If you enjoy summer fruit and farmers’ markets as much as I do, then right now feels like Christmastime. One of the best ways to enjoy the surplus of fruit is to make a galette, a French-style rustic pie. For anyone who loves pies but is intimidated by making the crust, this recipe is super easy and fool-proof. Got Maryland strawberries, New England blueberries, Michigan peaches or Santa Cruz olallieberries? Baking a galette is an way to celebrate the local fruit grown by where you live. And with the 4th of July coming up, now you have an idea of what to bring to the barbeque.
Step One: Make the Pie Dough
You can use just about any recipe, but I use a modified version found in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
2 cups organic flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted organic butter (if you are vegan, try using Earth Balance spread or olive oil)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (you can use agave syrup or honey; if you are a traditionalist, use organic sugar)
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice cold water
Mix the dry ingredients. Using a pastry knife, fold the butter into the mixture, leaving pea sized butter cuts. Add the syrup and slowly add the water, kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Shape it into a ball and let it rest in your refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Step Two: Prepare the Filling
This is where your imagination can run wild. My bright red strawberry galette will be a winner. You can also use the equivalent amount of sliced peaches, apricots or other local berries. Substitute wine or balsamic vinegar for the lemon if you wish!
2 dry pints of organic or local strawberries (if you can, use a small berry varietal from your local farmers’ market, not the berries on steroids from the supermarket)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of that same lemon
2 tablespoons maple or agave syrup
2 tablespoons tapioca flour or organic wheat flower
1/2 of a cinnamon stick, grated
Mix the ingredients together in a saucepan, and heat over a stove. As soon as the mixture boils, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool (if you are pressed for time, you could also heat the mixture in a microwave for 2 minutes).
Drain the mixture, but reserve that liquid! (you can save it and use it as a mixer for a martini, or spoon it over ice cream–either way do not dump it, that liquid is gold!)
Step Three: Roll Out The Pie Dough
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface until it is 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Remember, this is a rustic pie, so do not worry about your pie dough being perfectly round! Place the dough on a silicon baking sheet or greased baking sheet.
Step Four: Add the Filling, Mold the Pie, Add a Little Flair.
Spoon the strawberry mixture in the center of the disk. Then pinch and crimp the outer edges of the dough. The point is to create a bowl-like crevice so that the delicious filling will not bubble over.
If you wish, you can brush the outer crust with cold water, and then sprinkle sugar and freshly grated cinnamon on the outer crust for a nice (and tasty) visual effect.
Step Five: Bake For at Least 30 Minutes
Place the galette in a pre-heated over set at 350 degrees and bake for at least 30 minutes. Baking times of course, will vary. When the outer crust is a golden brown, your galette is ready to be removed from the oven.
Step Six: Enjoy!
If you’ve been buying those store-bought pies because the thought of making your own seemed daunting, this simple recipe will save you from those overly-sugary pies and score you some props at the next barbecue or family gathering for making something that seems really sophisticated. But in reality, baking a galette is very easy and is a great way to experiment with the fantastic fruit currently bursting in color and flavor this summer.