Asian pear (also known as Korean pear, Japanese pear, Chinese pear, Taiwanese pear, apple pear, zodiac pear, and sand pear) is the secret weapon in much of my mother’s cooking. She uses it as a natural sweetener in her galbi, her kimchi, and even her common-cold elixir: a rapidly boiled tonic of pear, ginger, and cinnamon. In baking, I love this fruit for its crisp, subtle sweetness—and for its gorgeous chestnut skin. I also find that it’s less grainy than regular Anjou or Bosc pears. But by all means, if you can’t source a nice, fat Asian pear, then thin slices of the others will work just fine here.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this galette recipe is that it’s a concretization of the adage, Less is more. The pear is dressed very simply with brown sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice and zest. ("What's nice about the lemon zest," Melissa Clark says about galettes, “is you're not just getting the tartness of the juice, but you're actually getting some of the perfume, which is really pretty.”) The lemon in this pie works well with the lightly floral, citrusy cardamom whipped cream—which is, I’ll be frank with you, totally optional. But should you have some leftover cream or ground cardamom in your pantry, please try it. It’ll change your life.
Lastly, my little touch is rice vinegar and whole-wheat flour in the crust, both of which aid not only in the galette's flakiness, but in its flavor, as well. There's sweetness here, but there's also savoriness and nuttiness.
Note: This recipe calls for a parchment-lined sheet pan. But aluminum foil has its merits, too. With foil, you can fold up the sides and form vertical-ish walls around the galette crust (I like to do this as insurance, just in case the fruit wants to bleed out and burn on the pan). This way, you avoid the burning completely and instead keep any rogue juices contained so that they can, ultimately, reduce and caramelize around the edges of the crust. Even more, depending on how strong your oven is, if your galette crust starts to get too dark too quickly, you can just fold the foil walls over halfway through baking. —Eric Kim
Featured in: 3 Easy, Foolproof Desserts for the Weekend. —The Editors