By Chef Laura Frankel
For many home cooks, dessert is the final frontier. The meal can be extravagant and gorgeous from soup to entrée and then....the bottom falls out. They order a bakery cake or pie and end up apologizing for it.
Homemade Pie and tart dough frightens many. The thought of rolling out a crust and fitting it into a pan without tearing it is enough to make die-hard cooks......well, it is enough to make them purchase a store bought crust, even if they know it won't taste good!
Fear not! This crust is supple, tender, homemade and easy as pie. C'mon people, gather your rolling pins and fearlessly roll that dough. You can do it!
The secret to a supple and easy to work with dough is the addition of an egg yolk. The yolk makes this dough very forgiving and manageable.
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2-teaspoon fine sea salt
11 Tablespoons very cold, non-hydrogenated shortening (I use Earth Balance)
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice cold water
1 pound ripe plums, pitted (I prefer Stanley Prune plums for their shape and amazing flavor) and cut in half lengthwise
2 pints fresh figs, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
½ cup sugar + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
Directions for the Crust
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or if mixing by hand, in a medium bowl). Cut the shortening into 1/2-inch cubes and add them to the flour. On low speed, mix the butter and flour until the flour is no longer white and holds together when you clump it with your fingers, 1 to 2 minutes. If there are still lumps of butter larger than the size of peas, break them up with your fingers. Run a spatula along the bottom of the bowl to loosen anything stuck to the bowl. (If mixing by hand, mix with a pastry cutter or two forks until the butter is mixed into the flour as above).
In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk and water and add them to the flour mixture. On low speed, mix until the dough just comes together, about 15 seconds; the dough will be somewhat soft. (If mixing by hand, add the yolk mixture to the flour and mix gently with a fork until the liquid is well distributed. The dough will still look crumbly and dry.
Dump the dough onto a clean counter and work it with the heel of your hand, pushing and smearing it away from you and gathering it up with a bench scraper and repeating until the dough comes together and is supple). Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, press it into a flat disk, wrap it in the plastic, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes (or up to four days) before rolling it out.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove the dough from the refrigerator; if the dough is very firm, let it sit at room temperature until it is pliable enough to roll. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a round that's about 13 to 14 inches in diameter. It's all right if the edges are a little ragged. If you can't get a roughly round shape, trim the dough so that it's a rough circle and roll the trimmed scraps back into the dough. Transfer the dough round to the baking sheet and put it in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Directions for the Filling
Preheat oven to 350
Toss all the ingredients, except the apricot preserves, together. Arrange the fruit on the rolled out galette dough, leaving a 3 inch border around the edges.
Start at one side draw the dough toward the center, leaving the center open so the plums show. Keep gathering and adding pleats to the dough. It is ok if the galette looks rustic!
Sprinkle the sugar all around the dough (this makes the galette sparkly).
Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the dough is golden brown. Brush the galette with the apricot preserves and allow to cool before serving.
Recipe: kosher, parve, dessert