Apricot and Basil Galette

by meike peters

Summer baking is the best baking, you can reduce additional sugar to a minimum and focus on some of nature’s greatest gifts: stone fruit and berries. They are so packed with sweetness and flavor that adding too much sugar would be like insulting their creator. However, sneaking in buttery pastry – no matter if it’s a crunchy crumble, fragile short crust tart, or rustic galette – fortifies the produce’s qualities and has only one effect: you’ll want to extend teatime into dinner and just keep nibbling until the sun sets and the last crumb vanishes.

I went for a galette for this recipe because of its summery, picnic-style look but I sneaked a herb into the topping that gives it a slightly unusual touch. Apricot and basil is a fantastic combo for salads and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t mingle in a fruity tart topping. It’s fresh, it’s earthy, sweet, and sour, it tastes like a hot day in Tuscany.

Taking some time off for such a rewarding endeavor is the best therapy for a weary mind and soul. And I needed that. I lost my rhythm in the kitchen a little over the last year and half. I created new recipes every day, felt excited about the results and was pleased about being productive. All for my new book, for 365. However, my natural flow of shopping, of planning our dinners, of meeting my man in the kitchen after work and pouring us a glass of wine before starting to cook, this wonderful ease has been disrupted. So much so that it’s difficult sometimes to find my way back to my routine, a routine that became the compass of my days over the years. Always pointing towards my next meal, always pointing towards the kitchen. That is my comfort, my safety, and I’m trying to regain orientation.

What I love so much about cooking, about preparing my own food, is the fact that it’s totally in my hands. That I can make myself – and others – so unbelievably happy by only throwing a few ingredients together and indulging in this experience on an emotional, sensory, but also intellectual level. I can’t think of anything more satisfying than creating a meal that reflects the seasons, my mood, and the desires of my taste buds. This galette tastes heavenly, there’s no doubt, it also let’s July’s plump produce shine, but it challenged me to be experimental, to rethink combinations of ingredients that seem a bit farfetched in the beginning. To combine fleshy apricots and fragrant basil – which usually shines atop my summery Caprese salad or Pizza Margherita – meant I had to open up for a new idea. And that’s a good lesson. Always. Even in the most trivial situations. And by doing this, I’m slowly finding my orientation again. Towards the kitchen.

Apricot and Basil Galette

Makes one 23cm / 9″ galette.

For the pastry

180g / 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (I used white spelt flour / type 630)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
125g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
2 tablespoons water, cold
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

For the galette

4 large apricots (320g / 11 ounces) , pitted and cut in half,
plus 2 large apricots (160g / 5 1/2 ounces), pitted and cut into small cubes
50g / 1/4 cup light brown sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for the topping
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 heaping tablespoons roughly chopped basil leaves
1 large egg, beaten

For the pastry, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined. Add the water and vinegar and quickly mix with the paddle attachment until combined. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze for about 15-20 minutes, or until firm.

For the galette, in a small saucepan, heat the apricot cubes (not the apricot halves), the sugar, and vanilla seeds over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the apricots are soft and golden. Reduce the heat if the fruit starts to turn brown. Stir in the chopped basil, transfer to a medium bowl, and let the compote cool for a few minutes.

On a work surface, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out into a 30cm / 12″ disc. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and replace it with a piece of parchment paper. Flip the pastry disc over, transfer to a wooden board, and remove the remaining layer of plastic wrap. Spread the apricot-basil compote on top of the pastry, leaving a 5cm / 2″ rim, and arrange the apricot halves, cut side down, on top of the compote. Fold the edges of the pastry up and over the fruit then gently press to seal the folds. Chill the galette, on the wooden board, in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is firm.

Place a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Pull the parchment paper with the galette onto the hot baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let the galette cool for about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or cold.