We used to rent a cabin in Brooklin, Maine with my dad for two weeks every summer—we’d load up our bikes and Tevas and my brother, sister and I would pile into the car. I used to complain that the only snacks provided were cherries and dark chocolate. Imagine! I remember the red and white cooler in the way back, sweating from the heat. You had to climb over the seat to get those cherries. Whenever I’d ask how close we were, as we drove over iron bridges and through small towns with names like ‘Peru’ and ‘Florida,’ the answer from the front was always ‘We’ve got a ways to go.’
Our cabin stood on a wide lawn that dropped suddenly down to the water. It was surrounded on both sides by tall, dark pines. The grass was dry and scrubby, the beach full of endlessly climbable rocks. The house was owned by heavy drinkers, or so we assumed based on the inordinate number of shot glasses on the kitchen shelves. One summer my best friend Eliza came with us, and the two of us would play “bar” for hours on end, one of us pouring water into the shot glasses while the other, playing the loyal patron, said “Hit me big, Paul, it’s been a rough day.”
I can’t say I remember what my dad fed us on those trips—other than the clam bake we used to have down by the beach. (I, of course, forsook fresh clams for hot dogs and potato chips.) We’d take the compost out to the corner of the lawn where the woods began, dumping our corn husks, egg shells and coffee grounds as the gulls wheeled impatiently above.
The town of Brooklin was tiny. I remember the library, the general store, and of course, the Morning Moon Café. I remember its wooden booths, the whine of the screen door as you walked in and the cheerful buzz of chatter, the clink of white china plates… It was the ultimate treat—a break from the Cornflakes in our tiny rented kitchen. After a breakfast of blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon, we’d bike back home. We’d lug Bridget, my dad’s old green rowboat, down to the rocky beach, climb in, and spend the day floating in that beautiful little cove. Or we’d row out to an island overgrown with spiky pines, its rocky shore dappled with endless crevices and tiny colorful tide pools.
We’d pick blueberries in the heat of the day, basking in the pale sunlight, plucking the small, tart berries from lichen-covered branches. My sister and brother would pick industriously, filling their buckets beyond capacity, while I stood solidly in front of my chosen bush, eating berry after berry after berry. We’d head home with our blue loot. At my sister’s insistence, we’d stop at the general store for heavy cream.
When I googled the Morning Moon Café out of nostalgia, a big red banner reading “Permanently Closed” blared across the page. Something tiny sank in my heart. So this is an ode to those Maine days of my childhood—of hot, dry air, the smell of pine trees and saltwater, of tidal pools and the sound of bikes on gravel, and of rowing with my sister and brother out into the deep, dark green water.
Morning Moon Galette
Galettes are the most forgiving of desserts. If you don’t believe me, ask Melissa Clark, the New York Times Food Section’s voice of reason. She explains here how once you understand the basics, every galette is your oyster. (Forgive the rather upsetting food metaphor).
For the Crust—I used my mom’s pie crust recipe. Remember how I told you it would never let you down? Click here for the recipe!
Preheat oven to 400°
For the Filling:
- 3 Cups of any fruit that’s in season, you happen to be craving, or that you just happen to have on hand! I used blueberries (for Maine), strawberries (because it’s June) and a nectarine (because I had one that looked like it needed some love).
- Heaping 1/2 Cup of sugar
- Heaping Tablespoon of arrowroot powder
Slice your fruit (if it needs it) and measure it so that you have 3 solid cups of fruit. Add sugar and arrowroot powder and toss gently until fruit is evenly coated and no powder is clumped at the bottom of the bowl. Set aside.
Assembling the Galette
I haven’t had the best luck rolling out my crusts lately. My mom’s kitchen counters are made of wood, which makes it easy to sprinkle the slightest bit of flour and roll away to your heart’s content. My counters, however, were installed in the 1970’s when faux was in fashion. They are some kind of laminate material that doesn’t take well to flour. I read a tip that said to wet your counter, then spread wax paper out so that it adheres. Place your dough on top, cover with another sheet of wax paper, and roll. This all worked beautifully, until I flipped the dough over to find bits of shredded wax paper stuck to the bottom. I diligently picked them off, but still! I think a pastry blade is the key to success. It allows you to gently scrape and lift the dough from below to move it, and also to quickly scrape your rolling pin between rolls.
Once you’ve rolled your dough out to about a 12″ round, trim the edges (or leave them alone, for a more rustic approach) and place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Pour the fruit into a mound in the center of your crust, leaving at least 2 inches of crust exposed.
Fold the crust over the fruit so that it overlaps and looks something like this:
Brush crust with an egg wash (one egg mixed with a dash of water or cream). Sprinkle crust with sugar and bake for 25 minutes or until the fruit center is bubbling. Melissa INSISTS that your galette is only done when the filling is bubbling heartily. I ended up baking mine for around 35 minutes, but watched carefully starting at 25 to make sure the crust didn’t burn.
If you want something easy, satisfying, and dependably delicious, bake one of these this summer. I promise, you won’t galette it!