Susan Spungen's new book Veg Forward is peak summer, and she's got a pie to prove it.
Welcome!! ~ This is a reader supported publication. For $5/month paying subscribers support new recipes arriving in your inbox each week. Upgrade to paid below for full access to Q + As, archives, travel guides and more. ♡
I’m popping in here with a short and sweet Sunday bonus because peak summer is upon us, and there’s a new book in the world that’s precisely on target to bring joy upon joy at the table the next six weeks, and beyond called VEG FORWARD.
It’s the latest fromwho many of you will know from her decades leading the iconic food content at Martha Stewart Living; she was also the culinary mastermind and stylist behind the pinnacle of feel-good food movies: Julie & Julia, It's Complicated, and Eat, Pray, Love. But the recipes in Veg Forward don’t call upon star-stylist-level skills—instead, they lean on her decades of experience making the most of what’s fresh and peaking at the farmer’s market for her friends and family. Think: easy, delicious, oozing with flavor, and rustically beautiful enough to serve for an occasion or a low-key dinner with friends.
I won’t overdo the intro here because her book’s subtitle says it best: Super-Delicious Recipes that Put Produce at the Center of Your Plate. You’ll find all things tomatoes, corn, eggplant, and summer squash, for right now—plus plenty to lean into this fall and winter. This peach tart is a bonus from the book and the easiest of all pies that will make you feel like a pro, even if this is your first.
I love that she makes this in a skillet lined with parchment, so there is very little pie-guess work for you. Try it—you’ll see. The recipe below, plus links to Susan’s book and her produce-forward newsletter, Susanality.
PEACH AND ALMOND GALETTE by Susan Spungen
Reprinted with permission from Harper Celebrate.
Whether you call them galettes or crostatas, these free-form tarts are the simplest and most beautiful way to showcase summer fruit, and they’re a lot less fussy than a pie. Rolling the dough on a sheet of parchment and transferring it to an iron skillet ensures that all the juices will be contained within the pan when the tart bakes. Those that do break through the dough will caramelize but not burn, making the edges something to fight over.
2 cups/256 g all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup/24 g sliced almonds
14 tablespoons/198 g (1 3/4 sticks) ice-cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup/59 ml ice water, plus more if needed
2 pounds (6 to 8) peaches, ripe but firm
1/2 cup/101 g granulated sugar
1/4 cup/32 g all-purpose flour
1/4 cup/24 g sliced almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1. MAKE THE CRUST: Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and almonds in a food processor; pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the largest pieces are the size of walnut halves. Transfer to a wide bowl and squeeze the butter pieces, flattening them between your fingers. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and mix it in evenly, tossing with a fork. If there are a lot of loose, dry crumbs at the bottom of the bowl and it won’t hold together when squeezed, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
2. Press the dough together, gathering up any dry bits until the dough forms a shaggy, cohesive mass. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap and press into a flat, round disk. Shape the edges with your hands so they are not crumbly. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour and preferably 2, and as long as 2 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.
3. Heat the oven to 400°F, with a rack in the middle. Let the dough soften slightly at room temperature until it’s malleable enough to roll out. On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper about 18 inches long, roll the dough out into a circle roughly
15 inches in diameter and 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. It may hang over on the short sides.
4. Lift the parchment by opposite corners and transfer to a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet or another ovenproof skillet, fitting the parchment and dough into the pan. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
5. MAKE THE FILLING: Cut the peaches into 6 or 8 wedges each and toss with the sugar. Sprinkle the flour on the dough, evenly covering the bottom of the dough-lined pan. Tumble the peaches into the dough and fold the dough over all around to enclose the filling. Refrigerate again until firm, 15 to 30 minutes.
6. Brush the crust with cold water and sprinkle with the almonds. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and crust. Dot the filling with butter and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the filling is furiously bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown.
7. Place the skillet on a cooling rack or a cool stove burner grate and let cool for at least 30 minutes to let the juices thicken. Carefully pick up the parchment by opposite corners, transfer to a serving plate, and slide out the paper (or don’t). Serve the galette warm or at room temperature.
You can use any fruit, using about 2 pounds of whatever is in season, adjusting the sugar to your taste and the sweetness of the fruit. Try apricots, plums, apples, pears, berries, or a combination. In most cases, 3 to 4 tablespoons of flour is about right for thickening the fruit juices, but if your fruit mixture seems extra juicy, just add a little more. If the fruit looks soupy in the oven, don’t worry—it will thicken as it cools.
Photos and recipe from Veg Forward: Super-Delicious Recipes that Put Produce at the Center of Your Plate by Susan Spungen. Copyright © 2023 by Susan Spungen. Used with by permission of Harper Celebrate.