Galettes Are Pie When You Can't Deal With Pie
In my family, my dad is the pastry chef. He bakes as a way to relax, and over many decades, he has honed a piemaking technique that rivals anything that I’ve tried from cookbooks or my culinary school. My dad is fluent In the language of pie dough. Personally, I’m more like someone who took a few years in high school and has subsequently forgotten most things. I can put together a pie, but in the summer, I usually end up going for its less finicky cousin, the galette.
A galette, if you’re unfamiliar, is a kind of open-faced, freeform pie. The dough for the crust is the same as a traditional pie, but the structure of the dessert is different. Rather than fitting the dough to a pie dish, you simply roll it out into a large baking sheet—for this Peach and Blackberry galette, Chef Katie Button recommends one roughly 14 inches in diameter and then trimming it to 12 inches. Then, after chilling the dough round on a parchment-lined baking sheet, you pile in your fruit filling, leaving an inch and a half or so on the border clear, pleat the edge of the dough over, and bake the dessert on a baking sheet until the crust is golden-brown.
As for the filling, you can really use whatever fruit you fancy. Button uses a pound of peaches sliced into wedges and eight ounces of blackberries, plus lemon zest, lemon juice, melted butter, and thyme. You can go for whatever fruit you happen to have around that might be good in a pie—plums, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, or whatever else. To her galette, Button also adds 1/3 cup of sugar and two tablespoons cornstarch. The sugar is to enhance the sweetness of the berries, and you can adjust that up or down to whatever kind of fruit you have on hand, according to your preference. The cornstarch helps thicken the sweet juices that run out of the fruit as it cooks.
Galettes don’t have to be sweet, though. Samantha Fore’s Roasted Curry Tomato Galette incorporates spices into the dough and uses a filling of ripe summer tomatoes, onions cooked with tamarind, and cheese for a savory dinner galette. Once you get the hang of the basic format, the galette can accommodate all kinds of fillings, from wild mushrooms to roasted squash and herbs. It’s easy as...well, galette.