I made a new food friend recently: Rainier cherries. Rainier (pronounced ray-near) cherries have a short early summer season, are well-loved by birds (apparently growers can expect to lose as much as one-third of their crop to our feathered friends each year), and are prized for their sweetness.
Their short season and excellent flavor command a high price tag for the little beauties – they can be as expensive as $5 per pound in the US and as much $1 per cherry in Japan. Yes you read that correctly – a dollar per individual cherry. Yikes. And as you can see, they are not large cherries.
But they are very delicious and easy on the eyes. They have a lovely yellow-and-red hue. I saw a bag at Whole Foods on Memorial Day weekend and grabbed it out of intrigue. Then I made this galette with them, a recipe I’ve had my eye on for the past few months.
And, um, it didn’t disappoint (to make the understatement of the century). The recipe instructed to use an all-butter pie crust, which you know I don’t usually groove on. Usually I need some lard in my pie crusts. But, I decided to be bold and take a leap of faith, and I’m glad I did. It worked; very flaky and just the right amount of toothsome texture. Don’t deprive you and yours of this summery, easy, rustic pie. If you can’t find rainier cherries, never fear – any sweet cherry will do just fine. Enjoy!
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tbs sugar
½ tsp salt
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold
¼ cup ice water
1/3 cup slivered or sliced blanched almonds
1 ½ tsp flour
3 tbs sugar
1 tbs unsalted butter, somewhat softened (just work it in your hand for a minute)
¼ tsp almond extract
1 large egg white
1 pound rainier or other sweet cherries, pitted
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp water
1 tbs turbinado
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into a medium dice (quickly!) and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
Drizzle the water over the flour mixture and use a flexible spatula to gently stir it together until a craggy, uneven mess forms. Knead the dough and any loose bits together, working quickly to warm it as little as possible. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Stick it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Fine grind almonds and flour in a food processor. Mix in sugar, butter, and extract, then egg white. Blend until smooth. Cover and chill until needed.
Preheat oven to 400 F. On a floured work surface, roll the pie dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the almond filling evenly over the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Scatter the cherries evenly on top. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge as you go to make it fit (the center will be open).
Whisk the egg yolk with the water, and brush the edges of the pie dough with the mixture. Sprinkle the crust with the turbinado.
Bake until the filling is puffed and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Rotate the galette once halfway through for even browning. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Then dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve.