- Always check the farm's website or call before you go to see what is available.
- Ask the staff members when you arrive what is good picking. For example, we started off to the black raspberry patch only to find very scattered picking. So after picking about half a pint, we asked which raspberries were the least picked over and we were sent off to the purple raspberry field.
- We were told by the cashier at the purple raspberry field to pick low and inside the bush for best yields. And low and behold, so long as you didn't care about getting a few scratches, it was the motherload.
- Laugh quietly at the obvious newbies trying to cherry pick and who refused to get down on the ground and really dig in. Their reward for not wanting to get dirty was five or six berries rolling around in their pails and obvious looks of disappointment.
Okay, this weekend got a little excessive...some produce from farmers stands also happened to accidentally fall into the car. My favorite farm stand is on Lee Highway out near Warrenton, VA just down the street from the Wegman's... they always have a great variety and the owner is always ready with samples. He also chills samples of his melons and has a very nice Latino guy on hand to serve you whatever you'd like to try.
Then I plopped it all into a shallow bowl, tossed lightly, and then cut the butter as finely as I could, covering all the tiny butter bits with flour. I know I could have used a blender for this job, but I was exhausted from having climbed a mountain earlier and I was at Boy's house, and didn't know where the blender was. He was blissfully sleeping and so I figured I could do it old school with two sharp knives. It was supposed to resemble coarse cornmeal, but mine was decidedly lumpier for lack of patience. I stuck the shallow bowl back in the freezer while I made some ice water. Then I slowly dribbled about 4 TBSP ice cold water into the dough and used a spatula to pull it all together. I ended up having to use extra water, and then figured out that I had added just a bit too much.
So I patted it into a disc, stuck it in the fridge, and made sure that I over floured my surface to account for the extra water. After about 30 minutes, I took the dough out, threw some extra flour on top, and then rolled it out to about 1/8" thick. I then rolled the dough up on my rolling pin, and laid it out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and stuck it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Onto preparing your oven... rack placement was a bit of an issue for me. I was told putting the galette in the bottom third of the oven would yield the best result, but I ended up kinda freaking out because the bottom seemed to be cooking too fast, so I ended up having to move my galette to the top rack and then finish it off with the broiler. When I do this again, I might do the same thing, have one low and one high rack and then switch the galette in the middle. Because the bottom should cook well and quickly in the beginning to avoid the icky squishy pie crust bottom. Long story short, have a low rack and a high rack and then preheat your oven to 400.
Pie assembly is the easiest part. The secret to non-soggy crust is to have some sort of delicious absorptive matter between the crust and the fruit to act as a buffer while the crust cooks. This time, I used about 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans mixed with 1 TBSP sugar, and 2 TBSP flour with about 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Then I layered sliced peaches from the farm stand, topped with another sprinkling of sugar and some chopped nuts, and then carefully pulled the crust sides up over the fruit. You just need to get enough of the crust over the fruit so it will keep it shape. Now, a pretty Alice Waters galette would probably be beautifully crimped with uneven edges pinched off. I am not Alice Waters. I like rustic homestyle baking and think that crimping off uneven edges wastes perfectly good crust. To finish it off before baking, brush some melted butter and sprinkle additional sugar on the crust.