Some kids go for finger painting while others prefer coloring books. I was always a finger painting girl. Maybe that’s why I prefer galettes over pies. This free form dessert is easy to make, forgiving if you botch the rolling of the crust, and beautiful in its rustic simplicity.
This weekend I offered to bring dessert to a friend’s dinner party. With peaches on the counter and a pie crust in the freezer, a peach galette was the obvious choice. I used Dorie Greenspan’s summer fruit galette recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours. For the exact (and wonderful) recipe, you’ll have to check out the book. (No stealing of recipes on this blog!) But follow my galette-making and tips to see how to make one of your own in a snap.
A galette is a filling encased in pie crust dough without a pie pan.
I made a batch of pie crusts and froze them – perfect to pull out on short notice. If you really don’t do pie dough, buy a good quality crust not already in a pan. Make sure the dough is refrigerator–level cool when you start. If it’s too warm, it will get sticky and won’t roll properly.
Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper. I wanted mine to be a specific size, so I measured it, but you can eyeball it. If you start with a round ball of dough and roll in different directions, you can keep the dough circular. Use a knife or pizza cutter if you need to round it off.
You’ll need to leave a border of a few inches without filling for folding over the fruit. I do that by pricking a circle inside the dough with tongs of a fork. Then fill the inside circle with a bit of jam and graham cracker or cookie crumbs to soak up the fruit juices. I usually use graham crackers, but didn’t have any this time, so I ground up some oatmeal cookies.
Move the dough on the parchment to a cookie sheet and refrigerate it while you prepare the fruit. Peel the “stone” fruit, whether peaches, nectarines, apricots, or plums – or a combination. I have a peeler with a serrated edge (a regular peeler won’t work); you probably don’t have such a specialized gadget. Don’t despair, it’s easy to peel the fruit using the same technique as for peeling tomatoes. Because you are peeling and cutting the fruit, you can save money at a farmers market buying “seconds.” I did; the ones I got had spots on their skins – that I promptly peeled off.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the fruit (if you like the pieces smaller, then cut the slices in half), take the dough out of the refrigerator and pile the fruit inside the center circle in the dough. I start with a flat layer, building from the center to the outside and then add on without being too obsessive about placement.
Gently pull the outer ring of (unfilled) dough up over the fruit, pleating as you go. The dough does not cover the fruit completely. Pat the overlapping dough a bit, sprinkle with raw (coarse or Demarra) sugar and bake the galette for about 20 -30 minutes, until the crust is light brown and the fruit is tender.
You can call it a day at this point, or use Dorie’s genius addition – custard (made of an egg, some sugar, vanilla, and melted cooled butter) spooned into into the crevices of the cooked galette. With the custard, the galette must be baked for another 10-15 minutes until the custard is set. Tip – if the crust is getting too dark, during baking cover it with 3-4 thin pieces of foil, leaving the center of the galette uncovered.
Either way – plain or with custard – it’s happy eating!