Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Galette: pie for dummies, Girl Scouts & crust lovers

Why do I call galette "pie for dummies"? Because I think the hardest, most troublesome thing about pie is the handling and shaping of the dough. With galette (aka crostata), the dough is simply rolled out in a circle, the filling is heaped in the middle, the perimeter edge folded up over the filling and then it's baked. Tough, huh? I can't think of a baked pastry that's easier or more foolproof than freeform galettes! And now for the Girl Scout part: if you make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the freezer, you can be ready for those unexpected times when some glorious, ripe fruit magically appears in your shopping basket... or in the dead of winter, using apples or frozen fruit, you can surprise and delight your favorite crust lover with a lovely galette for breakfast or dessert. Is that not the definition of sheer happiness?

Freeform Tart Pastry
from Baking Illustrated

I like this dough because it's strong and withstands handling better than regular pie dough. The cornmeal also adds rustic texture and subtle flavor.

2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. ice water
1 c. (5 oz.) unbleached AP flour
1/4 c. fine stone ground cornmeal
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
7 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

Stir sour cream and ice water together and set aside in the refrigerator. Process the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a food processor, using 1-second pulses, until combined. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour mixture and pulse until most of the butter is incorporated. Dribble the water-sour cream mixture in and pulse until the dough just comes together (you may not need to use all of the water-sour cream). Gather the dough into a ball, place it on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a 6" dia. disk. Wrap the disk tightly with the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours; or place in a freezer bag and freeze for future use.

Galette Fruit Filling
inspired by Home Baking (Alford/Duguid)

3 c. fresh fruit (pitted and sliced stone fruits, berries, apples, etc.)
5 tsp.+ sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
1/4 c. finely chopped toasted almonds or walnuts
3 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place prepared fruit in a bowl, toss with 3 tsp. of sugar or more to taste. If the fruit is very juicy, toss with the cornstarch (make sure it dissolves). Allow the galette dough to come to near room temperature. On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough to a 12-13" dia. circle or oval. Spread the nuts evenly on the dough, leaving a 2" border. Mound the fruit over the nut layer and scatter the butter pieces on top. Fold and pleat the edges of the dough over the fruit, like a camera's aperture (or, for you TV sci-fi fans, like the Stargate's iris), leaving a good-sized hole in the middle to allow steam and excess fruit juices to escape. Brush the dough with water, then sprinkle the remaining 2 tsp. of sugar on top. Slide the tart with the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. If you suspect your galette is near the point of deconstructing itself, you can pull up the four corners of the parchment and staple them together, as in the photo, to hold everything together. Bake for approximately 40 min., or until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbly. If you stapled the corners, pull them apart for the last 10 min. of baking to allow the crust to brown properly. If the fruit looks dry or unappealing, warm up some jam and spoon or pour it onto the fruit. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely. I like the cornmeal in the dough. I've never tried that before, but I think I'll like it when I do try it:)