Cherry season in Toulouse is early – one year I missed it entirely as it just kind of creeps in, slips onto supermarket fruit and veg shelves in the dead of night, then before you know it, they’ve been there for weeks coolly filing their nails and concealing yawns. I’m sorry guys, you’re just annoyingly inconspicuous. If you were more like peaches with their embarrassing roly poly glut and intoxicating syrupy scent, I would have noticed you weeks ago. But let me make up for lost time and make a cherry and almond galette.
I must admit, this galette doesn’t exactly redeem me considering I used (in a barely audible whisper) frozen cherries (avoiding all eye contact, casual whistling).
But maybe this can convey my exact frustration with cherries – when you don’t want them, they are found in heaving groaning piles at the market, then when you do, you have to traipse to the freezer aisle because fresh have suddenly become extinct. The same can be said for an outfit to wear to a wedding and eligible young men. Although the latter two are unlikely to be found in the freezer aisle.
I actually made this cherry and almond galette weeks ago, when the summer was just getting started over the May bank holiday weekend. One day I was out in a coat (or should I say ‘coatigan’ – a fetching number that resembles a light soft coat), the next in a floppy hat and sandals. The best word to describe Toulouse’s summer so far is flighty (also humid, sweaty, angry – there’s been confusion all round). May was a mess and then June has been downright moody so far, until today.
Right now, the apartment is cool – there is at least one upside to the fact I wore gloves inside throughout the winter – yet outside I know the heat will hit me like a furnace, so dry and ready to crisp me. Now is the time for summer cherries.
Last week my friend Suzie came to visit. Gaylord and I love having guests as it’s an excuse to eat, to feed them well and Gaylord will always make us really excellent mojitos. So, please, come and visit! Suzie and I spent most of our time in different cafes and bars, then walking between said cafes and bars, but one evening we decided to spend the evening at home. There we did nothing more than sit on the sofa, eating brown butter ice cream and fresh cherries out of the punnet as we watched Inside Out. It was perfect. Finally, the summer and the cherries are behaving. So, it’s time for a cherry and almond galette.
Easy Cherry and Almond Galette
If you’ve never made a galette before, honestly, I think they will change your life. They are the pastry showstoppers for lazy people (or should I say as is the case, for most of us, people who are so busy they have no time to make a fiddly fancy almond and cherry tart).
First thing’s first for this cherry and almond galette – you don’t need to make the pastry. Shop-bought will do. In recent years, I’ve become a ready-made pastry snob, I really have. There is something strangely savoury about its flavour. However, I was feeling exceptionally lazy the day of the cherry and almond galette. I was about to travel back to the UK, I had a list as long as my arm, my legs and my body to sort before my plane took off, and making puff-pastry wasn’t one of them. So, I bought a roll from my local Monoprix. And it really was my saving grace. It was even already rolled into a circle shape for me!
Convenience aside, the pastry flavour turned out to be perfect – buttery and crisp, with no weird savoury notes. Maybe it was the act of turning it into a parcel, soaking up all those sweet cherry juices, but whatever the reason, it became the perfect casing for my galette.
Next, the centrepiece – the cherries. Yes, let’s go for frozen. Again, it made life easier. While a fresh cherry galette sounds very south of France, pitting 250g of fresh cherries is not everyone’s idea of a productive afternoon and it’s certainly not mine. You may have come here for French recipes and the joie de vivre, so I’m sorry about that, but at least I can promise you an easier life.
Technically this cherry and almond galette needs only five ingredients – cherries, sugar, pastry, almonds and egg wash. And I read that as code to mean it’s a very easy, very convenient sweet treat to end a meal. One that looks exceptionally glamorous too in a kind of rustic dishevelled way.
I cut slices for me and Gaylord – they were quarters, I won’t deny it. We ate them with a mound of crème fraiche on top, mine spiked with a drop of almond extract because I love cherry Bakewell, and this is I suppose a French-meets-British kind of dessert. Soon our spoons were slowing us down and Gaylord held his wedge like a pizza, jammy cherries slipping off and onto his plate. The cherries were dark and winey, the pastry crisp yet soft in the centre, and it tasted like a massive cherry turnover you could get from the bakery.
Celebrate cherry season with this easy cherry and almond galette and maybe those moody cherries on the supermarket shelves will cheer up a bit.
Easy Cherry and Almond Galette
- 250 g pitted cherries I used frozen but feel free to use fresh
- 55 g sugar
- 230 g puff pastry ready-made
- 1 egg beaten for egg wash
- 5 g flaked almonds
- Icing sugar and crème fraiche to serve mixed with a drop of almond extract if you wish
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 150g of the cherries with the sugar and cook for around 2 minutes to release their water, stirring regularly until the cherries defrost. Once the cherries start to break down, lower the heat and cook until the mixture is thick and jammy, around 5-10 minutes.
- Add the remaining 100g cherries to the jammy compote and stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes to defrost, then remove from the heat so they keep their shape. Leave to cool as you roll out the pastry.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a rough circle. Line a baking tray with baking paper and gently lift the pastry onto it. It doesn't matter if the edges are hanging off.
- Pile the cherry compote into the centre of the pastry circle, spreading it out so it's a flat layer of cherries. Make sure you leave a 5cm border around the fruit.
- Fold the edge of the pastry over the cherries in segments. It will look messy but that's good, it's a messy looking tart. Go around the tart folding over the segments of pastry so they are overlapping covering the edges of the fruit.
- Brush the pastry all over with egg wash then sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Slide the tray into the oven and bake for 20-25 mins until the tart is crisp and golden, and the cherries are leaking some juice.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. Eat with crème fraiche flavoured with a tiny drop of almond extract if you wish.