Goat cheese, it turns out, adds a welcome hint of tanginess and savory sophistication to the easiest, flakiest, made-in-a-food processor pastry I know. All I did was substitute fresh creamy goat cheese for good old plain cream cheese in one of my favorite recipes. It was terrific and I’ve only just begun to work it.
Now, I’ve always been a fan of cream cheese pastry—bakers, you know the one I mean— and I have my own little tricks for making it. It’s just that fresh goat cheese takes this really good thing, and makes it even better. It’s a subtly delicious partner for berries in the galette recipe that follows. You can leave it at that, or dial-up the goat cheese flavor by adding a little to the filling as well. Have it your way.
You can use plain goat cheese—or one laced with lavender or other herbs. I used lavender goat cheese the first time (and loved it), because that is what was in the fridge when the idea struck. Instead of filling galettes with blackberries, try raspberries, strawberries, quartered figs, sliced apricots or nectarines. Smallish galettes are easiest to make—and each serving includes more of that gloriously delicate flakey pastry border—so this recipe makes two galettes, each serving 3 or 4. If you want to make just one, buy half as much fruit, but consider making the full batch of pastry and freeze half for next time—or even double the pastry recipe and freeze enough for 3 more galettes—because you will want to make them again (and again). See notes for making even smaller and individual sized galettes.
A few last words. These galettes are deceptively simple—just easy pastry topped with fruit and a little sugar, more goat cheese if you like, and dots of butter with a wide border of pastry folded over. You don’t have to line (or even own) a tart pan, or trim the edges of the dough, or waterproof the pastry. But by now we all know that “deceptively simple” usually means that small details matter! So here they are the small details that make a difference:
Don’t try to process the pastry ingredients until they come together in the processor bowl, they should look like a bowl full of crumbs, and the cheese and butter should not be completely worked into the flour.
If you rinse your berries, be sure they are dry before they touch pastry—wet berries make soggy pastry.
Roll pastry to the size called for—measure with a ruler rather than guessing.
Don’t give into thinking that if some fruit is good, more will be even better. This is not a pie—piling these galettes with fruit will overwhelm and soak the delicate but crispy bottom crusts.
Take care not to tear or break the pastry as you fold it over the fruit—repair it if possible, but don’t freak if some juices leak onto the parchment. It happens.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).