Thursday, June 21, 2012

Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Galette with Basil Scented Cream

         It’s full-on strawberry season on Long Island and Andrew’s taken another opportunity to wow us with this exquisite galette from Martha Stewart. The flavor and texture of this wonderfully flaky pastry covered in just-picked berries is irresistible.  But the ambrosial whipped cream topping--scented with fresh basil--elevates this dessert to perfection.  And you don’t even need a pie pan to create this free-form tart!  But before we bake, some really fascinating facts--and fiction—about strawberries.

         The strawberry is the only fruit that has seeds on the outside instead of the inside.  The strawberry is actually a member of the Rose family botanically without the thorns and with a lot more to recommend it nutritionally.  Just eight strawberries give you more Vitamin C than that well-known provider of C, the orange.  And strawberries are rich in folic acid, fiber, potassium and anti-oxidants.  The icing on the cake?  No cholesterol, no saturated fats and just 50 calories a serving. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the butter-laden pastry in this galette! 
Venus and Adonis as painted by
         Now for the fiction: The Roman goddess of beauty, Venus fell madly in love with the beautiful Adonis.  Unfortunately, this unleashed the wrath of Mars, the god of war.  Never a good person to arouse in anger, Mars is said to have transformed himself into a boar and fatally attacked Adonis.  Venus, rushing to Adonis' side, was so distraught that her tears merged with the blood of her dying lover.  Together blood and tears dropped to the earth and turned into the heart-shaped strawberry.  That's likely how another legend grew. It's said that if you find a double strawberry, split it in half and give it to the object of your affection, you will immediately fall in love with each other.  So if you’re over, why not head to the market and pick up a couple of boxes and share them with someone.  If they don’t have the desired love effect, at least you’ll be left with strawberries to make this wonderful galette. Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Galette with Basil Cream:
In the interest of full disclosure, Martha tops her finished galette with fried basil leaves.  Comments on her website about this addition mainly centered on how the basil tasted ‘like fried fish skin”.  Andrew didn’t see any real reason to go down that path.  So here they are omitted.   There’s a little resting time involved a couple of places along the way, but you can get this on the table in a little over two hours.
     To make the Basil Cream:
     3/4 cup heavy cream
     1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
     2 tablespoons sugar
     3/4 cup mascarpone cheese

    To make the Dough:
     2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
     1 1/8 teaspoons salt
     1 teaspoon sugar
     8 ounces (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
     1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
     To make the Galette:
     1 pound strawberries, hulled
     1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
     2 teaspoons cornstarch
     1 large egg yolk
     1 tablespoon water
     1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut           in   in small pieces.

First, make the basil cream: Combine cream, basil, and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 2 hours for a more pronounced basil flavor). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add mascarpone, and whisk until medium peaks form. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.
Now make the dough: Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor to combine. Add butter, and pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add ice water, and pulse until just combined (dough will still be crumbly). Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out a 10-inch round, and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Make the galette: Cut strawberries lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Reserve end pieces for another use. Toss slices with 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch, and immediately arrange them in concentric circles on dough. Start 1 inch from edge, overlapping slices slightly. 

Fold edge of dough over berries. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Whisk together yolk and water. Brush dough with the egg wash, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Dot berries with butter. Bake until crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
Transfer to a serving plate. Serve warm with basil cream.