From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Roger's orchard usually comes to life when the peaches ripen. Families weave and bob through the trees, gathering fruit for winter storage and when their buckets are full and dutifully weighed, the children are allowed to escape for one last scavenge of the blueberry bushes. It's a bit different this year. Things that once moved at a mazurka pace have slowed to a waltz, and the place, which normally buzzes with conversations in languages that span four or five countries, is strangely quiet. Roger and his wife, Sharon, both died this year and the farm seems to sense their absence. I guess it's fair to say, that there are some shoes that are just too difficult to fill. I wrote about Roger and Detering Orchards several years ago. If you have time that post can be found here. It will help you understand why this quiet constant man was held in such high regard by his community and people who knew him. If the way we are laid to rest is a measure of our worth, Roger was a wealthy man and his life bore fruit far sweeter than his trees. Roger was buried on a sleepy summer day and his memorial service was attended by 500 of the 3500 people in his town. Among the mourners were Old Order Mennonite women and members of a motorcycle club dressed in full leather gear. Those courageous enough to brave the microphone and speak before the crowd lent credence to a life that was marked by love and the human fruits he bore. Roger was a one man WPA and employed most of Harrisburg's teenagers at one time or another. And, according to his son, it wasn't just the kids. “He kept a lot of people around even though it wasn’t a benefit to the business.” Roger understood they needed the dignity of work and he was happy to carry them. Neighbors never paid for fruit and better than half the people at the service had received free fruit and vegetables when times were tough. Despite all this, he was a successful businessman and understood the value of money. He just put it in a different perspective than most. He gave generously to his alma mater, Oregon State, and faithfully supported youth scholarship programs. Roger never recovered from his wife Sharon's death last summer, and it really weighed him down. One of his daughter's described her mother's death as a frost too cold for him to bear. His own passing was mercifully quick. He died of a heart attack, just a quarter mile from the house where he was raised, but "the lives he touched are reminders that you don't have to travel far to make a difference in the world."
We were at the orchard this weekend and I came away with ripe cherries, near perfect peaches and some lovely memories. I thought this galette, which is based on a recipe from Baking with Julia, would be a perfect way to use them. A galette is nothing more than a free-form pie and they are very easy to make, if you remember to keep your pastry cold. This is simple, lovely and quite delicious. I hope you will give it a try. Here's the recipe.
Ripe Peach and Cherry Galette...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite Inspired by Baking with Julia
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup ice water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups sliced ripe peaches (peeled and pitted)
1 cup sweet cherry halves (pitted)
2 tablespoons cherry jam
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
water for brushing
1/2 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1) To make the dough: Mix sour cream with water and set aside. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until it looks like coarse sand. Add sour cream water mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork. Only add what you need to get the dough to come together. Bring dough together and separate into two balls. Flatten into discs and save each in plastic wrap. Chill for 3 hours or up to 2 days.
2) To prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a 16-inch pizza pan with parchment paper. Roll out dough to 13-inch circle, using a generous amount of flour to prevent sticking. Transfer dough to parchment covered pizza pan. Spread jam in a 9-inch circle in center of dough. This is the are that will contain the filling. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Arrange fruit over jam and crumbs, leaving a 4-inch rim. Sprinkle granulated sugar over fruit and dot with thin slices of butter. Pleat margins by folding sections toward center of galette. Each fold will create a new corner that should be folded to partially cover fruit. Brush dough lightly with water and sprinkle turbinado sugar over crust. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until pastry is golden and fruit is tender and bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Best eaten as soon as possible. Yield: 1 9-inch galette.
Photo courtesy of Spatulas, Corkscrews and Suitcases.
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