Seasonal Eating | About the Mammey Apple, The Galette and A Recipe (Mammey Apple Galette) in Development
Adventures in this kitchen. This kitchen is for love. It is for noticing the light that comes in. It is about cooking from the heart, not from some place of knowledge. Because if it were the latter God knows I would cook nothing at all. Here it has nothing to do with my mind and I am guided by feeling. This kitchen has become this place where I am free. Free to be creative. Free to fail. Free to live.
What I create here is purposeful, wholesome, affordable, nourishing, feel good food and that I can taste, and that is what drives me when here.
Here I clean and keep clean. Washing the wares as they are used. Simply because that feels good.
It is where I remove, dismount the easily retractable curtains by the kitchen window every time I set up to use this space by the window here. It is where light makes me smile and stops me in my tracks simply because it feels good.
It is where I connect with every part of me that feels disconnected.
This is just what my story is today. I have realized that creatively enters my kitchen as deliberately as I practice it daily behind my lens. My time in the kitchen is as emotionally fulfilling as my time behind my lens. All my internal dialogues stop. The chatter ceases. The back and forth, all the voices in my head know they are not welcomed here. I do not even have to warn them to leave me be. Like a soucayant counting salt at the cross roads my minds chatter is busy, preoccupied silently counting grains of salt, leaving me be in my happy place. Here I find clarity. If I do think...it's building. It's me figuring thing out.
Here is where I build on a feeling, creating something tangible out of something intangible, a flavour, any combination of available items I pull out of the cupboard, gets molded together into something I am either extremely proud of or something that I learn from.
I am no cook. I am simply a person who found something more meaningful to spend hard earned money on and realized that one of the most economical things to do since then was to start cooking home cooked meals.
I committed to cooking a meal each weekday afternoon since November last year. Some days meet me too tired ('cause I have also committed to more fitness, and attempt to exercise more regularly than not), otherwise occupied or simply just feeling for a good ole curry lunch from Monas', and so I do not cook.
I always enjoyed cooking when I do. because of how I do it.
I ensure I pre-game, pre-plan and prep. I ensure my time labouring over meals is everything but that. I ensure I do not cook when tired.
It is no surprise that I admit openly to love putting together meals, regardless if the cook fails miserably or not. Growing up my role as a child was sous chef and dish washer. I rarely made whole dishes or meals, but to cut perfect cubes and slices...and clean up sinks full of wares...I was your girl.
Seasons as they passed, changing produce available only by season in the markets and whatever the land offered guides my cooking. I prefer simple light meals, where I can taste the flavours. I prefer organic over anything else. I prefer light or no processing over processed foods. I prefer salt, and pepper and spices and fresh herbs to taste rather that pre-packaged flavour packed cubes.
Keeping in stock bow tie pasta, quinoa, provisions, lentils, green pigeon peas, channa and split peas, saltfish and minced meat in my fridge and pantry formed the backbone for all the meals I would since make. This together with salt, black pepper, cardamon seeds, turmeric, pimento pepper flakes, paprika, geera, curry powder, pumpkin and mixed spices, coconut milk powder were crafted into most of the meals I enjoy cooking today.
Enter Mammey Apple (a fruit that has easily confused for the Mammey Sapote) into my life...I do not want to say I've never had it but I believe I have never had this fruit up until last month.
Memory is a funny thing. The way we remember things and the things we don't. It is why I am careful to say that I do not remember having this unusual and somewhat uncommon fruit ever up until April this year.
It is the beginning of June and the Mammey Apple is still in season here in Trinidad, it has been available for most of the last month and in abundance. As per usual in the office, it appears. As does many other fruits that are in seasons as the year progresses.
A coworker has access to a couple trees...and day after day he brings for us to share. We usually get snack-ish twice during the work day, mostly mid am and mid-afternoon and it is the usual time when we start searching the office for whatever snack or fruit is available. As of late, we've been eating a lot of Sapodilla, Climate and now Mammey Apple, a mango or two is also beginning to trickle through our office doors.
Firstly he tells us about the massive tree. How tall it grows and the unusual oval shape of the tree as the branches, they do not reach out but up.
In my opinion, the fruit is delicious. I've met some who've preferred not to indulge, stating not to like neither the flavour or texture.
I appreciated both. It reminds me of a combination couple fruits, each for different reasons. An apricot, a peach... a cantelope and also a firm half ripe mango.
Then he describes the fruit, going on about the fruit and it falling, explaining that then and only then is it ready to eat. The seeds germinate from ripening fruit, and after time and the right conditions new seedlings emerge, tiny Mammey Apple starts that can grow into full grown fruit.
He tells us about the single seed inside and it's irregular shape and instructs how best to peel it.
Now I want to talk about a trip I took to Italy and having a galette for the first time. It was 2015 and I vowed to learn how to and to actually make one someday. It was that good. That memorable. That day never really came, until now.
Wiki.com describes a Galette as a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes. I was in for a treat... an adventure in the kitchen that left me spending more time mentally preparing that actually, for the first time, making. The thought of making a pie, pie crust and all set me into Engineering mode and I did all my research, reading, mentally executing and all. I am not saying that I was in any way ready to start on my first pie but I felt that I had sufficient knowledge to get really ready and that meant actually doing... measuring, mixing, rolling and all that.
It isn't typical for me to eat seasonal fruit in any other way than fresh. Growing up on an orchard here in Freeport, that's just how it was. Under the tree fruits we mostly always consumed fresh, saved for the sour cherries which my mother made into the most beautiful jams, everything was eaten fresh. About these sour cherry jams, I will someday make some of my own. Soon.
Nevertheless, I was excited. I was certain that the combination of Mammey Apple and Galette would be a treat. I dreamed of having a scoop of coconut ice cream for the top. A La Mode.
But for now here is the Mammey Apple Galette, using a Peach Gallete recipe I adapted (heavily) from NatashasKitchen and one that I've only made once so far. Galettes can be savory or sweet, and this is one is certainly sweet.
Mammey apple Galette Filling:
1 whole mammey apple, not overly ripe
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp butter
mammey apple Galette Crust:
1 1/4 cup flour (I used all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz (1/2 cup, 1 stick, 8 Tbsp) very cold butter (Chill the butter in the freezer for at least 20 minutes).
4 to 6 Tbsp ice water
A Sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon for the crust
How to make A flaky Mammey apple galette crust:
1. In a bowl mix flour, sugar and salt until well mixed.
2. Cut cold butter into small (1/2-inch) cubes and add it to your bowl of dry ingredients. Use your fingers to work the butter in, your butter should become pea-sized.
Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time and mix with a wooden spoon between each addition.
Your dough should be ready when it just begins to clump. I used 3 Tbsp of ice water.
3. Form the dough into a disk, patting into shape without overworking it. Use flour to dust the sides and the cover with wax paper. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
How to Assemble your Mammey apple Galette:
1. In a small bowl, beat the egg. You will use this shortly.
2. Slice Mammey apple into 1/4″ thick cubes. Place mammey apple in a medium bowl and sprinkle with flour, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and butter. Stir gently with a spatula just until combined. Add any other spices and flavours you like in a pie at this point.
3. On a sheet of wax paper, roll the dough into a 12″ circle. The wax paper makes transferring the crust and cleanup after baking a cinch! Place the wax paper and dough into a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Arrange the mammey apple in a circle over the dough. Leave a 1.5″ to 2″ dough border. Discard any excess juices from the mammey apple, while baking the fruit will make it's own delicious syrup.
5. Fold the edges of the gallette up and over the mammey apple, pinching the overlapping edges together to form a nice seal. Try to patch up any cracks in the dough. Brush the crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the mammey apple juices are a syrupy.
Let sit 15 minutes before serving.
With love from Freeport