Cooking Ripe!

Plant it, grow it, pick it – COOK IT!


Easiest Pumpkin and Fruit Galette (Tart)

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Alright, here it is: the easiest pie you’ll ever make! Trust me. People will be highly impressed with your baking skills….and it’s simply delicious!

I don’t do a lot of baking, but not because it’s too technical or because I don’t like sweets. I don’t mind the occasional picky measurements and I definitely love sweets. But therin lies the the problem. If I bake it, I eat it. Since most baked goods are high in carbs, fat and calories, I tend to avoid baking except for the occasional treat or birthday cake. The Hubs is a pie fanatic, so my lack of baking doesn’t serve him well at all.

Last weekend we were invited to a BBQ. In our world, a party means the hosts prepare a main dish and guests are expected to bring a dish and your own booze. So I surveyed the produce in the house to see what I had to work with. A potluck is a great way to use up of an abundance of garden or Bountiful Basket produce. Ah-ha! Fruit. I admit that fruit is not my strong point. I don’t naturally gravitate to it like I do vegetables, so I have a hard time using up the fruit from our bi-weekly basket and from friends who insist I take bags and boxes of peaches, apricots, apples, etc. from their trees at this time of year. The Hubs likes his fruit, but can only eat so much – and we only need so much jam.

So last Saturday, I had some really big nectarines and some little pluots (apparently a cross between a plum and an apricot). I went looking for a recipes and landed on FoodGawker (an amazing food porn site: you gotta check it out). I saw a three-ingredient nectarine galette (I had to look up “galette:” it’s a type of tart). The picture was beautiful and it sounded so simple! Perfect for a busy day when I had multiple kitchen projects going on. It’s also perfect when I can bake something and take to another house – and leave it there.

As usual, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and added my own touches to this lovely recipe.

Here’s how:

Choose the fruit you want to use for the galette. I think any stone fruit, berries or apples or pears would work nicely. Pick what you have or whatever is in season. Like I said, I had some nectarines and some pluots, so I went with those. I considered adding an apple but decided to keep that for lunches. I used two large nectarines and four pluots, but I could have used a little more because it cooks down.

Thinly slice the fruit. My pluots were a little ripe and the nectarines were a little under-ripe, so I sliced the pluots a little thicker and the nectarines a little thinner to ensure even cooking.

Place fruit in a bowl and toss with cornstarch, which helps thicken the fruit juices as it bakes.

Next, unroll a refrigerated pie crust (I know, I should have made my own crust! Maybe next time) onto a large baking sheet or pizza pan. I lined my pan with parchment so it would slide off easily.

Here’s the exciting part! I was making this the same day I made some pumpkin puree. The Hubs wondered into the kitchen and had a taste of the puree, just as I was slicing fruit. He commented that it would be even better with some cinnamon and sugar. Pie freak! That’s when it dawned on me that I had to add some pumpkin to this tart. I scooped out about 1/3 cup puree and spread it on the middle of the crust.

Sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar on the puree. It’s like a pumpkin pie under the fruit galette!

Next, dump the fruit on top of the puree and top with more cinnamon, brown sugar and some sliced butter.

Now, fold and tuck the edges of the crust over the sides of the fruit.

Brush the exposed crust with butter (or some people use milk or egg – yolk or white or whole) and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake 375 for 35-40 minutes until crust is golden brown and fruit is soft and cooked through.

Cool and carefully slide onto a serving plate.

Pumpkin & Fruit Galette:

Servings: 8


(all ingredient amounts are approximate – no fussy measuring needed)

  • 1 refrigerated rolled pie crust (or a homemade pie crust)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (recipe for homemade here)
  • Sliced fruit (pitted, but not peeled), measuring about 3 1/2-4 cups (I used nectarines and pluots)
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon (depending on your personal cinnamon love. Mine is high), divided
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided


  1. Set refrigerated pie crust out to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Thinly slice fruit, then toss with cornstarch.
  3. Unroll pie crust and place on parchment lined baking pan or pizza pan.
  4. Spread pumpkin puree in center of crust, leaving about a two inch border to fold crust. It’s ok to heap it into a bit of a pile as it will cook down.
  5. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of brown sugar and 1/2 Tbsp of cinnamon over pumpkin puree.
  6. Spread fruit over puree and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar (reserve a few pinches for outer crust) and cinnamon.
  7. Slice 2 Tbsp of cold butter and tuck into fruit mixture.
  8. Fold and tuck edges of crust over sides of fruit.
  9. Brush outer crust with remaining butter (softened) and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes until crust is golden brown and fruit is soft and cooked through.

Notes for next time:

The galette was a hit as dessert at the BBQ. Of course we paired it with some creamy vanilla ice cream. The pumpkin flavor is subtle, just providing some texture to the fruit and another layer of flavor. The Hubs ate his slice in about three bites and was very disappointed that we didn’t have leftovers to take home. Since it’s pretty easy and not horribly fattening, I will make another one for him – maybe with some apples, pears and peaches. I think I would add some chopped pecans to the fruit mixture to give it a little crunch. I might also use some pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon over the puree, for a little more pumpkin pie flavor.

This is a great weeknight dessert, because it’s so easy, but it’s so pretty that it also makes an impressive dinner party dessert. The Fall flavors are perfect for a changing seasons menu. I highly recommend you give this one a try and report back here about they type of fruit you used and how it turned out.

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Growing Cantaloupes in Zone 5, a happy accident

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I have been so focused on writing about cooking with the harvest, I have been ignoring the other part of the story: the garden. It’s Fall now and the leaves are changing and the temps are dipping to the low 40’s and high 30’s at night, so the garden production is slowing and it’s time to finish the harvest and start planning for next year.

One crop the Hubs insists we do again next year are cantaloupes. I didn’t plan them – or plant them – this year, but we grew them. Divine intervention? Sort of. Apparently last Fall or winter when I was in “lazy composting” mode I must have thrown the remains of a cantaloupe out into the garden area. Then, even after having my garden rototilled  in the spring before planting, little mystery sprouts started appearing. They mostly looked like some sort of squash, but some were a little different. I asked friends who know things about gardens and they identified the seedlings as squash. I took photos and posted on Facebook asking for identification. Again, they said squash.

Yep, some were squash: zucchini and pie pumpkins, it turns out. BUT, the other ones that looked a little different turned out to be cantaloupe. I didn’t have much faith that they would actually mature into edible fruit because our growing season here in SW Colorado at 6,900′ is fairly short and can be pretty cool. I tried growing melons many years ago and nothing ever materialized. I figured I’d let them try to grow and see what happened. I thinned them so they wouldn’t take over the whole garden if they really took off and I moved some to the far side of the garden (yes, I admit it, the rocky not-so-fertile side) to get them out of the way.

I just watered them along with everything else, but generally ignored them, yet they prevailed! The vines spread out and grabbed onto the onions and tackled the cilantro and made pretty little orange flowers (another clue that they were not squash – different flowers). Then one day, there were little balls of melon hanging around out there. I was finally able to positively identify them as melon. I started feeling sorry for the poor things, still assuming they would never mature enough to get to go inside and be sliced up for a snack. I propped them up on rocks so they wouldn’t sit in the mud too much and I tried to redirect the vines so they would be more comfortable. That’s about it, though.

They started growing up and looking like actual cantaloupes and I thought, well…maybe they’re going to work out. I read up on when to harvest and watch for signs of ‘slip’ from the vine and a change from green to light brown color. Then a few weeks ago we had a really huge, long rainstorm. I don’t know how much moisture we actually got, but I certainly didn’t need to water for about a week – a rarity in our high, dry area. About a week later, I was rummaging around in the garden and noticed one of the big melons looked awful! It was all cracked and starting to rot and ants were feasting on it. YUCK! I grabbed a shovel and removed it from the area. I poked around at it and noticed the inside really looked like a cantaloupe. It was mostly pretty and orange. So, even though that one had rotted for some reason, I realized we had real hope for some good melons!

I read some more and found that uneven watering can cause the cracking. I am pretty good about daily watering and I use soaker hoses, so I think it’s fairly even. I’m blaming the crazy rainstorm for the “uneven” water.

While they still weren’t showing all of the signs of ripeness, I knew I had to keep a close eye on them, lest they crack and rot like their big brother.  I started checking the big melons daily and as soon as I detected a crack, I cut the cord and brought them in. I had learned that melons will not ripen more after harvesting, so I wasn’t terribly convinced that they would taste good since they weren’t technically ripe. Turns out that I was wrong. Again.

The first one I cut tasted sweet and ripe like the best summer melons from Green River, Utah. I enjoyed some, sliced the rest and put it in the fridge and forgot to tell the Hubs when he came in that night. Later he found it while foraging for a late-night snack. All sorts of excitement as he came to the bedroom where I was reading to tell me that the cantaloupe was amazing! He was totally impressed and couldn’t wait to tell his buddies at work – though he didn’t want to share.

Who knew? The Hubs keeps telling me how impressed he is with my gardening skills, but I feel a little guilty since I really didn’t do much to help the melons grow. It’s like being the apathetic parent of a child prodigy. The Hubs says we (meaning I) have to do it again next year. How do you accidentally do something twice? I guess I throw some melon remains out in the dirt sometime this winter and see if we have a repeat. I have read that you’re not supposed to save seeds from grocery store food, so I’ll work harder at an organic accident next time around.

So far we’ve eaten three full size melons and there are two more I’m keeping a close eye on outside. There are also several babies out there still. Not sure what will become of the poor underdeveloped orphans, but maybe they’ll be edible, if small. I’ll keep you posted!

Leave a comment about your surprise garden successes.

See my Gardening board on Pinterest for more garden notes.