A Lunch Outdoors + Strawberry and Anise Galette
Last week I had lunch outside for the first time this year, at the incredible Babington House. Chef Neil Smith and I cooked some recipes from my #7dayreset and The Modern Cook’s Year and we ate a feast on the lawn in the blazing sun with lots of amazing people. So nice to meet and cook for people who cook from my books in their homes.
Thank you Antonella Bonetti and the amazing Neil for taking such good care of us ❤️
Strawberry + Anise Galette
Strawberries seem to be arriving on the shelves earlier and earlier. By my birthday in early April the shelves are full of British strawberries, but it’s not until a bit later that I think they are at their best. The early French ones, though, are the ones to get excited about: the deeply perfumed Gariguette variety, then after that the good English ones start showing up.
This galette is quick and easy to make, and buttery and flaky to eat. The strawberries roast and melt to a pool of molten scarlet jam in the middle, some still holding their shape, but all of them releasing their juices to create a seriously good jammy centre.
What I love most about this, though, is that it uses very little sugar; the natural sweetness of the strawberries shines through. I have given an approximate weight for the sugar I use to sweeten the strawberries, as the amount you need will depend on the strawberries as well as your own tastes (I usually end up using about 60g).
The surprising element is anise seed, a sweet fennel-like seed which I love. The seeds can be harder to come by than other spices, but if you like you could replace them with fennel seeds or even just a grind of black pepper (you won’t need as much as a tablespoon).
When you take the galette out of the oven it will look a little runny in the centre, but it will set within minutes as it cools
1 tablespoon anise seed
50–100g golden caster sugar
FOR THE FLAKY SPELT PASTRY
160g spelt flour, plus a little extra for dusting
a pinch of flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
a glass of iced water 1 organic egg, beaten
coconut yoghurt, whipped with a little honey and vanilla,
or thick Greek yoghurt, cream or ice cream
For the pastry, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and use the back of a fork or a food processor to cut the butter into the flour until you have a rough scruffy mixture, still with some bigger chunks of butter.
Add the ice-cold water bit by bit, until the pastry comes together – you will only need 4–5 tablespoons. Bring it together into a ball with your hands, or pulse a few times in the food processor. Handle it as little as possible, then wrap it in cling film and put it into the fridge to cool and rest for at least 45 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, hull the strawberries and cut them in half, or any larger ones into quarters. Put them into a bowl with the spice and half the sugar and leave to sit.
Once the pastry has rested, take it out of the fridge to soften a bit and preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC fan/gas 4.
Flour your work surface and, once the pastry has warmed slightly, roll it out quite thinly into roughly a 30cm round, then lift it on to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Pile the strawberries in the middle of the pastry, leaving about a 4cm border of pastry to fold over. There’s no need to be too precise with the strawberries, as they will shrink and change as they cook.
Next fold the edges of the pastry over the strawberries to hold them in. Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg, then sprinkle the strawberries and pastry edges with the remaining sugar.
Bake in the hot oven for 55 minutes, until the strawberries are soft and bubbling and the pastry is golden and crisp. Serve with my choice of some coconut yoghurt stirred with a little honey and vanilla, or with ice cream, cream or thick Greek yoghurt.
IMAGES: Ana Cuba/ Anna Jones