This weekend we celebrated my elder daughter's birthday. Over years, I've always made conventional birthday cakes for my children, but given my daughter's passion for France (she is a French major), I wanted to do something French-like. Assessing the options, I found myself studying an earthy-looking galette. For some reason, maybe because it uses fresh fruit, the recipe struck a chord. For one, it looked like something that could be transported with ease, and it seemed simple to make. It was on both counts. According to Food Lover's Companion, a galette (gah-LEHT) is a round, rather flat cake made of flaky pastry and there are as many variations as there are French regions. Basically, you start with a French pâté brisée, a rich flaky dough, which you roll out and then fill with fruit. The rough pastry edges are simply folded up and over. I'm not sure how close my galette comes to the French model, but, for the record, we all loved it.
The basic process is simple: (1) Roll out the pastry (2) Peel, core and slice thinly two very large, ripe pears and arrange them in concentric circles atop the pastry (3) Sprinkle a sugar-cornstarch mixture over the pears (4) Fold over the crust edges and dot the pears with a little butter (5) Brush the pastry with an egg glaze, and (6) Bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the pear juice is bubbly. Finally, before serving, I couldn't help myself. On a last-minute whim, I glazed the pears with some of our farm's lavender honey. After all, don't lavender and France go hand and hand?
Bon anniversarie, Annie!