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Cherry Almond Galette

Cherry Almond Galette

After a brief hiatus, we are back with yet another recipe for something sweet… and something tart… and something rich.  All in one.  The beginnings of this recipe were conceived when Marc brought home two very random ingredients, a jar of Morello cherries and a tube of almond paste.  These two things sat in our pantry for over two months as we contemplate how to use them.

Cutting in the butter

Then one day I found this recipe for a fig tart, and then this one for a pear and cherry tart.  The wheels started to turn and we starting thinking about making some type of cherry and almond tart.  However, that idea was soon shelved because we a) don’t have a good recipe for a tart crust and b) we don’t own a tart pan. 

Ready to assemble

Then Marc had a brainstorm… we could make the go-to sour cream pastry dough that we have used with great success for previous galettes.  We decided to spread the dough with the almond paste mixed with a little flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.  We topped the almond mixture with the drained cherries, folded the dough over and baked it until the dough was browned, the almond mixture was puffed, and the cherries were bubbling.

Galette ready to bake

This galette is a mix of sweet and sour, rich and fruity.  The almond paste is sweet, the cherries are tart and fruity, the pastry is rich and buttery.  Together, they make for a complex dessert that is sure to impress your guests.  Make sure to save the juice you drain from the cherries.  We reduced it until it was thick and syrupy and drizzled it over the finished galette.

Freshly baked

Cherry Almond Galette

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup frozen unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup ice water

6 ounces almond paste

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp almond meal (you can substitute with all-purpose flour)

3 ounces butter (salted or unsalted) cubed at room temperature

1 large egg plus 1 egg white at room temperature

1 27.4 ounce jar Dark Morello Cherries in Light Syrup (Trader Joe’s sells these, if you can’t find them, you need about 12 ounces of sour cherries), drained with syrup reserved

2 tbls heavy cream

1 tbls granulated sugar

softly whipped heavy cream (optional)

To Make:

The Pastry

Put the flour and salt in a bowl.  Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, and water and add half of this mixture to the flour mixture.  With your finger tips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form.  Remove the lumps and repeat the process with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture.  Pat all the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To assemble

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using a mixer, beat the almond paste, flour, and sugar until crumbly.  Gradually beat in the butter, until smooth, and then beat in the egg and the egg white. 

Lightly flour a pastry board or other work surface.  Roll out the dough into a rough circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick.  This does not need to be perfect, part of the charm of galettes is that they are rustic.

Spread the almond mixture on to the pastry, leaving a 2 inch border.  Place the drained cherries on the almond mixture.  Fold dough border over the cherries and almond mixture, pleating as necessary.  The center will be open.  Brush the exposed edges of the dough with the cream and sprinkle with the sugar.  Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cherries are bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  Remove to a cutting board.

While the galette is cooking, pour the reserved cherry syrup into a small saucepan.  Set the heat to medium-high and boil until the liquid is reduced by 3/4 and is syrupy.  Watch it closely as it gets to the end as it can go from syrupy to burned pretty quickly.

To Serve: 

Cut the galette into wedges.  Serve topped with softly whipped cream and drizzled with the cherry syrup.  Serves 8.

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Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

It is officially December and I am In. The. Spirit.  It feels a little early to be so excited for Christmas… but I am.  Maybe it is because my maternity leave is winding down and I am feeling the urge to play homemaker for as long as I can.  Or maybe it is because Thing 1 is old enough this year to really “get” what the Christmas season is all about.  Whatever it is, I am in the mood to make all kinds of Christmas goodies. 

Chocolate and cream, what's not to love?

I spent the last week looking for some new recipes to try.  In addition to the traditional stuff I always make, fudge, sugar cookies, etc., I wanted to find delicious things to add to my repertoire.  I came across fun treats like Bourbon Balls and Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Cream, and then I found the recipe for these tarts on a pull-out flyer from McCormick in one of my magazines. 

Chocolate ganache

Peppermint whipped cream

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These little tarts are perfect for the busy holiday season.  Not only are they delicious and pretty to look at, they are quick and easy to make.  The crispy phyllo tart shells contrasts nicely with the smooth chocolate ganache.  The mint creme on top adds a light finish.  Whip up a batch in less than half an hour and have an instant party treat or hostess gift.  To make storage easier, build and store the tarts in the plastic trays that the phyllo shells come in.  They keep for about a week in the refrigerator (though the shells lose some of their crispness over time) so you can make them when you have a few precious moments of free time. 

Mini phyllo shells

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

Recipe from McCormick

Ingredients:

2 packages (15 shells each) frozen mini phyllo shells

1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tbls sugar, divided

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

extra chocolate or crushed peppermint candies for garnish (if desired)

To Make:

Bake phyllo shells in a 350 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp.  Let cool completely.

Chop chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl with 1/3 cup heavy cream.  Microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring briefly after 30 seconds.  After the minute in the microwave, stir until all the chocolate is melted and the cream and chocolate are thoroughly combined.  Cool until ganache is thickened slightly, about five minutes.  Spoon a scant teaspoon of ganache into each phyllo cup.  Allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 2 tbls of sugar until smooth.  In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to whip 3/4 cup of heavy cream, remaining two tbls of sugar, and peppermint extract until the cream holds stiff peaks.  Stir half the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.  Gently fold in remaining whipped cream.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of creme onto each tart.  Alternatively, use a piping bag and wide tip to pipe the creme onto each tart.  I found that I had creme left over.

To Serve:

Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or crushed peppermint candies if desired.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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