Monday, July 20, 2009
When I told my mother that we had gone cherry picking, she cursed at me. After I told her that we got loads of sour cherries too, she threatened to hang up the phone. In a fit of jealousy, she told me to lose her number and never call her again. You see, sour cherries are her favorite, but she lives in Texas, where sweet cherries must be shipped in and fresh sour cherries are completely unknown.
But the husband and I live a mere two-hour drive from cherry country.
So every summer, we make a point of heading out to the cherry orchards at least once. We pick as many cherries as we can cram into the refrigerator and then some.
Sour pie cherries are always the hardest to find. I know of few orchards that still have sour cherry trees, and they’re usually picked clean by the time we make it out. Luckily, this year we hit the jackpot with several pounds of Montmorency cherries.
I know it’s weird, but I like to eat sour cherries out of hand, maybe even more than sweet cherries. I love their complex flavor and how they make you pucker up—it’s like being tickled, only in your mouth. I had to muster lots of will power not to eat them all at once, so that I could have enough left to make Sour Cherry Galettes.
Schmerber Farms is my new favorite orchard for u-pick cherries, in case you ever happen to be visiting these parts in the summertime. They have eight varieties of sweet cherries, plenty of sour cherries, beautiful scenery, and a very warm welcome.
Sour Cherry Galettes
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons, or more, cold water
1 ¾ pounds sour cherries, pitted
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
Combine the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water and pulse until the dough just comes together. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount together with your fingertips. If the dough holds together, it’s ready. If it’s crumbly, add up to 1 more tablespoon of water and pulse 2 more times. Transfer the dough to a work surface, bring together into a ball, and cut into eighths. Form each portion into a ball and then flatten into a disc. Wrap each disc separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each disc of dough to a 7-inch wide, 1/8-inch thick circle. As you work, transfer the circles to parchment-lined baking trays. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
Toss together the cherries, remaining ¾ cup of sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract in a large bowl. Divide the cherry mixture among the dough circles, mounding it in the center of each one. Fold the edge of the dough over the cherries, pleating it as you go. Refrigerate for another 10 minutes.
Lightly brush the galette crusts with the cream and sprinkle the galettes with the Turbinado sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Makes 8 individual galettes. Work quickly and with a light touch to prevent the butter in the pastry from melting. Serve at room temperature, perhaps with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.