Strawberry Galette

I’ve always wanted to make a pie. It’s been on my “to bake” list for quite some time. The only problem I’ve had is that we’ve had more than our share of boiling summer days here in T.O., which means, I can’t bring myself to bake, as it too hot. Which is unfortunate, because I didn’t start this blog for nothing!

Seeing as there is so much fresh fruit in abundance during these summer days, something has to be done to use them up. And so, the oven is the exact tool I need.

But I digress.

I love my strawberries. I love them even more than when I slice them up, add sugar, and let them sit in a bowl in the fridge for a few hours. But you know what I love, even more than sliced up strawberries?? Sliced up strawberries, wrapped in a pie crust and baked for 35 minutes. E voila! The Galette. (I’m all about the French desserts this summer it would seem.)

What’s also nice about this is that it’s surprisingly easy to whip up.  Or maybe not so surprisingly. I used

 Of course, the day I wanted to bake it was on a hot and humid day, complete with a much needed thunderstorm. In the end, the strawberries won me over because they were perfectly fresh.

I had, what I believe to be, a quart, so I just used all of them, and saved the rest for a second galette.

This the second galette I made. I added the blueberries as a last minute add-in.

And all the while I was baking–both nights, actually–there was a thunderstorm raging. I took these pictures after the thunderstorm on the second night. It’s not often that you see sun lit clouds like this after a storm, and I was so impressed I had to take pictures.


The dessert you can eat for breakfast!

In the end, it was delicious. Now I’m one step closer to moving up to making a pie!

Strawberry Galette

(adapted from A Dash of Zest, who in turn, adapted it from the Comfort of Cooking)

Strawberry Galette
Serves 4-6

1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade
10-15 strawberries, stems removed and sliced
3 tbsp. white sugar
2 tsp. corn starch
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Clean the strawberries, remove the stems and slice them lengthwise. Place the sliced strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch on top. Gently stir the strawberries until the sugar and cornstarch evenly cover the berries.

Roll out pie crust. Layer the berries overlapping each other inside the pie crust starting one inch from the edge. Fold the edge of the dough over the strawberries. Brush the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle all over with 1 tsp. sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve with homemade whipped cream.

Enjoy!

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10 Things I’m loving this July

July! The time of month to celebrate the births of nations, have BBQs, and enjoy the sun–but only just so long as there’s sun screen around, and so long as the temp stays around 30 or lower. This week we haven’t had much luck in cooler weather (we’re in a heat wave, in fact), so while my time outdoors is limited to walking the dog very briefly, and swimming, I can think of creative things to blog about when I’m not baking–literally and physically.

These are my top ten things I’m loving this month:

  • Iced Coffee. I just started making this recently, and it appears to have become the next best thing to Tim Horton’s kind. Next up: homemade iced cappuccinos.
  • The Virgin Cure, by Amy McKay. Last summer I was reading her first novel, The Birth House,  which was nothing short of amazing. Her newest novel is just as intriguing to read, about a young girl finding her way in 1870s New York. Her use of detail and description of characters make it so vivid and appealing–I want to be able to write like her!
  •  Swimming. In a heat wave like this, it is a blessing. Or maybe water is, in general.

  • Summer fruits. Peaches, plums, strawberries, blueberries… You name it, I bake it.

  • Brightly coloured toenails in this very colour. (There’s the girl in me coming out.)

  • So You Think You can Dance-I love watching the dance numbers! This season looks to be very promising. I’m particularly rooting for this gal right here, because she’s the bee’s knees.

08776_parga_large

  • Scotland. I have yet to see the movie Brave, but I hear the scenery in the movie is brilliant. I’d love to visit there one day, but in the mean time I will have to settle for looking at pictures.
Michael Shanks, left to right, Erica Durance & Daniel Gilliesstar in "Saving Hope."
  • The new Canadian-made series, Saving Hope. I told myself I wouldn’t get sucked into a hospital drama; but here I am, every Thursday night, watching the events unfold as a just-about-to-get-married man watches everything that goes on in the hospital, while he is in a coma. (His fiancee also works as a doctor there, and is trying to get through this, with the hope he’ll come out of it.) I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is very intriguing! (Not to mention there’s some good eye-candy.)
Actress Sophia Loren (b. 1934), date unknown.
Sophia Loren
  • Historiful. One of my favourite tumblr sites to visit. I love looking at rare pictures of old Hollywood idols I’d never knew existed. I could spend all day looking through it!

Image from herehere, here, here, and here

Cherry Clafoutis

Around this time of year, it’s the strawberries that are the ‘it’ fruit. When June rolls around, bang! It’s time to break out the hulls, pectin, fifty pounds of sugar and sterilized jars. I, however, chose to make work of the bag cherries that I got over the weekend, and not through jam making… Though I may just try it one of these days.

I scanned the internet, and then turned to some cookbooks to find a recipe for involving cherries. My answer was found in the Cherry Clafoutis! I’d read about it before in a few cookbooks, seen some lovely pictures with the cherries glistening like gems in the golden batter, but never considered making it. It looked easy enough to put together, so why not? I chose to use the Joy of Cooking recipe, figuring it couldn’t go wrong. By the end, however, I learned a few things.

My (gruesomely) pitted cherries, plus mess

To pit the cherries, I read somewhere on the net to use an unfolded paper clip in the shape of an ‘s’, where you jab the top of the cherry and dig out the pit with it. It wasn’t terribly difficult (ok, it sort of was), but I couldn’t do it without gutting the cherry and getting dark red juice on my fingers. I was beginning to remind myself of a ghost story  I read when I was younger. (It would probably turn you off from this recipe if I mentioned it here, I will save it for another time. Preferably Halloween.)

After a while, I gave up and carefully carved out the pits with a small knife (nearly mess free), and half an hour later, I was finished! Now to work on the other half of the recipe. It was easy to just mix the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, (no rum, unfortunately), salt and flour together til it was a batter (hand mixer works best to remove lumps), and just pour it over the cherries spread out in a buttered pie dish. I took a cue from a different clafoutis recipe and added a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, which was a nice touch.

Before going into the oven

E voila!

After baking at 375 for 10 minutes, then lowering the temp to 350 and baking for 35 minutes, it was done. It looked… Perfect! Like in the pictures, only real, and the kitchen smelled like nothing else I’ve baked. But when I took a closer look, the center wasn’t looking more pale than it’s golden crust. I wondered, uh oh, did I under bake it? I timed it according to the cookbook… Hmm.

Unsure, I popped it back in the oven for another ten minutes. Sort of more golden than before, but not much. That was when I turned to the internet about it, and Jamie Oliver answered my question. He said,

“It will rise and should be firm around the edges but sticky and gooey in the middle. This doesn’t mean it’s undercooked . . . it means it’s perfect! So be careful not to overcook it or it will just be like a boring sponge.”

Aha! I understood. I had expected the clafoutis to be more cake-like in consistency, but it’s really more like a custard. It still tasted delicious in the end, but it was slightly over baked. Oh well! I know now for next time. And I was still very impressed by how beautiful it looked.

Adapted from Joy of Cooking:

 Cherry Clafoutis

Ingredients

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 lb. cherries, pitted or not (frozen cherries, thawed and patted dry. Canned cherries can also be used)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp. cognac or rum
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (my addition)
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar for dusting over
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan (see Note). Distribute the cherries over the bottom of the pan.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar until frothy, about 2 minutes. And the milk, alcohol, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour and salt. Pour the batter over the cherries and place the pie pan on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake the clafouti for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the top has puffed (it will sink on cooling) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. Dust with the powdered sugar, if using, and serve sliced into wedges.

Beginning the Beguine

(I was beginning to worry this wordpress thing wouldn’t work on my computer. But joy of joys, it does!)

It’s always a bit tricky to jump right in to the first post of a spanking new blog, but you have to start somewhere, right? My name is Madalyn; I’m 22, and a post grad student living back home in Toronto with an English degree, after four years of studying in beautiful, beautiful Halifax NS. While living away at uni I started a blog-I wanted to keep it to recipes that I experimented on, but also what interested me at the time. Towards the end of my university term, it didn’t seem to be going anywhere/interesting for me anymore, so I called it quits. If anything, I feel as if I’ve grown a bit more since starting that old blog of mine, and am ready to move forward into the unknown. (Toodle-loo!)

So, what brings me to start up blogging again? My goal for this little space is to write more, hone my picture taking skills, and of course, continue my quest of recipe experiments. I’ll continue to include my interests here… But with more pictures, and preferably, more food. I want to go into writing in the future: whether it’s food-related or something entirely different, maybe this blog will help me figure it out.

Here we go!