Plum Galette with Polenta and Pistachios

Season: Late Summer / Early Fall | Active Time: 30 minutes (not including making the Flaky All-Butter Pie Dough)
Total Time: 2 hours, plus time to cool | Difficulty: 2 (Easy)

The bittersweet feeling I get when summer fades into fall is made sweeter by the appearance of juicy, flavorful, bite-sized Italian plums. They’re a great snacking fruit and even better for baking, since the heat of the oven concentrates their natural tartness, making a bit of added sugar extremely welcome. This plum galette feels simple and elegant in a Call Me by Your Name Italian-ish kind of way. Beneath the fruit is a layer of polenta, toasted pistachios, sugar, and cornstarch, and as the juices from the plums seep down, the polenta hydrates and tenderizes and the whole mixture thickens into a delicious, textured layer that also functions as a barrier between the soft, jammy fruit and the crisp pastry. It’s a keeper of a recipe that should make an appearance at the end of each summer.

Serves 8

⅓ cup shelled pistachios (1.6 oz / 45g)

2 tablespoons coarse polenta or cornmeal (0.6 oz / 18g)

½ teaspoon cornstarch

Pinch of kosher salt

5 tablespoons demerara sugar (2.2 oz / 63g)

Flaky All-Butter Pie Dough (this page)

All-purpose flour, for rolling out

1¼ pounds (567g) small plums, preferably Italian, halved and pitted ①

1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling on top

1 large egg, beaten

Preheat the oven and toast the pistachios: Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Scatter the pistachios on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast until they’re golden and nutty smelling, shaking halfway through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pistachios cool. Leave the oven on, increasing the temperature to 425°F.

Skin and chop the pistachios: Rub the warm pistachios between your fingers to remove any papery skins that may have loosened during toasting and discard (don’t worry about removing every last bit). Finely chop the pistachios. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the nuts and set aside for sprinkling over the finished galette.

Mix the base layer: In a small bowl, combine the polenta, cornstarch, salt, 3 tablespoons of the demerara sugar (1.3 oz / 38g), and the chopped pistachios and toss to combine. Set the polenta mixture aside.

Roll out the pastry: Let the pie dough sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes to soften. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to beat the dough all across the surface to make it more pliable. Dust the top and underneath the dough with more flour, then roll it out, dusting with more flour as needed, into a 12-inch round.

Assemble the galette: Transfer the pastry to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the polenta mixture evenly across the surface, leaving a 1½-inch border all the way around. Place the plum halves cut-side up on top of the polenta mixture, fitting them tightly and overlapping slightly. Drizzle the plums with the 1 tablespoon honey.

Fold up the pastry: Brush the border of the pastry with the beaten egg and then, using the parchment paper to help you, fold the border up and over the plums, leaving the center open and creating a series of evenly spaced pleats all the way around. Press firmly on the pleats to help the pastry adhere to itself, then brush the top of the pastry with more egg. Sprinkle the entire surface of the galette with the remaining 2 tablespoons demerara sugar.

Chill the galette: Transfer the galette to the refrigerator and chill until the pastry is firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Bake and cool: Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown and the plums are soft and jammy, 55 to 65 minutes. ② Remove from the oven and let cool at least 30 minutes.

Serve: Drizzle with more honey and sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of chopped pistachios. ③ Slice and serve.

The galette, covered and stored at room temperature, will keep up to 4 days but is best served on the first day while the crust is still crisp (it will soften as it sits).

① I start looking for Italian plums in early September when they’re just coming into season and tend to be very small and tart. If you wait a few weeks and your plums are on the larger side, just cut them into smaller wedges before arranging them on the tart base. If you can’t find Italian plums, you can use any variety as long as it tastes good out of hand.

② Short of burning the whole thing, it’s pretty hard to overbake a fruit pie or galette, so leave it until the pastry is a deep golden brown. The long bake time allows the juices from the plums to trickle down and hydrate and soften the polenta underneath, creating a sweet, textured layer between the fruit and pastry.

③ Drizzle the baked galette generously with more honey if your plums are very sour, as baking some stone fruit, like plums and apricots, can actually intensify their tartness.

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