Berry Galette

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Apologies for the long absence – I’ve been preoccupied with a certain, major life event. But I’m back now, and just in time to celebrate summer food, starting with this tried-and-true berry galette. A galette, as you may well know, is a flat, open-faced, rustic tart with edges that are folded over the filling like a pleated, ruffled collar. You do have to make pastry and transfer it to a baking sheet, but after that it’s easy: the fruit or berries are spread out over the dough; honey and sugar are sprinkled on top; the edges of the dough are folded over, and into the oven it goes. Just as tasty as a traditional pie but more relaxed and forgiving.

I have made this recipe, adapted every so slightly from Baking with Julia, written by Dorie Greenspan and based on the PBS Master Chefs series hosted by Julia Child in the 1990s, many times. I’ve used apples, peaches, plums, rhubarb, and an assortment of berries, on their own or in various combinations – rhubarb and strawberry, for instance, or raspberry and peach. (The dough can also be turned into a delicious savoury Cheese and Tomato Galette, perfect as an appetizer, but I’ll save that for another day). This time I’m using wild frozen blueberries from Nova Scotia. They’re excellent, but if you’re looking forward to fresh and seasonal, wild blueberries from the Sudbury area or Quebec will be available in the Ottawa area soon, and cultivated blueberries are sold year-round.

The dough for this galette is buttery, flaky and tender, while at the same time a touch of cornmeal gives it a bit of a crunch. Use blueberries straight from the freezer; do not thaw first. The recipe makes enough dough for two, 8-inch galettes; shaped into discs and wrapped airtight, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days or frozen for one month.

Galette Dough
Ingredients
  • Makes enough for two 8-inch galettes
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream (or yogurt or buttermilk)
  • ⅓ cup (approximately) ice water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
Instructions
  1. TO MAKE THE DOUGH BY HAND, stir the sour cream and ⅓ cup ice water together in a small bowl and set aside. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a fork to mix. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl, tossing them once or twice just to coat them with flour. With a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour, aiming for pieces of butter that range in size from bread crumbs to small peas. The smaller pieces will make the dough tender, the larger ones will make it flaky.
  2. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you’ve added all of the sour cream (you may not need the entire amount), the dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if it’s not, add additional cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time. With your hands, gather the curds of dough together. (You’ll have a soft, malleable dough, the kind you might want to overwork.)
  3. Turn the dough out of the bowl and divide it in half. Press each piece of dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. TO MAKE THE DOUGH IN A FOOD PROCESSOR, stir the sour cream and ⅓ cup ice water together in a small bowl; set aside. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl and pulse 8 to 10 times, or until the mixture is speckled with pieces of butter that vary in size from bread crumbs to peas. With the machine running, add the sour cream mixture and process just until the dough forms soft, moist curds.
  5. Remove the dough from the processor, divide it in half, and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
  6. Storing: The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two, or it can be wrapped airtight and frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, in the refrigerator. It is convenient to roll the dough into rounds, place parchment between each round, and freeze them wrapped in plastic; this way, you’ll need only about 20 minutes to defrost a round of dough at room temperature before it can be filled, folded into a galette, and baked.

 
Berry Galette
Ingredients
  • ½ recipe Galette Dough
  • 1½ cups mixed fresh berries (or cut-up peeled fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the even to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it into an 11-inch circle that’s about ⅛ inch thick. Since the dough is soft, you’ll need to lift it now and then and toss some more flour under it and over the top. Roll up the dough around your rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Spread the berries over the dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the fruit and drizzle on the honey, if you’re using it. Cut the butter into slivers and scatter it on top of the fruit. Fold the uncovered border of dough up over the filling, allowing the dough to pleat as you lift it up and work your way around the galette. (Because you’re folding a wide edge of dough onto a smaller part of the circle, it will pleat naturally - just go with it.) Dip a pastry brush in water, give the edge of the crust a light coating, and then sprinkle the crust with the remaining teaspoon of sugar.
  4. Bake the galette for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the galette rest on the sheet for 10 minutes. Slip a wide spatula or a small baking sheet under the galette and slide it onto the cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, cutting the tart with a pizza wheel or a sharp knife.
  5. The galette is best eaten the day it is made.

 

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