Summer, people either love it or hate it. And especially Perth’s summer. There’s no in between or mild relief from the heat once it sets in. It’s sticky, we have weeks of non-stop 40 degree heat and millions of flies. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have loved summer for as long as I can remember. As a kid my best friend and I would spend hours and hours at the local swimming pool. Come school holidays, we’d be there from early morning until sunset eating sausage rolls and icy-poles and redskins, and riding the tubes without a care in the world. Back then we didn’t wear sunscreen, we were ignorant to the sun warnings summer brings with it today. Halfway through summer the skin on my nose would be wrinkled and grey and I’d spend more time in my bathers than anything else.
Summer brings with it fond memories of my childhood, in fact all my early memories revolve around this time of year. Riding my bicycle around with new summer sandals (or no shoes at all), my blonde hair green from all the time spent swimming, and Mum’s delicious summer culinary treats. I haven’t baked any Finnish food lately, and with the warmer weather approaching I am reminded of all the fun stuff she would bake in time for Christmas. A huge part of my summer memory is her baking.
This peach delight has nothing to do with Finnish baking but it does remind me of summer. My first attempt at baking a galette brought about a couple of pleasant surprises, firstly how amazingly easy it is to make and secondly just how delicious they taste. The smell of peaches and homemade pastry baking in the oven is sublime, and throw in a hint of lime and you’ve got a summer winner in my opinion. This took me no time at all to prepare, I imagine you could prepare it an hour before guests arrive and wow them with the delicious aroma wafting out from the oven while you’re brewing coffee.
My Mum and I both absolutely love the crusty edges of oven-baked tarts, and if she was standing in my kitchen as I pulled this thing out of the oven she would’ve promptly elbowed me out the way to cut the crust and chow it down straight from the tin. I took great delight in shoving the first corner into my mouth without a fear of the elbow, and boy was it good! This pastry takes mere minutes to make. It’s deliciously buttery and flaky yet holds together enough so the galette doesn’t fall apart. You just can’t beat homemade pastry, and if you’re put off by the need to knead, don’t be with this one. No kneading necessary. I insist you make the pastry rather than use store-bought stuff, you won’t be disappointed.
For the crust:
1½ cups plain flour
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 egg combined with 1 tsbp cold water
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Scatter cubes of butter over the top of the flour and pulse a few times until you have little butter balls about the size of blueberries.
With processor running, stream in egg and cold water and pulse until mixture starts to come together. Pour out onto bench, use your hand to bring dough together into a ball. If it doesn’t come together add another tablespoon of cold water, and more if you need to until it starts to form a ball. I only needed to add the first tablespoon of water and the dough formed beautifully.
Flatten dough into a flat disc, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
*Dough can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
5 medium sized peaches, halved, pitted and sliced
¼ cup sugar
½ lime, juice and zest
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp muscovado sugar for sprinkling on top
1 tbsp milk or cream
Preheat oven to 200C. Remove dough from refrigerator to allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Place sugar, lime juice and cornflour into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add peaches and coat well using hands. Set aside.
Roll dough out on a floured surface to desired shape at 5mm thickness. You can make your galette round or rectangular, whatever takes your fancy.
Move dough onto parchment paper on a baking tray prior to filling.
Lay peach slices over the pastry in a decorative pattern (or just pour them in and let them land as they may) leaving a space of about 2” around the edge without filling. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the outside of the peaches while crimping the dough to encase the fruit. Brush top with milk or cream, sprinkle muscovado sugar all over and sprinkle lime zest on top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes. If crust starts to darken too much before the peaches are bubbling and caramelising, turn oven down to 175C.
Once crust is golden and puffy and peaches are deliciously golden and bubbling, remove galette from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing that baby up and devouring. You can obviously add a dollop of cream or ice cream, but I don’t really think you need to.