This past weekend Luke and I were fortunate enough to get invited to lunch in Napa at a family friend’s home. Although I wish this was a normal occurence, we don’t normally “lunch” in Napa – so we jumped at the chance to spend the day up in wine country.
The drive alone is worth the visit. Even if you don’t get out of the car, you still feel like you are on vacation (although I strongly encourage you to get out of the car and drink some vino) As we drove up through the vineyards, we passed The Fremont Diner. I had never been before so I made Luke stop.
The Fremont Dinner is an old-fashioned diner between Napa and Sonoma. According to their website, it “is a place where serious Southern food is done with distinct local sensibility” Sold. Sign me up.
Since we were going to lunch I passed on the fried pie (I know!) and instead got a Horchata Milkshake. Have you ever heard of Horchata? I hadn’t until I tried this milkshake. Amazing. It is a Mexican drink made with almonds, rice milk and cinnamon. It basically tastes like a snickerdoodle liquified.
After the Fremont Diner, we spotted cherries for sale on the side of the road and (again) I had to stop. Local cherry season is a pretty short so for the next couple weeks I will be eating as many cherries as humanly possible. ( I am actually snacking on some as I write this post)
After a beautiful day in wine country we returned home with some seriously full bellies and 2 lbs of fresh cherries that needed to be eaten.
I recently purchased the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook so I decided to put the cookbook to the test and make her Sweet Cherry and Almond Galette. The galette (which is a fancy word for a freeform tart or pie) is really rustic and seriously delicious. Also it is easy, which is always important after a day of drinking wine.
It is sweet pastry dough, topped with an almond paste, topped with fresh cherries. Easy peasy. The galette is supposed to be freeform and rustic but I think I took that to a whole new level with the way I rolled out that dough. But the best part – it didn’t even matter.
Since cherries have an affinity for almonds, I decided not to pit the cherries. I know – what was I thinking? Someone could choke or break a tooth! Trust me on this – the galette is better if the pits are left in – not to mention a whole lot easier to make. The collateral damage is worth it.
There is something about a cherry cooked with the pit that brings out all sorts of almond deliciousness. If your husband’s boss is coming over, I probably wouldn’t serve this because it is slightly hazardous, but if it is friends, family or basically anyone you are comfortable showing your chewed food to – do it. It is how the French do it…just saying.
This galette was delicious -Smitten Kitchen never disappoints – between the almond filling and the sweet roasted cherries, it is summertime wrapped up in some dough.
Sweet Cherry and Almond Galette
from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
- 1 egg white
- 1 pound sweet unpitted cherries
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting.
Make pastry or store-bought puffed pastry would work. Here is a great recipe for pastry dough.
Make filling:Finely grind almonds and flour in a food processor. Mix in sugar, butter and extract and then the egg white. Blend until smooth. Cover and chill until needed.
Pre-heat over to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12 ” round. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread almond filling evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2″ border. Scatter cherries on top. Fold the border over the filling- pleating the edge to make it fit. Whisk egg yolk with water, brush crust with mixture and sprinkle crust with coarse sugar.
Bake galette until the filling is puffed and the crust is golden about 30 – 40 mintutes.
Eat, spit out the pits, repeat.