I think many of you would likely agree when I say that, I love being in the kitchen. Standing in the kitchen just feels good, right. I love the ritual of washing hands, putting on a clean apron and setting about what ever it is with purpose. I will happily spend all day there working away, listening to music or pod casts with my camera at the ready.
There are many reason why this room appeals to me, not least of which is its openness to possibility. I love it early in the morning when I am making my first cup of coffee and I love it on those warm evenings with the windows wide open and a gentle breeze stirring as I cook. It is a room where magic can happen. A room where people seem to gather as if seduced by some ancient attraction to heat and fire. In my kitchen laughter happens, serious discussions happen, bottles of wine are opened and savored, food is prepared, tasted, shared, memories exchanged. There is a tiny black stool in my kitchen which has traveled with me to several apartments, countries and continents. Inevitably if someone is in the house they will end up sitting on this short little stool in my narrow galley kitchen –
But also my kitchen is a space of mediation, for me alone. I can practice, think, breathe and explore. I might be making a dish I have made so many times before that the act of preparing it has nearly become ritual. I might be trying to recreate the flavors of something I had while traveling, working to bring back my memory of that place. Or, I could just be experimenting- prodding, needling at some ideas in my head. I love thinking about how things might, would, could fit together, work to create harmony and something new. Sewing bits of one recipe into another is possibly my most favorite type of work in the kitchen.
This recipe for a plum and thyme galette with spelt crust was born from an afternoon of this sort. Plums in England are beautiful this time of year -they transition from late summer into the autumn and seem to gain an intensity and sweetness when other produce like tomato and eggplant seem to wane. It is not a sweet dessert and lies somewhere closer to a savory – serve it with a little creme fresh for something even more decadent.
The spelt crust is flaky and light but needs to be handled with a bit more care than normal pastry crust – its is crumbly at times and delicate. Make sure you let it chill properly and take care when rolling it out. Its has such a wonderful texture thought, its worth a tiny bit of extra attention.
Plum & Thyme Galette with Spelt Pastry
For the Crust
315g spelt flour
185g unsalted or lightly salted cold butter
1/3c ice water (likely you will only need around 2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp raw granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
For the Filling
500g fresh plums, pitted stoned and sliced into 1/4″ slices
4 large thyme sprigs, de-stemmed
3 tbsp good quality olive oil
2 tbsp of dark brown sugar
1 tbsp spelt flour
1/4 tsp each of freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg
2tbsp fresh whole milk
Preheat your oven to 190c / 375f
combine the flour, sugar, salt and mix. Cut butter into small 1/4 cubes. Scatter butter cubes over the flour mixture and rub together with your finger tips to combined – it should be the texture of a very course sand – a few larger pieces are ok. Then make a small well at the center of the dough and slowly add cold water, mixing well as you go until the dough just comes together into a soft ball. *you will likely need only around 2-3 tbsp of the water but its good to have extra on hand in case. Once the dough is just combined, tip it out onto a flowered work surface and gently form into a disc. Then wrap it tightly in parchment paper and a clean dish towel and refrigerate – at least 1hour but up to 24. R
Remove from refrigerator aprox 20 minutes before you plan to roll it out.
While your dough chills
prepare the plums and add them to a large bowl with the thyme, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss gently to combine and then add the olive oil. Toss well and sprinkle with the flour bit by bit until it is well combined.
Roll out your pastry onto a cool, lightly floured work surface. Working from the middle of the dough gently roll out into a disc shape, taking care that is the same thickness throughout. It should be around 15-18 inches. Then, transfer the dough with the help of the rolling pin and lay it out on a parchment lined baking pan. Add the plum mixture, taking care to drain off any excess juice/oil and spoon on top of the crust. There should be about 1.5/2″ between the fruit and the edge of the galette.
Starting from one side, gently fold over the edges of the dough to form a pretty boarder around the fruit.
Gently brush the pastry with the whole milk.
Bake approximately 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet around once. The crust should be browned and the fruit soft. Timing may vary based on your oven