I am invariably predictable when it comes to birthdays. Of two things you can be absolutely certain. First, for those not my own, I tend to get extraordinarily excited. We’re talking stay-up-all-night baking projects, planning months in advance, and the like. It’s sick, really.
Which brings me to the next certainty. Somewhere around my birthday, in the name of tradition, I usually get sick. In old family movies, especially the ages 4 through 7 trilogy, there is always a similar scene: a herd of little pig-tailed girls in dresses playing duck duck goose or the equivalent, Little Mermaid decor, and Kenzi, sitting outside of the circle, huddled in what looks like a mass of other people’s jackets, shivering. I’m usually wearing some kind of tiara, too, but I suppose that is beside the point.
My birthday was this past Monday, and as traditions go, I got sick again. I don’t have any home movies to prove it, but I do have some antibiotics and a fairly large pile of work to catch up on, if you’d like to see those. But even though I have sickness following me around every April, it turns out I wouldn’t really have it any other way. I have such wonderful friends that even though I ended the day shivering like mad wearing socks, slippers, and two whole comforters, I still managed to go to sleep happy. With a stomach full of galette. And future Marea reservations. Aren’t I lucky? These two things, plus the promise of a really nice bottle of wine sitting on your table, seem to do the trick entirely.
I also made out with a David Lebovitz cookbook, a generous Williams Sonoma gift card (ice cream maker perhaps?), and too many other things – a result of my parents’ lovely and utterly idiosyncratic habit of buying gifts, forgetting they bought gifts, and so then buying more gifts, having been thrown into a frenzy at the thought of not having any gifts at all.
But back to that galette. My friend Katherin made it for me and brought it to school on the day of my birthday, all wrapped in tin-foil and with plastic forks on the side. We ate it outside, in the sun, with a water-bottle full of red sangria. Which is how I highly suggest you eat it too, once you make it. It was perfect, all rustic and lemony and exactly what I imagine eating in the springtime. More perfect, though, is that when I saw her plate, I got excited for cookies, and then I opened it, and it was a galette. A strawberry one. With thyme. Do my friends know me or what?
Thyme and Strawberry Galette
Adapted from Crumpets and Cakes
Note: Katherin thinks that combining the curd with the strawberries makes it a little heavy on the liquid, but I say do it, because I tasted the final product and it. Was. Delicious.
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons ice water
3 tablespoons lemon curd
Strawberries, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 egg beaten with a bit of water for egg wash
Mix the flour, salt, and thyme in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. (You can also do this with your fingers if you’re an all-star pastry chef, or if you just don’t have a processor.)
Knead the dough just so it comes together and shape it into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To make the filling, combine all ingredients (except the egg wash, silly) in a medium bowl and set aside.
Sprinkle a lightly floured work surface with 1/2Tbsp turbinado sugar (this step is easily skipped if you don’t have any). Roll out the crust to about ¼ inch thick and about 8 inches in diameter. At the last minute, fold the lemon curd into the filling mixture, and then arrange it all onto the pastry, leaving a border to fold the edges of dough over the strawberries. Brush the dough with the egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is browned and the center is bubbling.