Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cranberry Walnut Galette

If your Thanksgiving plans aren't already mapped out here's a little stunner of a dessert. Not overly sweet, the bohemian artistry of the freeform crust will distinguish it from all other pies, many of which will be store bought. Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I'm just sayin'...
12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 T. cornstarch mixed with 1 T. water
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup plus 1 T. yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter

Prepare the filling:  Put half of the cranberries into a sauce pan, add 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup brown sugar and bring to a boil.  Once the berries have popped open, stir in the cornstarch/water mixture and boil a bit more until it all thickens up.  Take off the heat and mix in the remaining uncooked cranberries and the walnuts.  Set aside to cool.

Make the crust: In a medium bowl mix flour, 1/3 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 t. salt.  With pastry blender cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in four to five T. ice water, 1 T. at a time, mixing lightly until dough comes to together (dough will feel very dry at first).  Shape into a ball.

On a cookie sheet large enough to roll out a 13" crust yet small enough to fit in your fridge, sprinkle the remaining T. of cornmeal.  Place a dampened dish towel under the cookie sheet to prevent it from slipping while rolling the dough.  With a floured rolling pin, roll dough on cookie sheet into a 13" round. Then with a long metal spatula, gently loosen the dough from the cookie sheet so it doesn't stick.

Mound up the cooled cranberry/nut filling in the center of the dough, leaving a good 2-3 inch border of plain dough all the way around. Then fold the dough up and around the filling, leaving a 4" opening in the center.  It will definitely look home made. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Brush the dough with the egg white and then bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Take it out of the oven, let it cool a couple of minutes, then use that long metal spatula to slide the galette onto your serving plate.

The pastry for this pie comes from the Good Housekeeping Step by Step Cookbook.  They made a cherry galette -- though you could use this pastry and technique for any kind of fruit pie.  Peaches and blueberries woud be a nice mix.  If you use fresh fruit you don't need to cook it first as you do with cranberries.  So if you don't make this cranberry walnut version, keep this galette in mind for next summer.

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