I know it's been an inordinately long time since I've written, and I actually wish I didn't have such a good excuse. But unfortunately I do.
My engagement fell apart (and with it all my happiness and stability and functionality) in a most spectacular and traumatic way back in June, after months of pain and torment – obviously, I wasn't doing much baking during that time, and the aftermath was too filled with tears and logistics and fleeing the country for me to be thinking much about food at all. I was lucky if I could remember/force myself to eat one small meal a day. Needless to say, there wasn't much I could say here that would be anything but depressing, so I stayed away while I tried to pick up the pieces of a life I no longer wanted to live. I moved back to San Francisco and am currently living with my parents while I try to get through this extremely dark time. It's been the most difficult few months of my entire life, and there have been days when, if Morpheus had offered me one pill to keep going and one to stop everything right then, I would certainly have taken the latter pill.
But, and this is important, there have been bright spots. Hours, even a few hours in a row, when I forget how much pain I'm in. And every month there have been more of those hours – this month there have been whole days. It feels like nothing short of a miracle, and I spend a lot of my time waiting for the relapse (there have been many of those, some unbearably long and brutal), but it seems time is finally starting to heal me a little bit.
And then a few days ago, I baked a galette. It hardly counts as baking, since the dough was given to us by a neighbor and my mother prepped the apple-pears, so I literally just tossed the fruit with some sugar and spices, rolled out the dough, and brushed melted butter over the top, but it was a start. And I had a feeling that things might actually be okay one day, far off in the future.
So to thank you for sticking around through my long hiatus, and as I ask you to please bear with me as I continue to gather the shreds of my heart and paste them together with spit and mud – I'm not as sharp as I was before all this, but hopefully that's temporary – I offer you this 'recipe' for an easy free-form galette. It may not be much of a project, but it lifted my spirits and made me believe for a moment that maybe I could patch my life back together with a little patience and melted butter. I hope for you it's at least a semi-pretty and tasty solution to the question of what to serve after dinner with friends.
Free-Form Apple/Pear Galette
Preheat oven to 425F/218C and roll out a portion of previously made and chilled sweet galette/tart dough into a circle.
Slice up a bowl of apple-pears that's been sitting in the fridge for too long, or grab a couple of handfuls of berries, or use a mandolin to make pretty slices of some other fruit you fancy putting in your tart. Toss the apple-pears with white sugar, cinnamon, and clove, to taste according to how sweet your fruit is – if you're using berries toss with a bit of sugar and lemon juice and/or spread some jam on the center of the dough circle.
Pile the fruit in the very center of the dough, leaving about two inches of blank dough at the edges. Cut notches in this border with a knife, working perpendicular to the fruit and making a sort of sun ray pattern with the cuts. Pick up the 'rays' and lay them gently over the fruit, overlapping them to envelope the filling. Brush melted butter over the whole thing, and sprinkle with more sugar if you like.
Bake the tart for 20-30 minutes, until the crust has cooked and is a lovely golden color. Let it cool and serve it with really good vanilla ice cream – that way if it's not perfectly delicious on its own, nobody will notice. Breathe and enjoy your friends instead of worrying about the caliber of your dessert.