Blog Post

Wood-Fired Goodness

Cherries getting ready for the wood fired oven!

Cherries getting ready for the wood fired oven!

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and there’s going to be a whole lot of cooking!!! It is so nice to spend the day outdoors, by the wood fired oven, especially when the weather offers a perfect summer dazzle.

If you are used to a barbecue, you should definitely try cooking in a wood fired oven and taste a most beloved Italian dish: arrosto misto or mixed roast, where different choices of seasonal meat and game are grilled or roasted together, the fire burning the fat to a nice crisp, yet leaving the meat tender. You can for example use pieces of chicken (with the skin), rabbit, pork, beef , and pork sausage.

Use a grill on a stand inside the wood fired oven or a metal pan. Rub a bit of olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and your favorite herbs on the meat, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, laurel, oregano. Place the slower cooking meats in the oven first and then add the ones that cook faster. If you are using a metal pan add a bit more olive oil in the pan, along with more herbs, and optional, juice of one lemon or 1/4 cup white wine.

My favorite at this time of year is a wood-fired rustic cherry galette, and a friend is bringing some amazing Bing cherries so that will definitely be on the menu. Here’s the recipe, enjoy and make sure you take time to slow down and appreciate the company of family and friends.

Wood-fired Rustic Cherry Galette

A delicious wood-fired cherry galette

A delicious wood-fired cherry galette

Pasta frolla or pâte sucrée

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons cold heavy cream

Using a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt briefly, about 4 times. Cut the butter sticks in half lengthwise, turn to the side and cut again lengthwise, then cut in small pieces. I add the butter pieces gradually in three phases, pulsing once in between, so that they are distributed evenly before I pulse everything for 10 seconds.

Lightly beat the yolks and add them with the machine running. Gradually pour in the cream, but the very careful to process only until the dough comes together, at the max. for 30 seconds. Pat dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 month.

Cherry Filling

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods, shelled and seeds removed
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet cherries, such as Bing, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured parchment to a 16 inch long oval (about 1/4 inch thick). Transfer dough and parchment to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the cardamom seeds in a mortar and grind them a bit.

Process the 1/4 cup sugar, the toasted almonds, the cardamom, nutmeg, and salt in food processor. Combine this mix with the cherries. A note of caution when pitting the cherries: use gloves or you will look like the an ax murderer for the day, the juice of the cherries can really stain your hands, as I found out the hard way.

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees F. Spoon the cherry mix over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Dot with butter. Very gently fold the edges inward, if for some reason the dough breaks a little when folding, gently pat it close again. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until cold.

Whisk the cream with the yolk and brush the edges. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons (or to taste) of sugar (I like brown sugar) on top. Slide in a wood fired oven that is cooling down and registering about 400 or 375 degrees F. Leave the door open if you have left the embers inside the oven. Close the door if you are using indirect heat, meaning that you have scooped the embers out of the oven. Check the galette after 20 minutes and if you think it is getting too golden too soon, then cover it lightly with tin foil. Bake for a total of about 30 to 45 minutes.

Buon appetito and enjoy your summer!

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