Even though January is ending, I have to say to you happy 2017!! If you see my content on Instagram or Facebook you should probably know I was in an involuntary hiatus. I got an ear infection and ended up breaking my eardrum. It has been one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. And I have a daughter! Don’t get me wrong. I know there are worst things than this. I don’t mean to be some sort of drama queen. But still, it was a quite painful, quite a daunting experience.
Before a bug decided to live rent free on my left ear, I had already shot this delicious galette I wanted to share with you guys as my first post of the year. Simple, sweet and floral, as is the mood after the holiday rush has passed away. I wanted to use citrus because they’re in season. And the filling is a mix of creamy cream cheese with almond meal, you know, for the protein ; )
The crust though has been a happy discovery. I’m using as a base this crust recipe I found in the David Lebovitz fabulous website. I have been following him for anything French-basic-pastry recipes and even his latest cookbook was one of my Mother’s Day gifts. This recipe is different because you use melted butter instead of the traditional cold butter pieces, and you basically end up cooking the dough. The recipe calls for doing the process in the oven, but I didn’t love the idea of bending myself while doing heavy lifting, especially with hot pans. Suddenly I remembered my French oven and though that, if it has the word oven in its name, it will probably be useful here. So I ended up cooking the dough on the stove top. Let me tell you, the process is so easy, you will find yourself doing tarts quite often!
1. You may use mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese if you prefer. Please be kind enough to share with me the results after giving to you this wonderful idea for substitution.
2. If you don’t have a small French oven you may use any non-stick (cast iron, ceramic, Teflon, etc.) deep pot.
3. Even though the recipe for the crust doesn’t call for time in the fridge after being prepared, I went a bit old school and placed the assembled galette in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
4. You may prepare the oranges, make the tart dough and beat the filling while the dough cools down.
12 to 15 slices
Total and active time – 25 minutes
Equipment – parchment paper or silicone mat
Water – 1 ¾ cups
Raw sugar – 1 ¼ cup
Freshly squeezed lemon juice – ¼ cup
Valencia oranges – 2, sliced in ⅛” slices
In a deep skillet combine the water, sugar and lemon juice and heat in medium high. Stir just until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes approximately. After this point do not stir more to prevent crystallization of the sugar. Sink the orange slices and boil for 10 minutes, then turn them around and boil for 10 minutes more. Remove each slice from the water and place over a parchment paper or silicone mat. Sprinkle with sugar and let them cool completely.
Cream cheese and almond meal filling
Total and active time – 7 minutes
Equipment – Standup mixer or electric hand mixer
Cream cheese, softened – 8 oz (1 box)
Raw sugar – ½ cup
Almond meal – ½ cup
Maple syrup – 4 TBSP
Fine sea salt – ¼ Tsp
With a standup mixer with the paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer with the beaters beat the cream cheese for one minute until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat a minute more. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well, 3 to 4 minutes, until everything is well incorporated. Reserve.
Tart Shell (slightly adapted from David Levobitz French tart shell recipe)
Total time – 1 hour Active and prep time – 20 minutes
Equipment – French oven (see recipe notes), parchment paper or silicone mat, baking sheet
Water – 3 TBSP
Unsalted butter – 7 TBSP
Raw sugar – 1 TBSP
Fine sea salt – ¼ Tsp
Unbleached all purpose flour – 1 cup + 3 TBSP flour
1 beaten egg, drizzle of maple syrup, pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 410°.
In a French oven or cast iron pot place the butter, water, sugar and salt and heat it in medium low heat. Cook covered for about 15 minutes, until the butter starts to get brownish and your kitchen smells like popcorn. Retire form heat, dump in the flour and stir quickly, until a ball forms. If after stirring for the first minute you feel the ball is going to be a tad dry, add a tablespoon or a bit more of room temperature water.
Transfer the dough to a silicone mat or a rectangular piece of parchment paper and take out a small ball of dough in case you need to fill any gap. Press the remaining dough with a spatula to form a disk. Let it cool until cool enough to handle.
Using your hands start stretching the dough until you form a roughly 10 to 12 inches circle. You may use a flour-dusted rolling pin if the dough is not stretching well with your hands. Spread the almond cheese filling through the center, leaving a one-inch edge clear. Place on top the orange slices. Carefully close the border of the dough toward the center. Brush the border of the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with some sugar. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the fridge for ten minutes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with a bit of sugar if desired. Let it cool before serving.