Today: Pie's cool, low-maintenance cousin is your new go-to holiday dessert.
I like to think of galettes as casual pies -- "Oh, these? I just threw them together," kinds of pies. They are much less fussy than their double-crusted cousins, and there is no futzy crust-crimping for the folks who find that part of pie making frustrating. They are supposed to look rustic and imperfect, which means that you don’t have to worry if the fruit juices leak a bit, or the crust looks rough and bumpy. These little “flaws” just add to the charm of these rustic tarts.
There are a lot of ways to make a galette, but my favorite method calls for spreading a thin layer of jam under the fruit. This works especially well with pears and apples, which tend to get a little dry and leathery when baked at a high temperatures, but you can make a galette with just about any fruit you have hanging around. Speaking of high temperatures, make sure to bake your galettes in a super-hot oven (425º F), and let them cook until the crust is a very deep golden brown and the fruit is beginning to caramelize.
For the spelt crust:
ounces spelt flour
6 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Whisk the flours and salt together in a large bowl, cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes, and add the apple cider vinegar to 8 tablespoons of ice water in a measuring cup.
Working quickly, toss the butter with the flour mixture to coat, then use your fingers or the palms of your hands to squeeze each cube of butter into a flat sheet. Keep tossing the butter in the flour as you go; the idea is to create flat shards of butter that are about the size of a lima bean.
More: Turn your leftover pears into edible place card holders.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in about 6 tablespoons of the icy cold water. Use a gentle hand or a wooden spoon to stir the water into the flour until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water, a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, then split it in half, form the two halves into discs, and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.
For the pears:
medium pears, ripe but still firm
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 egg, for egg wash
2 tablespoons coarse sugar, to finish
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Peel, core, and thinly slice the pears. Toss the slices with the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds, spices, and salt.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the pie dough into a roughly 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut the dough into quarters.
Transfer the dough to one of the prepared baking sheets. Spread one tablespoon of jam onto each dough quarter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Arrange a handful of the pear slices over the top in a decorative pattern. Use about 1/2 of a pear per tart.
Fold the edges of the dough over the pears and press gently to seal the dough together. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and repeat with the other round of dough. Place tate baking sheet of tarts in the freezer, too. Freeze the tarts for 25 minutes, or until very firm.
While the tarts are chilling, preheat the oven to 425º F and whisk the egg in a small dish.
More: We love this Masala Spiced Pear Pie, too.
When you are ready to bake, brush the edges of each tart with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the tarts, rotating the pans halfway through, until they are deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Photos by Yossy Arefi