Plums are in season here in Germany. There are trees dripping with purple fruit everywhere and in our garden this year there are several plum trees that are so large that most of their bounty is beyond our reach. We had two plum trees in our yard when I was a kid and it is one of the first fruits that I can remember, back when I was still rather small, picking and eating myself. At the time it didn’t seem like a fruit to me but something rather tangibly sweet and mushy with a pit that was fun to try to reach and to eat. I don’t remember ever eating plums other than on those rare occasions as a child, so the plum was a mostly forgotten fruit for a large part of my life…
Up until about this time three summers ago, when I was still pregnant with Anna, we were spending a few weeks here in Germany visiting with my husband’s family and it was plum season. I know because I saw plums everywhere. At the market, at the grocery stores, street vendors were pedaling plums, they were baked in cakes and tarts at every local corner bakery, and I had acquired a large portion of them from a nearby fruit stand. Well, with my first bite of that juicy plum I started to remember how the soft, ripe fruit melts in your mouth and then you’re only left with the pit, how you can eat them one after another and the natural sugar’s mellow sweetness lingers on your tongue like candy and how much fun it is to pick and eat them! I was starting to remember the plum that I had know from my childhood.
That summer I had been browsing the internet for plum recipes, specifically for a quick and easy way to use up my plethora of ripe plums and a galette, a sort of free form fruit pie, had stuck out. As it turns out, it was deliciously fresh and fruity with hints of lemon, lots of warm plum and surrounded by a delicately tender yet flaky crust.
I wish I hadn’t made it the summer I was pregnant. I was just starting my third trimester and was preoccupied with many other things and I can’t for the life of me remember anything about where the recipe came from except for the fact that I found it online! I have searched and searched but no other recipes that I have found call for as much fruit, include lemon in both the filling and the crust or have the same simplicity as the recipe I once had a brief summer interlude with a few years back.
I may never know this particular galette again and it’s a pity for its luscious taste still stands strong and true in my mind to this day. However, this plum season with a little luck (and some experimentation of course!) I think the plum galette I recently made may have turned out even lovelier than the one I once knew from summers past. And it was not until I made this fabulous plum galette that my brain started to truly register what it was that I had long ago forgotten about this wonderfully versatile and amazingly tasty stone fruit.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 sticks butter
4-6 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Put the flour and sugar in a food processor and blend to combine. Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces into the flour mixture. Blend until crumbly and the dough just starts to come together. Add 4 tablespoons of the cold water and blend then adding one tablespoon at a time blend until the dough clumps together and forms a ball. Gather all the dough mixture into a ball and flatten into a round. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and put in the fridge for at least half an hour and up to one day while you prepare the filling.
30 – 40 small plums pitted and quarted
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons flour
juice from one small lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
a little milk for brushing on the crust
enough raw cane sugar for sprinkling over the crust
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the plum quarters with all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Roll out the chilled dough so that it will be large enough to hold the plum filling and there will be about 3 to 4 inches of excess dough all around. Place the rolled dough on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Pour the filling in the center and with the remaining edge fold the dough up around the filling covering the entire perimeter of the plum filling. With a pastry brush coat the dough with milk and sprinkle with cane sugar. Bake for 1 hour until the crust is browned and the filling starts to bubble and overflow. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes and up to 1 hour. Serve right away. Any left overs can be stored in the fridge and enjoyed cold too!