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How to Make a Summer Fruit Galette (And Why You Should)

By • July 30, 2014 • 13 Comments

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If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: Pie is great. Galettes are better. Associate Editor Marian Bull is here to explain why.  

Plum Galette with Whole-Wheat Crust on Food52

We all know how wonderful and lovely and perfect pie is. It is butter’s highest calling, and fruit's most appealing vehicle. It is the greatest breakfast I know, since it’s basically just toast with butter and jam, morphed into something even more perfect.

But pie is not easy, and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Pie is a fickle lover that betrays us in many ways: A soggy crust is your most likely downfall, but then there’s a soupy filling, or a crust that’s too chewy, or a fire alarm that happens to go off when Thanksgiving dinner should have happened thirty minutes ago and there’s a baby asleep in the other room and bubbling fruit is burning at the bottom of your oven.

Here is the good news, though: We have galettes.  

Plum Galette on Food52

A galette is a lazy woman's pie. A galette is a happy woman's pie. A galette is much less likely to make you cry than pie. And it is objectively better than its fussy, double-crusted, much-lauded cousin. Here’s why:

Most importantly, you have a high surface area-to-volume ratio on your side, which means almost zero chance of a soggy crust, since there’s so much crust to caramelize, and more space for water to evaporate, and more of the crispy outer to flank the chewy inner.

Galettes are also easier: There’s only one crust to roll out, and no latticework or pastry decoupage required. It need not be perfect; the word “rustic” is a band-aid for all jagged edges and bubbly leaks and awkward angles. In the words of Phyllis, “Galettes are sexy and beautiful and oozy. They are not for people who have problems with mess.” Free-form means you get to construct your own rules of geometry, rather than color inside someone else’s lines.

More: If you're completely anti-pie and anti-galette, try a schlumpf instead

Plum Galette on Food52

And then there is the fact that a galette is not really a recipe. Mix whatever fruit you like with a handful of sugar and a tablespoon or so of flour, plus any other flavors that strike your fancy. Let them sit until extraneous juices pool at the bottom of the bowl, and strain them thoroughly. Fold them into your rolled-out dough -- I like something with some whole-wheat flour in it, for structure and also for wholesome breakfast reasons, but use whatever crust you love. Add an egg wash and a sprinkle of salt and sugar; please do not forget the salt. You want salt in your butter, you want salt in your crust, you want salt in your filling, you want salt to rain down on this thing before you slip it into a very hot oven. 

I like my oven at 425° F for galettes: It makes for a nice caramelized crust, and a flaky one, too -- if you don’t believe me, well, Erin and Yossy do the same, and they are my pastry spirit guides. 

Plum Galette on Food52  Plum Galette with Whole-Wheat Crust on Food52

I’ve gotten into the habit of mixing together a crust when I get home from the bar late at night, when I tend to be a bit lackadaisical about my butter-cutting technique. Here’s what’s important, though: Leave some bigger pieces; toss with flour as you go; don’t overmix; don’t freak out. Make enough crusts, and you’ll find your own rhythm. Forgive yourself for the less flaky ones, and mask them in ice cream.

Bake a pie after a few too many spritzes and you’ll be crying into a soggy, bubbly mess, spooning forkfuls into your mouth out of desperation, burning your tongue, waking up with berry stains on the sundress that you slept in. Bake a galette in the same scenario, though, and you’re wild and free, and so is your galette, and you’re dancing in your kitchen with no pants on at 3 AM, and the world is a beautiful place, full of stewed fruit and butter. 

Plum Galette with Whole-Wheat Crust on Food52

So while the internet witnesses a war between team pie and team cake, I’ll be on the sidelines, cheering for neither, eating galette with my hands, embracing the mess. Come join me.

Plum Galette with Whole-Wheat Crust 

Makes one 10-inch (or so) galette

For the crust:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter (I like Plugra or Kerrygold, but the regular stuff works too)
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the filling and assembly:

2 pounds plums (or other baking-friendly fruit), sliced into small pieces
1/3 cup sugar (I like something coarse, like the organic stuff, or demerara)
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 pinch salt
Zest of one lemon (optional)
Splash of vanilla (optional)
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
1 egg, beaten
Flaky salt and coarse sugar, for sprinkling 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Eric Moran

Jump to Comments (13)

Tags: how-to & DIY, summer, pie, galette, crostata, plums, fruit, baking, entertaining, dessert, butter, things that taste good

Comments (13)

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5 months ago Fork Vs Spoon - Mallory

yes, please!

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5 months ago LauriL

..."for wholesome breakfast reasons"...a woman after my own hearty heart! Love your style...makes me chuckle and hungry for more!!! Well done! And I love your wizard!

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5 months ago amysarah

I love that galettes are supposed to look messy and free form - a look at which I excel even when unintentional. I vary the fruits, but my favorite is any type of purple plum/blueberry combo - something great about that dark winey looking filling. Next time will try your whole wheat crust - I usually use the galette dough from Julia Child's Baking book - super easy in a food processor and there's cornmeal in it, which gives great flavor and slight crunch. (Freezes well in a disc too.) She dots the fruit with butter and drizzles a little honey over it - not really necessary, but it adds a little something, so why not.

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5 months ago Ellie | fit for the soul

Ohhh my word!!!!! This looks absolutely divine, and the way you describe it is too enticing. I need to make a galette ASAP.

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5 months ago cristinasciarra

Holy milkshakes. That last bit, about bubbling messes and pantless dancing and a world full of stewed fruit and butter. Yes, in all the ways, yes. (Also, maybe we should be friends because I myself am no stranger to tipsy, sans-pant cookery. Just saying..)

Sausage2

5 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Love this. Love galettes. But I also love pie. When I'm looking for a challenge :).

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5 months ago Allison T

I have yet to make a galette but your post has made me want to! You are right pie making can be tedious and a bit nerve wracking. Thanks for a great post!
www.lashesanddashes.com

Me

5 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

My who took those sexy photos? Also, Marian, your words: beautiful as ever.

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5 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

He's just this wizard I know.

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5 months ago molly yeh

everything about this.

Me

5 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

yup.

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5 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Guys, come over and I'll make you one galette a piece.

Mug

5 months ago Ileana Morales | a little saffron

I am obsessed with galettes, both savory and sweet! I keep a round of pate brisee in the freezer for quick dinners or desserts. Recently I made a breakfast galette you might enjoy: http://alittlesaffron.com...