I adore herbs. I love to enjoy their beauty, smell and appearance in nature where they create perfect collage of colors, shapes and sizes. Knowing their numerous healing benefits I use them to make healing preparations, infusions, tinctures and teas. But using them in recipes, especially in desserts, is an adventure that makes me super excited.
My love for herbs can be easily seen in my home – walls decorated with drying herbs and my kitchen showing dozens of jars filled with dried nature’s gifts. Beautiful colours of rose petals, chamomile, calendula, red clover and lavender, make this place even more magical and sacred to me. When ever possible I harvest them locally or when traveling to my mediterranean homeland. It’s as if the essence of nature comes home with me awaiting to heal and nurture my body and comfort my soul when a smell takes me back to the place of harvest.
Besides as a tea, I never worked with hibiscus before. But having a beautiful tree on my doorway, inspired me to find more uses of this aromatic astringent flower. With its cooling properties hibiscus makes an excellent summer refreshment, it cools the liver and lowers high blood pressure. With high levels of antioxidants, hibiscus acts anti-inflammatory and reduces the risk of cancer. Just as beautiful itself is, it promotes the body’s natural beauty as well by stimulating hair growth and acting as a skin tonic. Its beauty has been used as a symbol of courtship and romance. In traditional Hawaiian culture, a hibiscus flower worn behind a girl’s left ear indicates she is married or in a relationship. However, when worn behind her right ear, she is available. Behind your ear, steeped as a tea or in a dessert, find your favorite way to incorporate hibiscus into your life.
As the summer is slowly coming to an end and rains are starting to water dried land take a walk to your local wood and pick the last fresh blackberries, usually very sweet at this time. To incorporate the hibiscus, I simply grinned the dried flowers into a powder using a coffee grinder. Combined with blackberries the result was a rustic, fragrant and colorful free-form galette, with all flavors in a perfect balance.
BLACKBERRY HIBISCUS GALETTE
For the crust:
- 3/4 cup/100 g unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup/65 g plain wholemeal/whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup/70 g coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3-4 tablespoons ice cold water, or as needed
For the filling:
- approximately 725 g blackberries
- 1/3 cup/30 g ground almonds or almond flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup/ 75 g coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
- 1/3 cup dried hibiscus
- 1 peach or nectarine, sliced into wedges
For the crust, make sure all the ingredients are very cold, including the bowl, the spatula and the fork you will be using to mix the ingredients. You can put everything in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before you start.
Combine the flours and salt in a bowl. Add chilled coconut oil broken into small pieces and using a fork rub it into the flours until crumbly. You can use a food processor as well. Add the maple syrup and mix it in with a spatula. Slowly drizzle the ice cold water over the top and first using a fork then using hands try to form a small ball. Try to press the dough together with your fingers. If it crumbles, looking dry, add 1 teaspoon ice water, mix it in and check again. The dough should hold well without falling apart but isn’t sticky or moist. Try not to handle the dough too much and don’t overwork it so the crust doesn’t turn tough.Press the dough into a round flat disk, and wrap tightly in clingfilm/plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
While the dough is resting, prepare the filing by combining all the filling ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F/Gas 4.
Take the dough out of the fridge. If the dough has been chilled for longer than 30 minutes give it a couple of minutes to relax to make it more pliable to work with. Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking parchment paper and using the rolling pin press the dough out from the middle so it naturally extends outward. Once flattened, roll the dough from the center out equally in all directions to form a smooth, thin and round dough. If it cracks, just push the dough around the crack and it will close. Discard the top sheet of paper. Transfer the dough, along with the bottom baking sheet on a baking tray. Sprinkle the almond flour evenly over the dough. Spoon the filling in the middle, spread evenly, leaving about 2 fingers of dough around the edges. Layer the peach slices on top of the filling. Fold the edges over, enclosing the filling around the edge. Bake the galette in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden and slightly crispy.
Allow to cool completely on the baking tray before serving. Serve on its own, or alongside your favorite ice cream (plant based, please!).