I did not start out to make this Apple Rhubarb Galette. But once I did, I was smitten by it.
The season for rhubarb is short – in the US it’s “field grown” in the spring to early summer. (Hothouse rhubarb is available in the previous months, from late winter to early spring.) Rhubarb looks something like reddish celery, The leaves are poisonous and the only edible part is the stalk. I’ve never seen a recipe using it raw. When cooked, it tastes tart. I’d liken it to a super tart apple. Mostly used in desserts, jam, and chutney, rhubarb is one of those foods that some people go crazy for and others cannot imagine what all the fuss is about. My experiences with rhubarb are only recent, but I have become a fan. Rhubarb, apple, and pear crisp was my first foray into cooking with rhubarb. Then I tried blueberry rhubarb streusel cake. And now I’m using it in pies.
I joined a local CSA this year and got some rhubarb in my second box two weeks ago.
I planned to make a strawberry rhubarb pie with them, only to discover that I needed way more rhubarb than just those few stalks for a pie. So my beloved, being sweet and also desirous of said pie, got me more rhubarb. The pie turned out well.
But it left me with extra – ironically, three stalks – the same amount I started with from the CSA. After looking in my refrigerator for ingredients (as well as inspiration), I decided that an apple rhubarb galette was the simplest and best way to use the remaining rhubarb.
Why a galette? Essentially a galette is simply a rustic, free-form pie. Like the Italian version, called a crostata, a galette can be savory or sweet. By its nature, a galette is infinitely flexible. In these times when ingredients may be limited, the galette is a perfect way to combine and experiment. You pile the filling into the center of pie dough, fold the dough toward the center and bake. There is no worrying about whether the shape is perfectly round or whether the folds look neat. If it tastes good, it is good.
Here’s how I turned my three stalks and a few stray apples into a delicious dessert.
I started with pie dough, the fruit (including some orange peel), a bit of sugar and cornstarch, vanilla and salt. You can use homemade or store-bought pie dough, but in either case, use really good dough. (I used Cathy Barrow’s all-butter, flaky pie dough. It is similar to Dorie Greenspan’s galette dough recipe.
Then I remembered that I had just made some crystallized ginger and added a heaping tablespoon, finely diced. Of course, that’s optional, but for ginger lovers like me, a bit of sweetened ginger elevates a fruit pie or crisp like almost nothing else.
I rolled out the pie dough between two pieces of parchment. On the top one, I drew a circle about 12-inches in diameter, using the top of a pie plate to guide me.
After that, I covered it back up with the top piece of parchment and refrigerated the pie dough, I moved onto the filling.
I mixed the fruit and the sugars, cornstarch and salt.
Before putting the filling in the pie dough, I spread out some graham cracker crumbs on the dough, to soak up the filling juices. I learned that tip from Dorie Greenspan, who also taught me to roll out the dough and fill it on a sheet of parchment, so I can slip the parchment onto a sheet pan without disturbing the galette.
This is a very forgiving recipe. As long as you get the filling in the center and the dough folded toward the center, you’re good.
After you fold the galette dough over the filling, dot the filling with the butter.
You can see what turned out to be a little “issue” for my galette – the runny juices. But no worries – if the juices run out during baking, just collect them and cool, then pour them over the cooled galette.
For me, the glaze is simple but essential. Using raw or demerara sugar adds crunch – if you don’t have it, “regular”, i.e. granulated sugar works to add sweetness to the dough (which doesn’t have sugar in it) but without the crunch.
The galette will not rise, but the dough gets cooked and browns, while the fruit softens.
Do not expect to cut perfectly smooth pieces. Just as the whole is rustic, so are the portions.
I like my apple rhubarb galette plain, but if you prefer a topping, I’d propose ice cream, slightly sweetened whipped cream, or a yogurt/sour cream mixture with a hint of maple syrup or sugar and possibly orange zest.
Apple Rhubarb Galette
This free-form pie is incredibly easy and flexible. Use your creativity and what you have on hand to make it your own - a delicious spring/summer dessert.
Pie dough (made from scratch or store bought)
- 6 ounces rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups) 170 g
- 12 ounces apple, peeled, cored, thinly sliced and each slice cut into halves or thirds (about 2 medium-large apples) 350 g
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon grated rind,
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 ounces granulated sugar (heaping 3/4 cup) 170 g
- 2 ounces dark brown sugar, packed (heaping 1/4 cup) 57 g
- 1/2 ounce cornstarch (2 tablespoons) 15 g
- 1 ounce unsalted butter (2 tablespoons) 29 g
- 1/2 ounce crystallized ginger, finely diced (1 heaping tablespoon) - optional 15 g
- 3 tablespoons graham cracker or cookie crumbs (0.7 ounces) 20 g
- 1/2 fluid ounce milk (1 tablespoon) 15 milliliters
- 2 ounces raw (demerara) sugar (2 tablespoons) - or a bit more 48 g
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured parchment sheet to 12 inches in diameter. Refrigerate the round (covered, on the parchment) while making the filling.
Mix the apple pieces, rhubarb chunks, vanilla, orange or lemon rind, salt, and crystallized ginger (if using) in a large bowl. Set aside.
Mix the sugars and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the fruit and mix until no dry ingredients show.
Take the pastry out of the refrigerator. (Slide the parchment on a cookie sheet before or after adding the filling.) Spread the graham cracker or cookie crumbs in a circle about 9-inches in diameter. Gently spread the filling over the crumbs, then fold the edges of the pastry toward the middle, overlapping and roughly, leaving a circle of 4-6 inches in the middle.
Add the glaze by brushing the milk over all of the pastry and sprinkling the raw (demerara) sugar over the milk.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/204°C. Refrigerate the galette on the cookie sheet while the oven pre-heats. Bake the galette for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375° F/190° C and continue baking for about 30-40 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the filling bubbles. Keep an eye on the galette as it bakes. (See note below about juices from the fruit.) Let the galette cool on the cookie sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The graham cracker or cookie crumbs help absorb the moisture from the fruit. If the juices still run out of the galette during baking, scoop them up with a spoon and cool the juices in a small bowl. Once the galette has cooled down, return the juices to the galette by pouring them over the opening in the center.