How swiftly the days go by {& apricot sage almond galette recipe}

It feels a bit strange to be sitting in my room right now. My cat is curled up next to me, purring. This is normal. My rabbit sits alert in the corner, waiting for a carrot. This is also normal. My bookshelves line the walls, full of rich volumes of text and stories that I’ve read a hundred times over – each book sits neatly in line with the shelf edge in true order. This is completely normal.

Yet, my floor is covered in boxes, boxes that I just moved in a week ago. Heaps of clothes lie on top, remnants of yesterday’s sorting spree. A suitcase, already full, sits upright on the floor, waiting for the last minute additions and panic attacks.

2013-05-19_0001

It’s been a crazy week, full of library runs and cooking sprees. Full of afternoon teas with my best friend and goofing off with my sisters. Full of walking outside to fetch fresh herbs from the greenhouse and racing the raindrops back inside. Full of hammering out chords on the piano and rediscovering lost sheet music. It has been full, friends, in so many ways.

Yet I’ve done all of these things with the feeling that it is going by too fast. How is today Sunday? It feels like Wednesday or Thursday. It cannot possibly be the day before I leave, the day before I take off for most of the summer. My brain screams out that this is insanity.

2013-05-19_0002

In the middle of this, in the middle of packing my clothes into the small green suitcase that sits expectantly in front of me, I made a galette. To be more accurate, we made a galette – my best friend and I. It was a Pinterest find that piqued our interest. Thus, we created it in my kitchen, measuring flour and cracking eggs, slicing apricots and chopping nuts.

And what a find. This Apricot Sage Almond Galette is positively elegant. It speaks of early summer, with a touch of the morning chill and the warmth of afternoon sun. The most surprising part is the use of sage, which normally is used in savory, rather than sweet dishes, but in this dessert it finds a home. The contrast of the tart apricots with the sage tempts me to wax poetry and the addition of chopped almonds dripping with sticky vanilla sugar creates a perfect filling. This galette is the peach cobbler’s more refined cousin, and would be perfect served under vanilla ice cream or given a dash of whipped cream. {although admittedly, plain is fantastic as well.}

2013-05-19_0003

 

Apricot Sage Almond Galette

Crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used spelt flour)

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (regular sugar could be substituted, but the vanilla is better. see instructions below)

1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 stick unsalted butter, frozen

1 large egg

1/4 cup milk

Filling:

1/4 cup almonds

4-5 apricots, sliced

6 tablespoons vanilla sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage (5-6 leaves)

1 tablespoon potato starch (or corn starch)

Pinch salt

Topping:

1 large egg, beaten with a splash of buttermilk

Vanilla sugar (or turbinado)

*Vanilla suger can be purchased in speciality stores or created a few weeks ahead of time by storing a vanilla bean pod inside a jar of granulated sugar.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter atop the flour mixture. Working quickly, and using your hands, break the butter bits into the flour until they’re evenly distributed and resemble the size of small peas. Beat together the egg and 1/4 cup milk and add it to the flour mixture. Mix the dough together until it just begins to climb together; if the dough doesn’t hold together, add an extra tablespoon or two of milk.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough a few times until it comes together and shape it into a mound. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it plastic wrap; transfer it to the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour or overnight.

Now for the filling. Chop the almonds, roughly; transfer them to a medium bowl. Add the sliced apricots, sugar, fresh sage, cornstarch and pinch of salt. Toss together and set aside.

Remove the disc from the refrigerator. Heavily flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough, being sure to rotate it every so often so it doesn’t stick, until it reaches a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into one large 13-inch circle (I used a 13-inch plate as a guide). Transfer the dough circle to the center of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reroll the scraps and slice ten-twelve strips that are about 12-inches long and about 1 1/2-inches wide.

Place filling in the center of the dough circle (the original recipe says to leave the fruit juice behind, but I added it and thought it was fine), leaving a 1/2-inch border around the sides. Ensure fruit is in one layer (make it pretty!). Fold over the sides.

Make a lattice by laying the strips on top of each other. Trim edges if necessary and bind strips to base with a bit of water.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Right before entering the oven, brush the top of the galette with egg wash and sprinkle on a bit of the vanilla sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until medium golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack until the galette is room temperature.

Makes one 12-inch galette

 

2013-05-19_0006

Recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen.

Basic Meringues (recipe)

farmgirl-0200.jpg

Meringues have a reputation of being rather difficult to work with. You have to beat the egg-white and sugar mixture until it’s impossibly stiff with a satin-y sheen. However, when creating these little treats over the weekend, I found them to be rather forgiving, and an easy thing to pop into the oven and forget about for three hours. (Yes, three hours. I’m not kidding in the slightest.)

A note on the sugar – I reduced it substantially from the original recipe, going on the rule that each egg-white requires 1/4C of sugar. Because I refuse to put 2+ cups of sugar in a meringue. That’s insane.
farmgirl-0021.jpg
farmgirl-0023.jpg

Plus, they don’t spread, so you can pack as many as humanly possible into a baking sheet. Like above.
farmgirl-0220.jpg

adapted from this recipe

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:1]

Apple Nut Muffins (recipe)

farmgirl-0082.jpg

Whenever I’m watching the two little girls in the morning, I try to whip up something yummy for breakfast. This recipe of muffins splits perfectly into a half-dozen, and can easily be doubled for a large breakfast crowd.

farmgirl-0055.jpg

Ingredients 

1 egg

3/4 cup of milk

1 medium apple (pared and chopped)

1/2 vegetable oil

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 ground cinnamon

Topping Ingredients 

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped nuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put paper inserts into muffin tin. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, apple, and oil. Gradually add the wet mixture to the dry. Fill muffin cups to about 3/4 full. Mix the topping (sugar, nuts and cinnamon) together. Spoon onto tops of muffins before baking. Bake until golden brown for about 18-20 minutes. Immediately remove from pan after baking.

reprinted from Betty Crocker Cookbook, circa 1979-

farmgirl-0066.jpg

Between you and me, I actually forgot to put the apples in, but they were still delicious. I’m sure they’d be even better with the apples. 🙂

Cappuccino Swirls (recipe)

farmgirl-0013.jpg

There’s something magical about baking. Yes, any teenage girl with a sweet tooth and a cookbook could tell you that. In my opinion, the true magic lies in who you’re baking with.

Yesterday, instead of going straight home after work, I went over to my sweet friend J’s house. Last night we were both deliriously tired, but still decided to bake cookies. Thank goodness we chose a fairly simple recipe.

farmgirl-0036.jpg

These cookies are quite amazing, actually. They have the lovely flavour of coffee, but it isn’t overpowering. The white and dark chocolate on top makes them utterly delectable. They’re light and sweet – perfect for accompanying tea, milk, or coffee.  farmgirl-0025.jpg

Ingredients

2 tsp instant coffee

2 tsp boiling water

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (diced)

1/4C  superfine sugar (to make superfine sugar, pulse granulated sugar in a food processor for about a minute-ish.)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tbsp cocoa powder

(for the top)

1/3 cup white chocolate (chopped or in chips)

1/3 cup dark chocolate (chopped or in chips)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put coffee powder and boiling water in a cup together and stir. Essentially, you’re making really thick coffee. Sift the flour, corn starch, and cocoa powder together. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the flour and coffee mixtures. I would recommend using an electric beater to beat them together. It will take a few minutes of beating for the consistency to look right. Ideally, the batter should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes and look a little bit like chocolate frosting. Spoon the batter into a piping bag and use a large tip to pipe it into 18-20 circles on a parchment-lined pan. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Melt white and dark chocolate in separate, heat-proof bowls. For the sake of efficiency, I recommend a double-boiler, or a heat proof bowl inside a small pot of water. Once melted, use a spoon and drizzle one kind of chocolate onto the cookies. Then, drizzle the other kind going the opposite direction.

Note: the white chocolate was a little thick, so we ended up piping ours, but the dark chocolate liquefied much better and we were able to drizzle it.

Enjoy!

(recipe reprinted from The Cookie and Biscuit Bible)