Festive autumn fruits galette
When I have to bring something home-made to a party, rather than have to worry about retrieving my cookware, or marking it on the bottom with my name and phone number, as I used to do, I find a way to make everything I bake (or cook) one-way. No matter how pretty the container, I just don’t want to have to worry about it getting lost or broken.
My favorite baked products are in the pie family. This is one of those that I absolutely love to make, because it is so easy. Also, they can be made large for a group or small enough to be individual, hand-held ‘pies’. The French refer to these as galettes (Italian: crostata). I can make them without referring to a formula, so these are also good for whipping something up when visiting.
Galettes are supposed to be rustic, so you can toss them together and they will look as authentic as if they came from a Paris bakery. However, I dressed these up a bit when I made them. (You will have to overlook the sloppy photos, taken for my own baking book in progress, in 2010).
These instructions are very precise, because that way, you will get the result you expect. However, you can be less obsessive about this. I just tend to give formulas the way I was instructed by professional bakers and I find it saves me from failures. Once you do this, you will see it is effortless — it just seems detailed here, first time ’round.
By the way, don’t skip the glazing step. One thing I learned at the bakery is that no baked product should have a dull finish — everything is glossed, with the appropriate product, one that is found in the ingredients of the product itself. So, here, the shine comes from a wash made with sugar. If there were eggs in a product, like challah, for example, then an egg wash would be used for the shiny effect, milk would be used in a product containing dairy like a quick puff pastry dough. That means, egg or milk washes should not be used in a galette, etc., etc.
When choosing rolling pins, by the way, the heavier the better. I have one that my great-grandmother brought from England, made from solid walnut and it is still my best rolling pin.
Makes two 8 inch galettes (see my Master Pie dough formula). Click on the pictures, for full size versions.
- 700 grams of master pie dough* with confectioner’s sugar, pastry flour, and no salt
- 2 lbs fall fruits (apples, peaches, pears) – washed, cut, seeded/pitted only, and sliced
- ¼ cup butter pecan syrup or equivalent, i.e., golden syrup (Cost Plus carries this) + walnut or almond flavoring (in a pinch, use honey — no Karo [corn] syrup please)
- 6-8 dates, soaked in brandy to reconstitute, then pitted and chopped – no need to drain
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Apple pie or pumpkin pie spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, etc. – up to 2 teaspoons total, to taste
- Pinch salt
- ¼ cup flour for thickening
- ½ fresh lemon juice
- ½ fresh lemon, rind
- ½ stick butter for dotting
- Wash made of fruit juice and powdered sugar or brandy and powdered sugar.
- Sparkling sugar for decoration (You can get this at Michaels).
*You can use any gluten-free substitute flour; the dough may need gentle handling.
- Divide dough into two thick disks and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Place rack in the middle.
- In a deep bowl, combine cut fruits, chopped dates, pecan syrup, lemon juice, rind, and brown sugar. Toss to mix thoroughly.
- Add in spices and toss until well distributed.
- Add in flour and toss to coat evenly.
- Roll out one disk to about 12 inch circle, on a well floured (or confectioner’s sugared) surface.
- With pizza wheel, trim to 10 inches, for a smooth, even edge – reserve scraps, refrigerating temporarily.
- Carefully lift the circle to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, preferably round.
- Spoon half of fruit mixture into the middle of the pastry circle, leaving about 2 inches free, all around.
- Dot with butter, evenly around the fruit area.
- Fold in the edge of the circle and pleat neatly all the way around the galette.
- Brush the sugar wash all over the surface of the pastry, avoiding the inside open circle with the fruit mixture.
- Roll out the reserved pastry scraps and cut out apple or pear shapes with a ½” pastry cutter.
- Place them decoratively around the inner rim of the pastry.
- Wash lightly with the sugar mixture.
- Sprinkle sparkling or sanding sugar liberally over the top of the galette.
- Put in the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes.
- Rotate 180 degrees front to back.
- Bake another 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool on pan for at least 15 minutes and then transfer to serving platter. If you are travelling with these, just cut out a thick cardboard circle, cover it with foil, place the cooled galette on top and then doubled cover with plastic wrap all the way around. Do this the way the pros do by setting the plastic wrap on a surface above the galette with its cardboard base and pull out the plastic wrap, anchoring it on the edge of your counter; place the galette on this extended sheet and then carefully stretch the plastic roll over the front of the galette, then down and around again, cutting it off and fixing it on the bottom. Then stretch the sides to make a clear, tight, secure, protective package. You can put a bow on top of this, if it is a gift.
**Pastry flour will add flake to the dough; AP flour will be produce dough that is easier to handle.
†Do not substitute anything else for pure butter.
Cookie cutters: William Sonoma
©2005-2015 – Text/photo excerpt from unpublished manuscript Chapter 9, “Pie and tart doughs”, 50 Fool-proof Master Formulas and Techniques ™. All rights reserved – Beth Byrnes
Images: Beth Byrnes archive