There was a hamburger-bun size piece of all-butter pastry dough leftover from the lattice top strawberry pie that I baked last weekend. My initial plan was to roll it out, cut it into thin sticks, brush with milk and sprinkle it with sugar and bake into crisp cookies. I couldn’t commit so I put the pie dough into the freezer. Last night, we had friends over for dinner and I needed a fast and easy dessert that was also kind of special. I thawed the pie dough for a galette – a freeform filled crusty cake. It doesn’t require a pie pan and even if you don’t get things right, it’ll still look charming. Galettes are also a great way to use up pie dough. You literally can make the filling on the fly and make it not too sweet so that the fruit flavor comes through well.
For the galette, I went to the farmers’s market and purchased local strawberries and blackberries to add to the cherries we had in the fridge. We got back at 5pm. I preheated the oven and went to work on the galette. Michael and Eve were coming at 6pm and they are punctual people.
I applied what I’d learned from Evan and Nancies’ pie classes — rap/bang on the firm, chilled dough with the rolling pin then roll it out, flouring lightly, as needed. The filling was improvised with a touch of sugar, spice, and Pomona’s Pectin. Saturday’s strawberry pie recipe got cinnamon, last night’s galette got ground ginger. The tricky part of a galette is to keep the pile of fruit in the center but also in the fold. You want a large border to help you fold in the dough to make the rim; during baking, the rim shrinks back and you want to keep things inside.
I rolled the dough to about 3/16-inch (4mm) thick because I needed a galette to feed 4 adults. Like with a dumpling wrapper that gets folded over, the edge was thinner. Then I centered the filling and folded over the rim, nudging filling into the folds as I worked so it was well distributed.
I finessed Nancie’s baking temperatures and time – keeping in mind that the initial time on moderately-high heat is to zap the dough and help to crisp it up, then the heat is lowered to a moderate level to bake all the way through. By the time Eve and Michael arrived, the galette was nearly done baking. Coincidentally, Eve baked a plum and walnut galette so we had a mini-galette feast for dessert.
Eve baked hers with backyard fruit and arranged the plum wedges beautifully. Mine was a pile of summer’s bounty that I could hold in my hand. Both were glorious. Galettes are great for improvisational encrusted desserts. You can take them many directions this time of year; eyeball the amount of fruit to use for the amount of dough you have (e.g., use 3 to 4 times the amount of fruit to dough in terms of volume). Peaches, nectarines, blueberries, whatever is super tasty where you are and the galette mood strikes you.
Berry Cherry Galette
Yields: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) coarsely chopped fresh fruit, such as blackberries, strawberries and cherries
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, or scant 1/2 teaspoon calcium water and 1/2 teaspoon Pomona’s Universal Pectin
- Pinch of ground ginger
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- A small hamburger bun-size amount of all-butter pie pastry dough
- 1 to 2 teaspoons milk
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425F (220 C / gas mark 7). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- For the filling, combine the fruit, 2 tablespoons sugar, flour (or calcium water and pectin), ground ginger, and lemon juice. Taste to make sure you like the sweet-tart finish. Adjust as you like. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured board, bang/rap on the dough and roll it out to about 10 inches (25 cm) wide. Make the edge thinner. Transfer to the lined baking sheet.
- Center the fruit filling on top, creating a low domed hill and keeping a 1 1/2-inch (3.75 cm) rim. Fold over the rim and gently press in place. Brush with milk and sprinkle the rim with sugar.
- Bake for 12 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 (175 C / gas mark 4) and bake for about 18 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and pastry golden brown. Cool partially or completely before serving.
Related post: Perfect Strawberry Pie Recipe