I am the queen of rustic desserts, which is a nice way to label desserts that are rather imperfect. The good news is that there is plenty of room for rustic and, yes, imperfect desserts in anyone's repertoire. In fact, most cuisines tout their own homey version of bubbling, squidgy desserts cobbled together with crumpled and crinkled borders oozing juices like a ruptured pipe. They're supposed to do that, and more important, they taste really good.
When one lacks a certain gene for patience and finesse, these desserts are just right. They relieve all pressure to be exacting, methodical and, well, perfect. Once that pressure is removed, there is plenty of space to simply relax, bake and eat. Just be sure to pass the napkins.
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water
6 large plums, halved, pitted and sliced; or 12 small plums, halved, pitted
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Pinch of salt
Prepare the pastry: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and work it into flour with your fingertips until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add enough water to bind the dough. Form the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk, then wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the galette: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the plums in a large bowl with 4 tablespoons sugar, the flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, cardamom and salt.
Roll out the dough on parchment paper into a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Mound the plums over the sugar. Sprinkle the plums with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Fold the border of the dough up and around the plums. (The center of the galette will be exposed.)
Slide the parchment onto a baking sheet and transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove and cool the galette before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
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