A Fruit Galette Sampler

I never plan to make a galette. I wake up and see that I’ve got some nice fruit, some interesting jam and a bit of time, and that’s when I decide. I don’t have a formal recipe, but I’ll share with you how I make them. I’m sure my technique is not perfect—as I’ve said before, I’m not a baker. But here I sit with a big mug of café au lait and a slice of my warm, free-form peach and apple cider jam galette and I think it is just about perfect. Maybe that’s because an hour ago I didn’t even know I was going to make it.

A fruit galette is a sort of tart or maybe we can stretch our imaginations just a bit and call it a type of shallow pie. Please refer back to the “The Rules for Pie” post. They are easy to make and you can put almost anything on a galette, so they frequent my weekend breakfast table. I just made one today using some local peaches from the farmers market. You can use whatever combination of fruit and jam you like and you really don’t need a recipe. They provide the perfect opportunity to experiment and be creative.

First you need a dough for the crust. Sure you can use a store bought, pre-made one, but honestly, pie dough is super easy to make. Below is my basic pie crust recipe for one galette.

Basic Pie Crust

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp. ice cold water
2 tbsp sugar (optional)

Mix together the flour and salt. Cut the chilled and cubed butter into the flour mixture, gently, until you have chickpea-sized pieces. It will be lumpy and bumpy, don’t be nervous, that’s totally fine. You can use a pastry cutter, or a fork. You can even use your hands (if your hands are not hot!). The dough will be better if you don’t over-work the mixing. The big idea with making pastry dough is that you want to keep it cool. You want that butter to stay together and not get melty. My mother even chilled the bowl she used and her crusts were fabulous. I roll mine out on a marble slab which seems to always stay cool. After the butter, add the vinegar and then the cold water, just a little at a time and toss lightly, until the dough comes together. You can add more water as needed, just a bit at a time if the dough feels dry. FYI, you may not need all of the water in the recipe. You want the dough to be firm, but not sticky. Gently form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. So easy!

Four Fruit and Jam Galettes
These are my four favorite fruit and jam combinations.

Peach and Plum with Apricot Jam
Blueberry with Lemon Curd
Pear with Fig Spread
Mixed Summer Berry (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, whatever!) and Raspberry Jam

For all of these galettes I preheat the over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. On a floured surface I gently roll my dough into a big circle about 1/4 inch thick. I lightly spray a baking sheet (you could also use parchment paper), and place the dough on the sheet unfilled.

The quantity of fruit you use is really flexible. Remember I said you don’t really need a recipe? The peach tart I made today had 4 peaches in it because I had only 4 peaches. You can sparsely load the tart for a more delicate galette, or you can pile it on. For the pear and the peach/plum tart, let’s say 4 pieces of fruit would work for starters. For the blueberry and summer berry tart, maybe 2 cups or so of berries would work. You be the judge on how much fruit you want to add. I wash and dry all of the fruit and thinly slice the fruit that needs slicing (pears, plums, peaches, strawberries). I don’t peel the fruit, but that’s up to you, I like my galettes rustic.

Toss the fruit with a tiny bit of lemon juice and maybe a couple of tablespoons of flour. You can add sugar and any spices you like. A tiny bit of cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, ginger, lime, vanilla—whatever you like and think would work with your fruit and your jam combination. I typically do not add any sugar or any seasoning because the jam I use adds so much flavor.

After you’ve prepared your fruit, place it in the center of the dough, being sure to leave a couple of inches of dough free of fruit all the way around. You can arrange the fruit however you like. For the sliced fruit I generally fan the slices and make a pattern with them. Then I take my jam of choice (maybe 1/4 cup, I’m sorry, I just never measure) and water it down very slightly (you don’t want it too liquidy because the fruit will generate a lot of liquid) to make a thick syrup. I brush this syrup over the fruit. Sometimes I even put some on the dough before I add the fruit. Then fold up the edges of the dough so that it holds the fruit in the center. Don’t worry about how it looks. Brush an egg wash over the dough and sprinkle with a coarse sugar. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes until golden brown, longer if needed to get the fruit soft and the crust done.

Some other combinations I’ve tried are apricots with orange marmalade, apples with raisins and apple butter, and cherry and almond butter. There are savory ones too. If you want real recipes with exact measurements, Bon Appétit just added 15 recipes, link below. They even show you how to make a pie crust without a bowl I believe. After you’ve made some following a recipe, you’ll see how easy they are and maybe do what I do—just decide one morning, “I’ve got some nice fruit, I think I’ll make a galette”.

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/galette-recipes

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Pie Anxiety

Ingredients:
Flour
Salt
Fat
Water
Acid (optional)
Cautionary Words

It starts with the crust. That is where most of us feel anxious. But why does the combination of 4 or 5 simple, everyday ingredients make us pause while in the market, then flip that box of pre-made pie dough into our basket? We are worried. We are worried about tough, chewy crust. We are worried about not being flaky enough! We are worried that if we invest so much time (and money) into a filling and then add that filling to a subpar crust, that we will just ruin the whole pie experience. And we will have wasted our time.

When does this anxiety start? For me it started at age 8 when I first began to make pies on my own. There were always so very many words of caution from my mother, most of them about the pie dough, and not about the filling! “Be gentle, use a light touch” “make sure everything is cold or it’ll get sticky” “don’t over mix—don’t overwork or it’ll get tough” “roll it out carefully or it will break” “add water a little at a time, because you don’t want it to get sticky” and on and on, variations of the same basic cautions told in different ways. I listened. I watched my mother and grandmother and great aunts make pies. I tried it out myself. Yes, there were some tough crusts. But, I learned, and the crusts got less tough, and sometimes they were perfect.

Just 4 or 5 simple ingredients: flour; fat; salt; cold water; and if you like, a tiny bit of acid. My mother always used all-purpose bleached flour, but you can try other kinds, each will have it’s own unique quality and will of course affect the outcome in some way. There are lots of options for the fat. My-great grandmother used lard, the go-to for ladies born in the nineteenth century. My grandmother and mother used vegetable shortening and I learned by using that too. It does make a crust flaky, but it tastes pretty bland. Now I use unsalted butter, which provides a lot of flavor and you still get some flakiness. You could use a combo of butter and shortening—best of both worlds I suppose. I’ve heard that vegetable oil can be used—I’ve never tried that. For vegans who don’t want to use the highly proceeded shortening (or vegtetable oil) there is margarine (is that less processed than the shortening I wonder?) and even coconut oil. Adding an acid is optional and it can be a bit of lemon juice or maybe some vinegar, just a touch. And of course you need some really cold water. I always put ice cubes in my water.

Aren’t those some simple ingredients? Do they make you feel nervous? The process is simple too—really, really simple, but I won’t go into that here (this is not a recipe). Sure, you can just buy that pre-made dough, but it is bland and you are buying a lot of packaging (I try to steamline that as much as I can). So, don’t be nervous and ask yourself “do you love the pies that one of your relatives makes—a grandmother, a parent, a great aunt?” If the answer is “yes” then you’ve got an instructor who can give you the advise and courage you need to make your very own pie crusts.

Use that person as your trusted source. Hear all of their words of caution. Study the way they add and combine the fat and the water. Watch them treat the dough gently and roll it carefully. Remember how they trim and flute the edges. It’s a start. And once you gather that important family pie history, you are ready to try it yourself. Adjust the ingredients to suit you. Then go make some tough dough. Make some dough that’s not flaky. And sometimes make some dough that is perfect. And remember, it’s just pie.

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Greek Yogurt and Peach Tart and the "ingredient which we cannot name"

There were fresh peaches at the market. So, our decision was made—our first pie had to include peaches.

The mother started making pies by herself when she was 8 years old. She made apple, wild berry and peach pies primarily. Homemade crusts and fresh fruit from the nearby farms and woods were the standard for the pie making. So for our first pie, we wanted to branch out a bit from the more traditional peach pie. We settled on a custard pie that featured peaches, and yogurt, and sour cream (the ingredient that we could not say out loud.)

We asked the father to pick up the yogurt and the sour cream for us, and he made an audible “ack!” sound when we said “sour cream.” You see, he can’t even tolerate the words, some people are like that about sour cream, and so, we had to keep quiet about adding this ingredient until after he ate the pie. Then we told him. Does that make us bad people?

We did make banana bread as well. Just in case things did not go well with the tart.

The Ingredients:

Store bought crust (you can certainly make your own, we aren’t stopping you)

2 egg whites

Pinch of salt

7 Tbsp sugar

9 Tbsp of greek yogurt (I know measuring tablespoons of yogurt was a big pain, convert this to cups if you can figure that out)

9 Tbsp of sour cream (not as hard to measure as the yogurt, but still a lot of scooping and leveling and then scooping out of the tablespoon)

1 Tbsp of vanilla

1/4 tsp of baking powder

6 Tbsp of flour

2 egg yolks

4 peaches halved (total of 8 halves, can be fresh or canned)

The Instructions:

Grease a baking dish approx. 10x6x2 inches. We used a cooking spray.

Preheat oven 350 F

Put pastry crust in bottom and up 1 inch of the sides of the dish.

Peak crust with fork, cover with baking beans and bake for approx. 7 minutes. Our crust came out just a bit firm, but not baked. We thought that was fine.

Mix egg whites, salt and sugar until you have a thick mixture.

Combine yogurt, sour cream, vanilla, baking power, flour and egg yolks. Then slowing fold into egg white mixture. Mix gently, but well.

Pour mixture into the partially baked crust.

Place your halved peaches, cut half down, equally spaced into the mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes. I baked mine a bit longer as it was a little gooey after 25 minutes, but then, it seemed I baked it too long. Oh well. Just try the 25 minutes and see what you think.

Cool and dust with powdered sugar if you like. We did not do this.

The Critique:

Overall it was pretty good and all gone in a couple of days. It turned out like a thick, firm custard, with just a hint of tartness, which was a nice contrast to the fresh, sweetness of the peaches. We actually added more peaches, sliced, around the halved peaches and that made it better for us, but it probably didn’t look as pretty and perfect as having the 8 regimented peach halves arranged just so. It took a bit more time to make than we thought it would. We think that the ends did not justify the means, for us, and so, we probably would not make this again, even though we enjoyed it.

The collage art was made on an iPad using Procreate.

The Rules for Pie

We are NOT bakers or cooks. We are NOT writers even. We deeply appreciate people who cook well and write well and we are not pretending to be either. We are simply two artists. A mother and a daughter. Who love food, especially pie. For breakfast.

We do like to draw food. (To be honest, maybe it’s just the mother who likes to draw food and the daughter who likes to draw abstract shapes and symbols.) But, here we are, willing to give this project a go, and maybe, who knows, it’ll be as much about our relationship to each other as to the pie we make. Or maybe it’ll just be about the food, and that’s fine and probably better.

We’ll critique the recipes from our “unprofessional” point of view. And just because we may like them or not like them, does not in any way mean a recipe won’t be a success or a disaster for you.

For our first ever food blog, the mother and daughter decided they needed some rules. Here they are:

  1. We’ll only literally feature “pie that you can eat for breakfast.” Let’s keep this simple, shall we?

  2. We would take turns picking recipes.

  3. We would work on making them and writing about them together.

  4. We would create some artwork related to the pie in some way. Hopefully together, but the daughter might be a “guest” participant in this capacity. The mother was all in.

  5. We would try to do this 3 times a month.

  6. While traveling, we could feature pie that we do not make, but would eat for breakfast.

Then, we made our rules for what constitutes a “pie.” And here are those rules:

  1. It has to have crust on the bottom. But does not have to have crust on the top. The daughter thought that it could have crust on the top ONLY and NOT have crust on the bottom at all, and still count, but the mother said “no, that’s not a pie, that’s a cobbler or a casserole.” But, the daughter said, “but mom, you make chicken pot PIE and that only has crust on the top?” And the mother said nothing, and continued to type up the rules.

  2. The crust on the bottom can be any type of crust. Pastry crust, puff pastry, graham cracker, hash browns even, as long as it has a crust on the bottom.

  3. We do not have to make the crust from scratch. We are not purists, for cryin’ out loud. We also aren’t vegan, or gluten-free, but we do want to include those sorts of recipes.

  4. A pie can be savory or sweet.

  5. It can be any size or shape. Round, square, a hand-held pie even.

  6. It can be a galette, or tart, or even a quiche, as long as it has a crust on the bottom and a filling inside. Then, the daughter said “a pizza has crust on the bottom, so pizza can be a pie.” The mother said, “no, pizza does not count, it does not have a filling, it has ‘toppings’” and the daughter said “but deep dish pizza has fillings” and the mother said, “well then maybe deep dish pizza would be okay.”