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What Is a Galette?
A galette is a rustic French dessert composed of free-form pastry dough topped with a sweet or savory filling. The word "galette” comes from the Norman word gale, meaning flat cake. Galettes are popular both for their ease of creation and their versatility. While a traditional galette filling consists of fruit, butter, and sugar, many chefs prepare galettes with rich, savory fillings or a wide array of sweet mixtures.
The 2 Components That Make a Galette
This simple dessert is composed of:
- A pie-like pastry dough or puff pastry: The dough is usually rolled out extra wide so that it can be folded over the top to encase some of the fruit filling.
- A filling: Galettes are typically made with seasonal fruits, but other ingredients can be used, such as eggs and potatoes for a savory version.
3 Different Types of Galettes
In addition to the tart-like galette commonly known in the US, there are three other types of galette worth knowing.
- Galette des rois: This galette is made with double crust puff pastry and an almond paste filling. It's traditionally eaten in celebration of Epiphany, one of the last Christmas season holidays in France.
- Galette comtoise: A variation of the galette des rois made with a thick layer of choux pastry flavored with orange blossom.
- Breton galette: A crepe made with buckwheat flour, the Breton galette originated in Brittany in Northern France. It’s typically filled with savory ingredients, such as gruyere cheese or even seaweed butter.
7 Ways to Fill a Rustic Galette
Most galettes are filled with summer fruits, but the options don't end there.
- Summer fruit galette: a perfect summer dessert made with stone fruit, berries, or other summer produce. Peach galettes are some of the most popular varieties.
- Savory Italian galette: a savory galette prepared with tomato, mozzarella, and basil.
- “Apple pie” galette with caramel sauce: cinnamon-laced apple pie filling on a rustic galette crust, topped with a luscious caramel sauce.
- Blueberry crumble galette: a sweet blueberry mixture layered with nuts on a sweet galette.
- Winter squash and caramelized onion galette: a fall-friendly galette with thinly sliced butternut squash and caramelized onions.
- Chocolate cherry galette: a fruit dessert topped with sliced black cherries and semisweet chocolate sauce.
- Fig and ricotta galette: a sweet-and-savory galette with whipped ricotta and figs.
6 Tips for Making the Perfect Pie Crust
The first step to creating a perfect galette is to make a delicious pie crust pastry dough for the base. Here are some tips for creating the perfect crust:
- Keep the water to a minimum: Water and other liquids will increase gluten development and make your crust less tender. Use as little liquid as possible, or replace cold water with vodka, which will bake off in the oven.
- Use cold fat: In order to avoid overworking the dough and creating a tough crust, use very cold butter; this will require more effort to work in than room temperature butter, but it will be well worth it in the end. You can also make the dough in a food processor for a low effort preparation.
- Let the dough chill: Rather than rolling out the fresh pie dough immediately, allow the dough to chill in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help develop the gluten and result in a better end product.
- Roll consistently: Maintain consistent pressure while rolling out the dough to make sure parts of the dough aren’t thicker than others and avoid uneven cooking.
- Prevent a soggy bottom: When using high-moisture fruits, add more flour or cornstarch to the mixture to lock in some of the juice.
- Brush the exposed pastry with egg wash: Do this right popping the pastry in the oven, to give the top a glossy shine.
Classic Apple Galette Recipe
For the crust:
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
- 3-4 medium apples of your choice, cored and cut into either small chunks or thin half-moon slices
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, optional (if you like a more natural, tangy galette, go easy on the sugar; if the apples need a little more sweetness, add it!)
- Preheat oven to 385.
- Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture, and work it between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse crumbs and there are no large pieces left (the dough should just hold together when pressed in a handful).
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, and add the cold water and vinegar. Comb through the dough with your fingers until well-combined, then begin to knead the dough until it comes together, no more than a couple of minutes.
- Divide and form into a shaggy disc about 1-inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least two hours.
- While the dough rests, combine the apple
- Generously dust a clean work surface with flour, and roll the dough into an 11-inch circle. Gently transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Working quickly, arrange the apple mixture in the center of the dough. Then, using the parchment to guide you, fold the edges of the dough up and onto itself, one section at a time.
- Brush exposed dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake galette for 40-50 minutes, until crust is golden-brown and apples are soft. If bits of apple begin to burn before the crust is finished, simply tent a piece of foil over the fruit and continue baking.
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