Here in Bordeaux, harvest is in full swing, as are plums. We started with a variety of Italian Prune plum. The oh so petit and feminine Mirabelle were a treat. Then came the Yellow Gage, followed by a plum that resembles the Santa Rosa Plum. The Japanese or Red Plum was more familiar, as were the Greengage, and now finally the Quetsch, a type of Prune Plum. This is a quick hello to share a plum treat that says “open a bottle of wine!”
Summer was busy. From French class to wine studies, tastings and supporting Mark (who’s working crazy hours at a chateau), but I never say no to plums. The first of the season got the juices flowing. Jam, definitely jam to be made. Tartines- warm goat cheese and plum with mint. Plum clafoutis. Several mental notes were made and summer kept flowing.
Then Jamie Schler who owns and runs the Hotel Diderot in Chinon with her charming husband shared a Greengage Plum Galette. She’s produced desserts of every shape and variety for years, a baking maven she is. I had to make one.
Her galette has a sprinkling of slivered almonds, she has a touch for producing outrageous crust every time. Mine, a rustic interpretation overflowed with sweet plums, the tops and edges developing a slight crust from the concentrated fruit sugar.
An optional dallop of vanilla bean ice cream- Mark says “Yes! Always!”
And of course you have to enjoy a glass with your galette. Here are a few that are sure to please.
Vouvray – Whenever you see a Vouvray, you know it’s made from the Chenin Blanc grape. With natural high acidity, it can be made in dry (sec), off-dry (demi-sec), sweet (moelleux), or very sweet (doux) styles. Vouvray is located just east in the mid Loire Valley. The demi-sec style works nicely with this plum galette. This is not a super sweet dessert. You want a wine that is sweeter but not cloying, and with a bit of acidity.
Coteaux du Layon – Perhaps harder to find in the US but worth the look. The Coteaux du Layon region is located in Anjou in the Loire Valley. Again the Chenin Blanc grape provides acidity to balance sweetness in the wine.
Moscato d’Asti – Not only the white but also red version called Brachetto d’Acqui (made from the Brachetto grape).
Sparkling Wine – A glass of bubbly, nice too!
— Greengage Plum Galette —
While Greengage plums are always nice, you can really use any plum you fancy. A recipe adapted from Jamie Schler’s Life’s A Feast.
- 2 cups (250 g) unbleached white flour
- 3 tablespoons (36 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup (25 g) walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
- pinch of sea salt
- 10 tablespoons (145 g) very cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) + 2 tablespoons (30 ml) ice cold water
- 1/2 pounds (750 g) greengage plums, washed, pitted, cut in half, quartered, then quartered again so you have 3/4″ pieces.
- 1/2 cup (113 g) sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, mixed together well (egg wash)
Make Your Dough:
- Place flour, sugar, thyme and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold butter cubes. Using only the tips of your fingers, quickly rub the butter and flour together until it resembles damp sand, and no lumps of butter remain.
- With a fork, quickly stir in the water until a shaggy dough forms.
- Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface and using the heel of one hand, smear the dough little by little away from you in quick, hard strokes in order to make sure that all of the butter is blended in well. Scrape it together once again and knead briefly and quickly, adding more flour if the dough is wet and sticky, until the dough is smooth, homogeneous and soft but no longer sticky.
- Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm enough to roll out without sticking to the rolling pin.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unwrap dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large round disc, about 15 inches (38 cm) in diameter. Lift and rotate the dough, a quarter turn each time, as you roll, flouring underneath it to prevent sticking. Trim the excess dough around the edges to make a 14 to 15-inch (35 cm) round. Carefully transfer it to the parchment-line baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
- Put the sugar, flour, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl, and stir to mix. Add the plums and stir to combine.
- Place filling in the center of your dough and spread it gently and evenly leaving a 2-inch border all the way around.
- In about 8 to 10 folds, carefully fold the dough up and over the filling, each fold slightly overlapping the previous fold.
- Brush the dough all the way around with just a little egg wash.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.