest of the mixture with the plums.
Lift each plum slice from the juice, and arrange the slices on the dough, skin side down (so they're kind of standing up), in a spiral beginning 2 inches from the outside edge and ending in the center. If you have a few extra slices, squeeze them in or lay them on top. Drizzle some of the plum juice over the fruit. Fold the outer edge of the dough over the outermost plums, pinching the dough together as necessary. Put the galette in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.
Bake the galette for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling. At that 30 minute point, if the crust is already getting dark, loosely cover it with aluminum foil. (Or if OK then, check later, into the 20 minutes).
Cool for 30 minutes before serving. It's delicious as is, or you can serve with vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche.
Storage: Covered with a tea towel, the galette will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days.
*The original recipe said to start with 3 T. water and add more as needed, but I found more was needed.
makes one 13" galette crust
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. granulated sugar
3/4 t. fine sea salt
3/4 cup (6 oz) cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup ice water, or more as needed*
1 t. lemon juice, fresh or bottled
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, stir to combine, then put the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Cut the butter into half-inch cubes, then add to the flour mixture and toss until each cube of butter is coated with the flour mixture. Put into a food processor and cut the butter into the flour until the ingredients become coarse and crumbly and the butter is slightly smaller than a pea. (Or you can use a pastry blender or your hands.) Don't take the dough out of the processor yet.
Stir the water and lemon juice together, then drizzle over the dough, and give a couple of quick flicks of the processor blade to distribute the liquid. (Or if by hand, toss dough with a fork.) The pastry will be shaggy but should hold together when squeezed in the palm of your hand; if not, add an additional teaspoon or two of ice water.
Dump the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and press down on the dough, folding it over on itself a few times until it holds together. Try not to handle it too much. Flatten the pastry out into a disk about 1" thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. (If well wrapped, the disk will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer. If frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to assemble the galette, roll out the dough into a 13" circle. Transfer the circle to the prepared baking sheet. Then