If any fruit can best be described as precocious, it’s got to be the apricot, or at least that’s what its etymological roots claim. As of late, I’m mildly obsessed with Bon Appetit‘s “Eat Your Words” series, which extrapolates the origins of the names of various foods. The word “apricot” has the same roots as the word “precocious”, largely due to its ripening earlier in the season than other stone fruits. In my opinion, apricots’ early maturation couldn’t come soon enough.
All spring, I’ve been taunted by my favorite food blogs, most of whom have been featuring recipes that incorporate the freshest fruits and berries of the season. This is great, but there’s a catch: most of these bloggers are based in southern California, where fruits ripen substantially earlier that they do up here in Washington. See my dilemma? However, my patience has finally paid off with the appearances of the season’s first apricots and cherries at the local farmers markets. Their most welcome debut could not come soon enough.
Now that the long-awaited apricots are here, what to do with them? I’m all for snacking on them as-is, though that would likely result in their disappearing in a startling short amount of time. So as to maximize everyone’s enjoyment of them (and prevent my own raw apricot binge), let’s bake those precocious little treasures up. Because the lazy days of summer are upon us, what better vessel for a couple of pounds of fresh apricots than a good ol’ lazy pie AKA a galette? This will be the apricots’ time to shine, so other than a couple of spices and a nice, flaky buttermilk crust, we’ll not be doing much for them, and that’s OK. Being the early-in-the-season overachievers that they are, I’m sure the apricots can handle it.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (optional: substitute 1/2 cup all-purpose for 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. buttermilk, separated
1 Tbs. raw or granulated sugar
2 lbs. apricots, pitted and halved
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1/3 cup rolled oats
To Make the Crust:
In a large bowl, combine the flour(s), salt, and butter. Using either a pastry blender or your fingers, blend the butter into the flour until it’s reduced to pea-sized pieces and the mixture resembles course oatmeal. Create a small well in the center of the mixture, and add about half of the 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Using a large spatula, combine the buttermilk and flour mixture. Continue adding the buttermilk, about 1 Tbs. at a time, until the mixture comes together in a shaggy ball. You may have to use your hands to get it all to stick together. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
To Make the Filling:
In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, oats, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Using a fork, mix all of the ingredients until well-combined. In a large mixing bowl, add the halved apricots. Pour the brown sugar mixture into the apricots, and gently stir to coat the apricots in the sugar mixture. Allow to sit for about ten minutes before filling proceeding.
To Bake the Galette:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Roll out the chilled dough into a rough circle about 12″-14″ in diameter. Transfer the rolled-out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I suggest using a baking sheet with raised edges that will trap any apricot juices that escape your galette. Pour the apricot mixture into the center of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough over the apricots, pinching the creases of the dough and leaving the center of the galette open. Brush 2 Tbs. over the crust, then sprinkle with either raw or granulated sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the crust is golden-brown and the apricots are tender. Allow the galette to cool on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!