Ground Cherries

Ground Cherry Galette

“Rustic” is not an often used word when describing my baking. I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist both in and out of the kitchen. I’ve been known to remake tiny fondant decorations because I wasn’t happy with the precise shade of blue (in my defence, TARDIS blue is a pretty distinct colour). I think that is why I have been drawn to baking more than cooking. I always found it much easier to just blindly follow a recipe. Part of the goal of this blog was to get me out of my comfort zone, forcing me try new things. I’m always on the lookout for new ingredients these days, tweaking old recipes, and even going so far as to cook without a recipe at all. It is slowly bringing me a confidence I have never had in the kitchen, the knowledge that I can cook something delicious without someone else doing it first. 

Last weekend I was wandering through the markets when I spied a few punnets full of tiny papery husks. I paused, reading the small handwritten label “ground cherries”. They didn’t look anything like cherries to me. I asked the stallholder what they were and she peeled one for me, pulling back the papery husk and offering me the small yellow fruit. It looked more like a yellow cherry tomato and it has a similar texture (though with more seeds). The flavour is subtle, with a distinct tropical vibe. When I got them home I could happily have sat down and eaten them all fresh, but I did want to try and bake something with them. I chose to make a galette, a simple dish that would let the fruit shine through.

I have never made a galette before. I’ve always thought they looked delicious, but wasn’t sure I could cope with something that was designed to be so unstructured.  There is nothing perfect about them; it is the epitome of rustic cooking. You can’t make the edges even, more often than not they will leak, and I just had to be ok with that. Believe me, it was a struggle. But although it did leak and the edges weren’t perfect, when I cut into that crumbly pastry and took my first bite, I couldn’t care less. I still have two-thirds of the pastry in my freezer and can’t wait to make my next galette.

While you can serve your galette any way you like, I highly recommend something like this crème fraiche ice cream if you can – it adds a delicious tang to balance out the sweetness.

Ingredients
Pastry
1 ¼ cup plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
113g cold butter
4-5 tbsp ice cold water
Filling
punnet of ground cherries
½ tbsp cornflour
tbsp caster sugar

Method
First, make the pastry.
Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl.
Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture.
Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly. The largest butter chunks should be no bigger than a pea.
Sprinkle the mix with enough cold water so the dough just holds together.
Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in clingfilm.
Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
In the meantime, husk the ground cherries and cut them in half.
Toss the fruit in a bowl with the sugar and cornflour and put to one side.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 230 degrees.
Roll out the pastry into a rough circle (I only used a third of this pastry recipe for my one little galette).
Pile the fruit in the middle of the pastry circle, leaving at least an inch edge.
Working in sections fold the edges over onto the fruit, pressing lightly to seal.
Brush with melted butter, milk or egg and sprinkle generously with sugar.

Transfer to the oven and turn the heat immediately down to 220 degrees.
After 10 minutes, rotate the galette and turn the heat down again to 190 degrees.
Bake until a deep golden brown (around 30 min).
Cool briefly on a wire rack, but definitely eat while it is still warm. I served ours whole with nothing more than two forks and a big scoop of crème fraiche ice cream.