In the short time that you have known my husband, Eli, he has rescued a walnut spread from premature death, roasted two fine looking birds, inspired the baking of some very special oatmeal cookies, explained away a baffling batch of flavorless baked goods and, just this morning, expertly glued together the broken handle of the rolling pin I sent crashing to the floor. What a guy. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I married a superhero. Whether it's a glass of spilled milk or an actual matter of life and death you've got on your hands, leave it to Eli to swoop in quietly and save the day.
But lest you think it's all fancy capes and leaping tall buildings around here, let me assure you that even superheros have their flaws. For Eli, it's a weakness for whopping four-pound flats of strawberries sold at remarkably low prices. If such a thing sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. This time of year, these berries hail from faraway Florida. They are gigantic. They are red as can be. With a little imagination and optimism on the part of the sniffer, they do, I admit, exude a faint strawberry scent. But once these berries pass your lips, no amount of positive thinking can make up for their obvious lack of flavor. These so-called strawberries are second-rate stand-ins for the real berries that will make their appearance later in the spring and early summer. Bizarro strawberries are Eli's kryptonite, I tell you. He is powerless against them. And that is how four pounds of the things came to nest on the bottom shelf of our refrigerator. With Eli weak and sheepishly shrugging in the direction of his sorry purchase, what were we to do?
It was my turn to do the swooping.
With a little help from Martha Stewart, that is. Specifically, it was her flawless recipe for pâte brisée that, faster than a speeding bullet, came to the rescue. Incidentally, I do believe that if every convicted felon provided the world with just one irreproachable recipe, we would be living on a very different planet. I'm guessing that there would be a whole lot more pardoning going on. But wait, where was I? Oh yes, I was swooping. Suffice it to say that tossed with a little sugar and salt the berries perked right up. Peeking out from the folds of a crusty galette, topped with a spoonful of Cointreau-spiked whipped cream, the little understudies proved up to the part. Or, I should say, up to the tart! (I couldn't resist.)
Now, if someone would please point me in the direction of the nearest phone booth, I'd really like to change out of these tights.
Strawberry Galette with Cointreau Whipped Cream
For the galette:
1/2 recipe of Martha Stewart's pâte brisée (You can freeze the other half of the dough and save it for later in the season, when you can make a galette with truly glorious strawberries.)
1-2 pounds of strawberries, sliced
2 T. granulated sugar (less, if the berries are in season)
1 t. vanilla
2-3 grinds of sea salt
1 T. flour or corn meal
Powdered sugar for garnish
For the whipped cream:
2 c. heavy cream
2 T. Cointreau
1-2 T. powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like your whipped cream)
Preheat the oven to 375.
Wash, dry (yes, dry), hull, and slice the berries. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle them with the granulated sugar, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir well. So as not to damage the berries, I use a rubber spatula. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to either a baking sheet, or a tart pan. For juicier fruits like berries that tend to leak if given the teeniest tiniest opportunity (in the form of a minuscule tear, for example), I go with a tart pan. When you transfer the dough to the tart pan, instead of trimming the edges, allow the extra dough to flop over onto the counter. You'll be folding these edges in around the berries momentarily.
Spread the flour or corn meal around the entire bottom of the tart to help prevent sogginess. If you're making a free form galette on a baking sheet, spread the flour or corn meal over the entire round, with the exception of a 1-2 inch border all around.
Strain the strawberries, and reserve the syrup. Place the strained strawberries in the center of the dough. You can dump them in every which way, or set them up in rows, or concentric circles. Fold the edges of the dough up and around the berries, pleating and crimping as you go.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the berry juices are bubbling, and the dough is golden brown.
While the galette is baking, whip the cream until stiff. With the beater running, add the powdered sugar and the Cointreau. Whip until stiffer still.
Remove the galette from the oven and brush the top with some of the reserved syrup. Allow the galette to cool, but not completely. Dust with powdered sugar, and serve with spoons of whipped cream.
Posted by Jess