Michael James’ Wholegrain Spelt & Blood Plum Galettes

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This recipe is simple: good ingredients used in season, treated with respect, and showcased simply using good technique


This galette lives or dies on the quality of the fruit you choose, so smell and taste before selecting. Perfect for afternoon tea (preferably eaten outside, under a tree), or alternatively serve them with crème fraîche for a rustic dessert.

Ingredients
For the pastry:
• 225g unsalted butter
• 250g wholegrain spelt flour
• 100g plain fl
• 3/4 tablespoon table salt
• 120g crème fraîche
• 2 teaspoons water, chilled

For assembly:
• 6 blood plums
• 90g caster sugar
• 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 100g raw (demerara) sugar

Method
1 Cut the butter into 1 cm (1/2 in) dice and chill it in the freezer while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Sift together the flours and salt onto a clean bench, then scatter the cubed butter over the flours.
2 Use a rolling pin to roll the butter into the flour, gathering the flour in as you go. Keep rolling until the mixture has a crumbly texture, with pea-sized lumps of butter still visible.
3 Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the crème fraîche and water together, then pour them into the well.
4 Use a spoon to gently ‘cut’ the flour into the wet mix until you have an even crumble texture. Using your fingertips, gently push it together into a rough dough. It should have a thick, smooth and slightly sticky texture.
5 Place the dough on a lightly floured bench and roll it out into a rectangle roughly 2 cm (¾ in) thick, with the long edge towards you (exact dimensions are not important here).
6 Fold one-third of the pastry into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, as if folding a letter.
7 Rotate the pastry 90 degrees and roll it out again, into a rectangle roughly 2 cm (¾ in) thick. Repeat the letter fold. Don’t worry about making these folds perfectly neat – this is just to finish bringing the dough together and work the flour a bit.
8 Roll the pastry out once more into a rectangle 2 cm (¾ in) thick, then wrap it in plastic wrap and rest it in the fridge for 1 hour.
9 Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper, into a sheet 4 mm (1/8 in) thick. Return it to the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Lay the pastry out on a lightly floured bench and cut out six 16 cm (6¼ in) discs.
10 Any scraps can be pushed back together, rolled again and cut into discs. Lay the discs on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate them while you prepare the fruit.

To assemble:
1 Slice the plums in half and de-stone them. Leave six of the halves intact, and slice the other six into five slim wedges each. Combine the plum halves and wedges in a medium sized bowl.
2 In a separate bowl, mix the caster sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to create a lightly spiced sugar mix. Add the sugar mix to the plums and toss gently with a spoon so the sugar evenly coats the fruit.
3 Remove the tray of pastry discs from the fridge. Using five of the slim wedges of plum per galette, make a circle 2 cm (¾ in) in from the edge of the pastry, with the thin side of the wedges facing the outer rim of the circle.
4 Fold the 2 cm (¾ in) margin of pastry in towards the centre, over the plum wedges, and crimp the edges together to seal the pastry in place with the plums underneath. This will leave a gap in the centre.
5 Place one intact half of plum here, cut side up. Repeat for the remaining galettes and chill in the fridge for half an hour. While the galettes are chilling, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
6 Remove the galettes from the fridge. Brush the exposed pastry with the lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar. Ensure the galettes are spaced evenly on the tray, with 4 cm (1½ in) between, to get an even bake.
7 Bake for 15 minutes and then check the plums. If they are starting to colour too quickly, loosely place a small sheet of foil over each galette. Reduce the temperature to 165°C (330°F) and bake for another 10–15 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
8 Set aside to cool for 10–15 minutes before serving. They are delicious when still slightly warm, but also good at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Michael James and Pippa James, extracted from The Tivoli Road

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