Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Apple, rhubarb and strawberry galette

These past few days we've been fortunate enough to be graced by the sun's glorious rays. It's as if the sun is teasing us, like an ice cream man handing out free samples of the delicious treat that won't be out until a few months later. But all the kids are happy and all the adults feel like kids again. Nobody's complaining (except about the seemingly eternal wait) and we're all making the most of it. But I'm afraid I've been feeling to indulgent, almost tricking myself to believe that it is the summer holidays again. I even picked up a book that's been on my bedside since March, neglected due to other more pressing matters. I realised, leisure reading is such a luxury. But I should do more of it. Take a breath in between the articles over articles that my head's been swimming in. I should make it a point to read every night before bed, even if it is just one page. 

I took a stroll at the park two days ago. The sun glaring down in between the scattered curtain of clouds traveling by. Only then did I realise spring has truly arrived at our doorstep. The flowers are so beautiful, red and yellow and white and blue and all the colours in between, shamelessly exhibiting themselves in this breathtaking gallery, fishing for compliments and praises. All these efflorescence that I know not the name of. They're here to shine and I gladly give them my attention. 

There's truly something in the air in spring. Something promising. Something exciting. Something sweet. Something that makes me want to spring up from my chair, hop out from the cave that's been my home for the wintering months. It's like fireflies that have been hibernating awaking one by one, and all flying in a circle around me, then guiding me towards the door, towards the warmth. Haha I don't even know if fireflies hibernate, or if they fly towards the light. It seems more possible that they fly in the opposite direction of light. But you know what I mean I'm sure, these magic dusts in the air, playfully pulling me. 

These first four days of mid-semester break, I've allowed myself to be pulled. How wonderful it was, to spend the half a day plonked on a park bench feeding myself the most tart lemon tarts ever (recipe coming soon!). How wonderful it was to be plonked a park bench without freezing to death! How soul nurturing it was to spend the day stirring the pot of pumpkin soup; to be caressed by the rice flour in my palms as I transferred it into a second pot that is filled with grated turnips; to sing along my sister the songs of Little Mermaid and be transported instantly ten, fifteen years back; and to fold the sides of a pastry origami containing ruby jewels of juicy sweet fruits. 

I suppose I should share this pastry plate of red gem with you! It was the first time I baked with rhubarb and what made it more special was that these stunning stalks were from my own garden! Ok, I admit, I didn't plant it, I wasn't the one that nurtured it, and I only knew about it when my mum told me to make something from it, but still! But oh, it's got such a lovely tang. It is true. You food people know it. It does go beautifully with strawberries and apple. And of course I added a squeeze plus more of lemon juice to it! (I seem to be adding lemon juice and zest to everything these days!) I devoured this glorious galette with some Greek yoghurt and it was delicious. Here's the recipe :)

[Apple, rhubarb and strawberry galette]

80g butter
45g raw sugar, blended
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla essence
zest of 1 lemon
165g unbleached all purpose flour
pinch of salt 
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp cold water 

8 little stalks of rhubarb, chopped 
2 medium apples, diced
a handful of strawberries 
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp golden syrup 
1 tbsp cornstarch 

1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. 
2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until well mixed. 
3. Add the lemon zest and mix well. 
4. Add the flour and salt and beat on lowest speed until it begins to come together. 
5. Add in the water and continue beating gently until the dough comes together. Jude Blereau said the dough should be 'firm but not hard, soft but not moist'. 
6. Form into a ball and flatten. 
7. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

8. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray.
9. Roll out dough into a disc about 3mm thick. Place on a baking tray.
10. Combine all ingredients for the filling. 
11. Pile filling onto the middle of the disc. Fold the sides of the pastry up. Take care not to fold the pastry over itself as this will make the pastry too thick and it will not cook properly. 
12. Sprinkle the pastry with raw sugar.
13. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then turn down the temperature to 180C and bake for a further 30 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it and if the pastry is browning too quickly, reduce the temperature of your oven. 
14. Serve, with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt. 

Recipe adapted from Wholefood Baking by Jude Blereau (So in love with this book!!)

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