Local 127 and the Art of Savory Desserts

At a recent canning demonstration and luncheon I attended at Local 127 in downtown Cincinnati (more details about the luncheon coming up next week), I was chatting with Chef Geddes about the flavor profile in the dessert he served.  It was, in his words, Cheesecake in a Jar with Blueberry Compote and Crème Fraiche.  It was, in my words, divine, and absolutely perfect after the incredible lunch we had just eaten, but it wasn't your traditional overtly sweet dessert.

I was particularly curious about the blueberry compote.  The blueberries tasted like blueberries, but they didn't have their traditional sweet/tart flavor burst.  They did have an acidic flavor that balanced well with the creamy cheesecake, but the acid was not that of a citrus fruit like lemon but of vinegar.  There was also a slight undertone of something else...something herbaceous and floral but not overpowering.  So I asked Chef Geddes about the secret ingredients.  

Champagne vinegar and basil.

How incredibly smart, I thought.  And how refreshing to not have sweet on top of sweet at the end of a meal.  I appreciated the creativity of the entire meal (more pics next week in my review of the luncheon) and the use of fresh, local ingredients.  My compliments to the chef, of course.

In homage to that dessert, I decided that a sweet and savory galette was my next project.  It was entirely experimental, as all things tend to be in my house, but I did find some inspiration by checking out some fruit galette recipes from Smitten Kitchen and Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I didn't want it to be overtly sweet so I scaled back on the sugar amounts, and I didn't want the crust to outshine the fruit so I chose a more savory sour cream crust that was recently featured in Cooks Illustrated.

The end result was almost exactly what I was going for.  I think I could have gone with a tablespoon or more of sugar, but the fruit was really the star here. 

Give it a try if you are feeling daring in the kitchen--and feel free to make any small adjustments by subbing a different fruit or increasing the sugar.  If you have a success story, please come back and share it with me!

Peach & Blueberry Galette
adapted loosely from Smitten Kitchen and Rose Levy Beranbaum
serves 6-8

*The peaches I used for this recipe were slightly firm and I was worried they would not be ripe enough, but I thought they perfect as far as flavor in the finished galette.  Over-ripe peaches may be slimy and not hold up well in baking, so lean towards to firm side.  Also, this is positively sinful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Should you decide to be extra daring and make your own, may I recommend David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream recipe.  

Ingredients for the pie crust
adapted slightly from Cooks Illustrated July/August 2010
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar, plus 2 tbsp sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
3 tbsp sour cream
1/4 cup ice water
2 egg whites

Add flour, salt, and 1 tsp sugar to food processor and process until combined.  Cut very cold butter into 1/4 inch cubes and add to food processor.  Pulse until butter is the size of large peas (about 10 pulses).  In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and ice water until combined.  Add half of the sour cream mixture to flour mixture.  Pulse for about 3 seconds.  Repeat with remaining mixture.  Pinch dough with fingers.  If it is floury and dry and does not hold together, add 1 tbsp of ice water at a time, and process until dough forms large clumps and there is no dry flour.

Turn dough onto floured work surface and form into a disk.  Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  During this time, make the filling.  After you are finishing chilling the dough, remove from plastic wrap on a floured surface and roll out to a 12-14 inch circle.  This does not have to be perfect because this will be a sort of free-form pie.  Set aside on parchment paper until you are ready to fill.

Ingredients for the filling
5-6 peaches
pinch of coarse salt
juice of half a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp corn starch
3-4 tbsp sugar

Preheat your oven with a pizza stone in it to 400 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cut a large X in the bottom of each peach, as demonstrated here and then add to the boiling water.  Allow them to boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Set aside peaches to cool until you can safely handle them, and peel back the skin.  If it does not come off easily, that's okay!  Just use a paring knife to help slip the skin off. 

Cut the peaches into wedges and discard the pits and skins.  Set the peach wedges in a mesh strainer and add a pinch of coarse salt and the lemon juice and toss it together.  Set the strainer over a medium bowl allow to macerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 1.5 hours. 

When the peaches are done macerating,  pour the accumulated juice into a small saucepan with 2 tbsp butter and allow to reduce to half on medium for about 5 minutes, or until it's syrupy.  Meanwhile, put the peaches back into a medium bowl and add the blueberries.  Toss with corn starch, 3-4 tbsp sugar, and the reduced juice. 

Add the filling to the center of the rolled out pie dough, taking care to leave 3-4 inches of dough around the sides as a border.  Take the edge of the dough and fold it over toward the middle, about 2-3 inches over the fruit filling.  Continue this all the way around the sides, crimping and pinching the dough so that it holds itself up around the filling.

Brush the crust border with the egg whites and sprinkle the last 2 tbsp of sugar over the crust. 

Bake on a pizza stone (or a baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone) for 40-45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is nice and brown.  Remove from oven (try using a pizza peel if you are having trouble taking it out) and set on a wire rack to cool slightly.  You may want to place a paper towel or dish cloth under the wire rack as the fruit filling may slip through any cracks in the crust.

Can be served warm with a scoop of ice cream or stored in an air tight container for up to 1 week.


  1. that dessert looks scrumptious!

  2. what a great idea - I had a salty cookie the other day and it threw me off at first but the notion of a savory dessert stuck with me.....

  3. DB, maybe you are onto something there!

  4. Wow, that's a great homage. As a side note, I love how approachable Steven Geddes is, he's not only a top-notch chef but he's got the whole front-of-the-house thing down.

  5. Courtney, I was very impressed with him. I slipped so easily back into my restaurant/wine/food talk that I used to do when I was in the wine industry and it made me miss the old relationships I had. He was very approachable and I can see why his restaurant has been so highly rated. Did you read the article about Local 127 in Cincinnati Magazine this month? Great piece.

  6. I did read it and it was a good one. That's great, I forgot you had a history n the industry. Very cool.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!