Date: July 2, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Savya Kuncham Ramesh |
Berry Good: We talk learning to cook, food photography, and summer galettes with Savya Kuncham Ramesh of Wickedly Whisked
Scrolling through the mouth-watering images on Savya Kuncham Ramesh’s Instagram feed (@wickedlywhisked), you’d never guess she’s not a baker by trade. As an industrial engineer, Savya hadn’t even tried her hand at cooking until it was entirely necessary. “I lived in India until I was 22, and I had never entered the kitchen—like, never,” she laughs. “I decided to do my masters in the United States, and before I moved, my mom was so worried because she knew I loved to eat, but didn’t know how to cook!”
After studying in Houston and working in South Carolina for several years, Savya and her family—husband Madhuresh and 4-year-old son Ruhaan—relocated to Fayetteville. It was around this time that she started experimenting more in the kitchen, both with her ingredients and her camera. Along with 15 other food and photo enthusiasts around the world, she started @foodcapturecollective, where together they explore a new technique in food photography via Instagram each month. “We pick something that’s challenging, like splash photography or using hard light,” she says. “Anyone who wants to participate can join and use the month’s hashtag, and we help guide each other in that technique.”
For this issue, we asked Savya to make us something sweet with in-season berries. Her choice? A summer galette. “Galettes are basically a lazy person’s pie,” she says. “They’re so easy; you don’t need any special tools or to be a pro baker. And they taste absolutely delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Once you get the base right, you can fill it with whatever you want.”
Summer Berry Galette
Yields 4 individual-sized galettes
In addition to the ingredients listed below, have on hand extra flour for dusting and parchment paper.
1¹⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
¹⁄8 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
3 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 ladyfingers, crushed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups fresh strawberries and blueberries (cut strawberries into bite-size pieces)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
crushed almonds, for garnish
PRO TIP >> Before you begin, combine flour, salt, and baking powder in an air-tight container and store in the freezer for an hour. Place cubed butter in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This step helps ensure the ingredients are still cold when you put them in the oven. “When you’re mixing with your hands, you’re bound to generate heat; so starting with ingredients that are extra cold helps offset that heat and ensure a flaky crust,” Savya says.
To make the pastry, use your hands to roughly combine freezer-cold flour mixture (see Pro Tip above) and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add the butter, still mixing with your hands, until crumbs form. Add heavy whipping cream and vinegar to form dough, adding more cream if the mixture seems dry. Flatten the dough with your fingers to form a disk. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes; take out of the refrigerator at least 10 minutes before rolling out.
While dough is chilling, combine all ingredients of the filling base and set aside. Do the same with the fruit filling, gently toss, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
To assemble the galettes, divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll out on a small piece of lightly floured parchment paper. Place dough and parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Cover the center of each pastry with filling base, leaving about an inch of dough around the border, then spoon fruit filling over the base. Carefully fold the edge of the dough over the filling, pleating the pastry with your fingers while leaving the fruit-filled center exposed.
To create the glaze, beat the egg and water, then brush on the edges of the pastry. Sprinkle sugar over the entire galette. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the edges of the pastry are golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Garnish with chopped almonds and serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
>> Follow @wickedlywhisked to keep up with Savya’s journey in the kitchen, and check out @foodcapturecollective to find out how to join the monthly technique challenge.