So last Thursday, I was perusing through the stone fruits section of the grocery store (because what’s June without peaches and plums and nectarines and such?) when I came across a tray with a bright yellow “Surprisingly low price!” sign sticking jauntily out of the top. My curiosity piqued, I checked the label and discovered the existence of a brand new hybrid fruit: the plumcot (also known as the pluot according to Google, but that just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it – after all, it’s a “pluhm,” not a “ploom,” and “pluh-ot” just sounds awkward and vaguely uncomfortable on the tongue).
Anyway, they’re a lovely shade of burgundy, lightly speckled, and slightly larger than both your run-of-the-mill plum and your run-of-the-mill apricot (actually, that bit was quite surprising – either I’m routinely running into abnormally small plums and apricots, or plumcots have a bit more in common with ligers than I’d originally expected because I don’t think genetics are supposed to work that way). At any rate, they were perfectly ripe and perfectly delicious when sliced up and baked into a delicious summer galette.
Speaking of galettes, if you’re a fan of maximum flaky crust in an elegant package with minimum shaping effort, they are basically the best thing ever. Rustic but refined, they’re the perfect way to enjoy the last vestiges of sunlight on the back porch during the early-but-not-really-early-because-almost-summer-solstice June evenings, or as the ultimate vehicle to spice up a good old classic scoop of vanilla ice cream (or vice versa).
Although this recipe is more or less straightforward, quick, and easy peasy, just one quick tip for slicing the plumcots – if you buy fully ripened fruit (the kind that gives just a little bit when you press lightly on the skin), you will not have a fun time getting neat slices after you take out the pit. Instead, slice your plumcot all the way around, and then remove the slices after you’re completely done. Just pull them out like slices of an orange! Tada, instant pretty slices for tidy rosettes (:
Also, for those of you who aren’t a fan of red wine, feel free to substitute for prune juice for extra plumminess. Speaking of which, I never quite understood why exactly it was called “prune juice” and not “plum juice” – aren’t prunes, by definition, dried plums? That’s like calling wine “fermented raisin juice” – it doesn’t really make much sense. Maybe it’s made from reconstituted prunes? In which case, why on Earth are we going through the effort of industrially drying them if we’re just going to rehydrate them to juice them when we’re done? Prune juice: excellent for colon health but mostly just profoundly confusing otherwise.
All semantics aside, hope you enjoy!
Crust recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes one 10″ galette
160 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbs butter, chilled and cubed
2 tbs vodka
2 tbs ice water, as needed
1 egg yok
4 plumcots (or just regular plums or apricots)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional if your plumcots are less ripe)
2 tbs starch, divided
Red Wine Glaze:
3/4 cup red wine (or prune juice)
1/4 cup white sugar
Vanilla ice cream
- Place the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse lightly to mix.
- Add in the cold butter and pulse just until the flour is fully incorporated and the mixture resembles very coarse corn meal with a few larger clumps.
Tip: Whenever a recipe calls for cubed chilled butter, I let the butter soften slightly at room temperature, slice it up while it’s soft, then chill it again in a bowl to avoid trying to cut rock-hard cold butter. It requires maybe a whole 15 minutes (tops) of advanced planning.
- In a large bowl, add the vodka to the flour-butter mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just mixed. At this point, keep adding ice water as needed just until the dough just comes together and isn’t crumbly. I didn’t add any water, but you might need up to 1-2 tbs.
- Mold dough into a roughly circular shape about 1″ thick, cover in saran wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can also chill in the freezer for about 30-40 minutes. If not, this is a great time to prep your plums!
- Slice each plumcot into 16 even slices. If desired, reserve 1/8 of a plumcot (do not slice further) to form the center piece of the galette.
Tip: To do so, slice the plumcot in half, running your knife along a meridian without cutting through the pit. Repeat, creating a meridian that runs perpendicular to the first one so that your plumcot is now quartered. Next, halve each quarter until your plumcot is in eighths, then halve each eight until you have 16 even slices, then gently remove each slice from the pit. Also, I oriented my cuts such that the meridians all met at both the stem of the fruit and the point directly across from the stem. To make sure that all of the wedges had perfectly sharp corners, I started each cut after the first two at the point across from the stem, keeping the knife perfectly still and rotating the fruit to keep the lines straight. Be sure your knife is extra sharp!
- Toss the plumcot slices with the brown sugar, lemon juice, and 1 tbs of corn starch. Set aside for about 15 minutes, allowing the plumcots to macerate and exude their juices.
- Drain the juices from the plumcot slices into a small bowl, then toss the plumcots in the remaining cornstarch. Set aside for assembly!
Note: For optimal timing, complete this step just before assembling the galette, then reserve the juices to prepare the glaze as the galette bakes.
Red Wine Glaze:
- In a saucepan, combine the wine (or juice), sugar, and reserved plumcot juice. Heat on medium just until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove immediately from heat and allow to cool. Set aside for drizzling!
- Preheat the oven to 400 ºF. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board into a large circle about 14″ in diameter.
Tip: If you need more than a light layer of flour, your dough is too soft! If your dough starts getting too sticky, pop everything into the refrigerator for 15 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes. Make sure your butter doesn’t melt, or else the pie crust will be tough and dry instead of crisp and flaky!
- Dust the surface of the dough lightly with a thin layer of cornstarch (about 1/4 tsp).
- Arrange the plumcot slices into 2 concentric rings in the center of the rolled galette crust. If desired, slice the reserved 1/8 plumcot slice into a small octagon to place in the center of the galette. Sprinkle on excess brown sugar.
- Gently fold over the edges of the crust over the edge of the outer plumcot ring.
Tip: If the crust is too crumbly to fold, wait for the dough to soften slightly before proceeding. If you fold while the crust is too cold, it will crack!
- Transfer the galette to the lined baking pan.
- In a small dish, add about 1 tbs water to the egg yolk, mix well, then paint liberally over the exposed upper crust of the galette.
- Bake for 50 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is well browned. Dust with extra lice, top with ice cream, drizzle on the glaze, and serve immediately for optimal hot-cold contrast. Enjoy!