In true Menton fashion, our end of year dinner and gala ran into a few last-minute speedbumps. The dinner was planned to be held at the Villa Serena, up in the mountains by the Italian border, about 45 minutes-to-an-hour east of where most of the students live. On its own, this would have been fine – on a beautiful Mediterranean summer evening, it’s no problem to walk a while by the marina on your way to and from dinner. The real issue arose when the location of the gala itself was announced – the party was to be held in Roquebrune, two towns to the west of Menton, and another hour’s walk from the center of town. Meaning that those who went to the dinner beforehand would have to walk two hours to get from the dinner to the party, and would arrive around 1:00 AM. Of course, all of this came to light in the middle of finals, two days before the gala, when no one had the time or energy to figure out alternatives. The last train between Italy and Roquebrune left well before the dinner would be over, there were only three people on campus with cars, and there were nowhere near enough taxis in Menton to shuttle 160 students in any sort of timely manner. So a few friends and I decided to skip the official dinner and have our own quiet meal (pot luck, of course) at the house of one of the students who lives in Carnoles, a short walk away from the Roquebrune city limits.
Of course, I volunteered to bring dessert. I wanted to work with the delicious summer fruit that was just starting to hit the markets, and so decided on a light, fruity galette. The preparation for this dessert is really quick and simple – my recipe is based on Crepes of Wrath’s Whisky Peach and Plum Galette (I think whisky would have been a great addition, but I didn’t have any on hand), though I used store-bought pastry dough instead of making my own – it saves A LOT on time.
– Frozen pastry dough
– 5-7 large peaches and plums
– Juice and zest of 1 lemon
– 1/4 cup water
– Vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp light brown sugar)
– 1 tbsp unsalted butter
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 tsp milk
– Orange flower water
Step 1: Thinly slice the peaches and plums. Halve and juice the lemon.
Step 2: In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add sugar and orange flower water, and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Step 3: Place fruit in bowl. Pour sugar water mixture over fruit. Let steep 5 minutes.
Step 4: Roll out the pastry dough.
Step 5: Starting at the center of the pastry, arrange fruit in a spiral.
Step 8: Fold in pastry crust.
Step 7: Beat together egg yolk and milk.
Step 8: Brush crust with egg mixture, and sprinkle with additional vanilla sugar. Sprinkle more orange flower water, cinnamon, and sugar over the fruit.
Step 9: Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.