Along with my break from blogging altogether, I also took a break from various bake-alongs this summer and I really missed the comraderie of baking something “together” from across the world! So since this next cake, French Galette with Cherry-Almond Topping, from The Home Bakers sounded tasty, I decided to give it a whirl and get back into the swing of things. It just so happened that I hosted an impromptu dinner for some friends on Labor Day and this treat made a perfect dessert to follow Chicken and Basil Stir Fry along with a Asian themed salad and rice.
So what is a galette? My au pair asked me that as I was preparing it. I always thought it was a free form flat pie or tart, which according to “the internet” is pretty much correct, though it can also be a bread or cake. Though this recipe was taken from the Coffee Cakes cookbook, I expected the crust was going to be a little more pie-like and less dough-like however actually, it came out perfect just as it was, though it’s more like a sweet pizza dough in texture and appearance than a pie or cake.
I let yeast bloom in warm water with a pinch of sugar, then using the mixing blade of my stand mixer, I beat in margarine, sugar, an egg, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg. I used freshly grated nutmeg and it smelled amazing, though the regular ground nutmeg would work fine as well. Finally I beat in flour. The dough was a bit sticky and rough. The original recipe recommends placing the dough onto a floured board and kneading at that point, but to save time and clean-up, I switched from the mixing blade to the dough hook, and let it knead itself for a few minutes. The dough became much smoother and elastic and less sticky and then I turned it into a greased bowl, covered it with a towel, and let it rise for about an hour.
After it rose, I punched it down, kneaded it slightly with floured hands, and then formed it into a 12-inch round and fit it onto a greased pizza pan. Since a galette is supposed to be free form and somewhat rustic, I didn’t bother to roll it out with a rolling pin but rather stretched and shaped it into a round with my hands, trying to keep the thickness fairly even throughout.
Then I spread softened margarine over the entire surface, leaving a slight rim at the edges (a la pizza crust), then sprinkled sugar, dried cherries, and blanched almond slivers atop, along with a pinch of cinnamon. One thing I really appreciated about this recipe is that there are unlimited options for topping the dough. I just stuck with the recipe this time just to see how it worked but I guarantee that other fruits or types of nuts would be great. I am picturing an iteration with chocolate in my future. Yum!
After letting the topped dough sit for a little longer, I baked it at high heat for 6 minutes. The aroma was amazing–I felt like I was walking past the pretzel store at the mall with the buttery dough scent emerging from my oven and the cake was beautiful. The crust puffed up and became golden brown. Watch this step closely because it cooks really fast!
I cut it up into pizza-style slices and served fresh from the oven with ice cream. This cake is not overly sweet and the cold ice cream was the perfect compliment to the warm cake. Enjoy!
French Galette with Cherry-Almond Topping (adapted from Coffee Cakes)
Yield: one 12-inch flatbread (serves 6-8)
For the dough
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons warm water (105-115F)
pinch of sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine or butter (I used margarine to keep this dessert dairy free) at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the topping
2 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (I used slivered blanched almonds)
pinch of cinnamon
Please see Frozen Wings for the full directions for this recipe.