Love the holidays...HATE the frantic pace. One of my favorite flavors of the holidays is cranberry. I eagerly look forward to the happy day every fall when fresh cranberries appear in the stores. They are beautiful, bursting with flavor, and packed with healthy goodness. Another of Nature's jewels.
This is a super-easy dessert, perfect for the holidays. Traditional, yet rustic. Full of flavor, yet light. It can be dressed up or down, adjusted to any and every fruit to suit personal tastes, and is so very satisfying. I borrowed heavily from the Pastry Studio peach galette recipe. I adjusted the nuts and filling to match the season, added some whole wheat flour, and brightened everything with a splash of orange. When a heavy dessert after a big holiday meal seems groan-worthy, this light and bright galette provides just the right note of 'finis' to your lovely get-together.
This is a fabulous dough to work with, one I would strongly encourage you to try if you've been tempted and/or disappointed with other galette recipes (I have a few heart-wrenching disasters I prefer to keep to myself at the moment). Although the instructions seem endless, it is really one of the easier dessert recipes I've made. The dough stays together and isn't too sticky or fragile. This is one I will be coming back to again and again.
The galette is my idea of the 'just right' type of dessert. It satisfies that end-of-the-meal craving for something sweet, yet isn't heavy or cloying. I think it has just the right balance between fruit, crust, and a few touches of 'healthy', such as the whole wheat and nuts. A small piece won't ruin any balanced meal plan that is reasonable enough to include those occasional treats that keep us on the straight and narrow (and also keep us sane).
I bought some hazelnut flour this past weekend, and can't wait to tweak this recipe just a bit more in the future, using more of the nut flour, possibly subbing out some of the butter with some hazelnut oil, and trying some different fillings. The quest for better-for-you deliciousness continues.
For the time being, 'simple' and 'easy', yet oh-so-divine, seem a perfect antidote for this oh-so-frantic (and sometimes just too darn heavy) time of year. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
Cranberry Orange Galette:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (for the dough)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (for the garnish)
1 tbs sugar (for the garnish)
1 tsp sugar (for the dough)
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup whole wheat pasty flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 ounces unsalted butter, cut in very small cubes, very cold
1 egg yolk
3 tbs ice water
2 cups fresh cranberries
zest of one orange
juice of one orange
4 tbs natural sugar (more to taste)
1 tbs flour
Egg wash for garnish:
1 tbs water
pinch of salt
Toast the walnuts in a 350 degree oven for about 5 to 8 minutes until they are just browned and giving off a lovely toasted aroma. Turn out onto a cutting board, and spread out to cool slightly. Chop the walnuts into small pieces. Take 1/4 cup of walnuts and mix with 1 tbs sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Set aside for the garnish.
For the dough, place the flours, 1 tsp of sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup chopped walnuts in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground into the flour mixture. Add the very cold pieces of butter (I cube mine at the beginning of the recipe and pop into the freezer until needed) and pulse until the mixture has the appearance of coarse meal--a few larger pieces of butter will be visible. Place the egg yolk in a small bowl, and lightly beat. Whisk in the ice water to the yolk, and add this to the dough mixture, pulsing carefully until the dough just begins to come together into clumps and there are no dry patches of flour.
Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, and bring the dough quickly together (using the wrap between your hands and the dough), forming into a flat disc. Try to make the disc as near a circle as possible, as this will make rolling out the dough into a nice circle that much easier. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (I left mine in for several hours). Proceed with the rest of the recipe once the dough is cold enough.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Place a large piece of parchment paper on the counter, and dust lightly with powdered sugar, flour, or cornstarch. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place onto the floured parchment paper. Place the plastic wrap from the dough over the top, centering the dough below in the center of the wrap. This keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Slowly roll out the dough into a large, 14-inch circle, working from the center out, slowly rotating the disc to get an even progression of dough spreading out beneath the plastic wrap. Slide the parchment paper with the dough onto a flat baking sheet, and place the whole thing back in the refrigerator to cool while the filling is assembled (yes, this resulted in some serious re-arranging inside my fridge as well).
For the filling, place the cranberries in a medium-sized bowl, and sprinkle with the sugar and flour. Zest one orange directly over the bowl (so as to catch all the wonderful oils) and add the juice of one orange. Mix well, making sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and arrange the filling in the center, leaving nearly two inches of border at the edge. Make sure the filling is evenly layered on the dough. Using the edge of the parchment paper (keeping the paper between your fingers and the dough), slowly fold up the edge of the dough, folding and tucking about every three inches as necessary. Place back into the refrigerator while you make the egg wash. Lightly brush the egg wash over the edge of the galette, then sprinkle with the nut/sugar mixture, making sure to evenly distribute the nuts.
Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned and the filling is cooked through. Be careful not to overcook as the nuts on the edge of the galette may burn. Cool for 15 minutes. Garnish with mascarpone cream, whipped cream, a small scoop of ice cream, or whatever tickles your fancy.