I’ve never done anything with cherries except to eat them whole. Every prepared cherry I’ve tasted has been agonizingly sweet. I had long assumed that I, Nicole, disliked cooked, dried, or otherwise processed cherries. End of story.

BOY! I was wrong. Can you believe it? Me? Wrong? Nah, I’m used to it. I also used to think I hated cooked carrots, but that’s a story for another post. Staying on track here… We were on our usual grocery run, post farmer’s market, and before I knew it I had two big bags of red cherries in my cart. I guess I was bound and determined to figure out what I hated so much about prepared cherries.

We were in the checkout isle, the cherries were on the belt, slowly approaching the cashier, and I was panicking. Self, what in the eff are you going to do with all of these cherries? There’s no way you can eat them all raw. God knows Chris will TELL you he’ll help, but then he won’t, because he just so enjoys annoying you. (Not. Of course.) You’re going to be staring down rotten cherries in a week, literally sobbing over the food waste. (I actually do this anytime we don’t use an ingredient. It’s not pretty.)

Here I am sensing the impending disaster, heart in my throat, palms sweaty, unable to decide what to do… Aaand the cherries are now back in the cart, in a (re-usable) grocery bag, paid for. Shit.

Several years ago, before Chris and I were married, I made him a date-night dinner finishing off with a pear galette. It was rustic, beautiful, uncluttered, and delicious. For whatever reason, I haven’t made one since in spite of that lovely description and smooth initial experience. Why don’t I make a cherry galette? It’s no frills, now is the perfect season for it, I have all of the necessary ingredients of which there are few… I just need a little secret to finish it off.

We were at our last food stop, our neighborhood co-op, which specializes in local produce and meat. My unique ingredient stared me down as soon as we entered: basil. There were a few enormous bags of fresh, local, fragrant basil. Okay, OKAY. Basil in dessert isn’t exactly uncommon. But I knew it’d be enough flavor to drop any added sugar (my favorite activity) and let the cherries speak volumes on their own.

So here you are. Don’t panic over all those discounted cherries. Make a galette.

Cherry Surprise Galette

Ingredients

Filling

  • 4 cups pitted cherries – I merely sliced them down the middle and pinched the seed out
  • 1 TBS lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 TBS tapioca granules
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-5 thinly sliced large basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds, half for filling and half for garnish if desired

Crust

  • 1.5 cups packed almond meal
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS olive oil

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBS water

Directions

  1. First, make the crust. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until a dough forms.
  2. Roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment paper, place on a baking sheet, and store in the fridge for an hour while you prep the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Prep your cherries.
  5. Combine cherries and remaining filling ingredients in a bowl. Be careful not to mash the cherries while coating them with the remaining ingredients.
  6. Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Assemble the cherries onto the crust, keeping them ~2 inches from the edge. Drizzle any remaining juices in the bowl over the cherries.
  7. Fold the exposed edge over onto the outer cherries, making a border. It won’t be perfect, but that’s the beauty of a galette. Pinch the very edges to seal.
  8. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk.
  9. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the galette.
  10. Bake the galette for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are golden and some of the cherries are just beginning to wilt. They’ll continue to cook for a few minutes once out of the oven, and you want to preserve a bit of texture. Allow to cool slightly before serving, garnishing with sliced almonds if desired.

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