Sometimes you don’t have a dish in which to cook a pie. In situations like this, the galette is a perfect solution. As a freeform pie, it isn’t cooked in a dish or a tart tin giving it a unique and rustic shape. There is no designated pastry for galette but the ones most often used are puff pastry or a pastry made with a mix of plain and whole wheat flour (as given below). Galette can also be used when referring to a large, savoury buckwheat pancake. These originated from the French region of Brittany where they became popular after the discovery that buckwheat would grow well in the poor soil conditions there. These are also known as Breton galette to distinguish them from their pastry counterpart.
One of the problems with an open galette is finding a filling which is sturdy enough to hold up under a long cooking time in a hot oven. This is more of an issue with sweet galettes than savoury. Most berries, as well as apples and other fruits, start to turn to mush when in the oven for too long but peaches are strong enough to hold their shape during the cooking. An open top allows liquids to evaporate but even then, a galette with too much filling can overflow in the oven and the juices can burn. Tomatoes are a popular filling for savoury galettes as they hold their shape during cooking and also come in several colours so you can give your pie a beautiful appearance.
When you come to make a galette, you are presented with two choices with regards to the edges. You can fold and crimp or you can pinch. I am a big fan of folding as I feel that it is less likely to open up in the oven and spill the filling everywhere. Folding requires you to go around the edge folding the excess pastry up towards the centre until the filling is pushing at the outer edges of the tart. You have to be careful not to make the pastry too tight as it can split and you must ensure that the folds overlap to create a barrier to hold in the juices during cooking. The pinching technique involves creating a vertical barrier around the outside of the tart. The pinching itself reduces the length of the pastry to that it is pulled upwards. The finished barrier is created by selecting an area of pastry around the edge and taking a section around two centimetres long and pinching it together. You then proceed to move around the outside of the galette pinching as you go until the barrier is formed.
The recipe below will give you a galette about a foot in diameter or if you would like to make a smaller one, just half the recipe and that will make a galette about eight inches across. This is a particularly good recipe if you like circular patterns – I find them very satisfying to create and I hope that, after this, you will too.
Peach and Blueberry galette
Prep time: 1 hour
Rest time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour
185g plain flour
90g whole wheat flour
225g cold unsalted butter
2 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs for the pastry and 1 egg for an egg wash (optional)
1 tbsp milk
40g plain flour
400g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
To make the pastry:
Cube the butter and add it to the flour.
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture starts to resemble breadcrumbs and starts to stick together.
Stir through the salt and the sugar.
In a jug, beat the eggs with the milk until the mix is homogeneous.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix, pour in the eggs and stir with a blunt knife until combined. The knife will prevent you overworking the dough.
Once the dough starts to come together, pour it out onto a work surface and squeeze it together to form it into a ball. You want to avoid handling the dough more than necessary.
Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD – FOOD PROCESSOR
Place the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse to combine.
Cube the butter and add it in.
Pulse the mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
Add the milk and eggs and pulse again until everything starts to come together.
Pour out onto a work surface and quickly knead the mix together until it has combined. The moment it has come together fully, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge.
To make the filling:
Quarter the peaches and remove the stones.
Cut each quarter into three wedges and place the cut peaches in a large bowl.
In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon.
Sprinkle half of this over the peaches and gently stir them around.
Toss the peaches in the remaining flour and sugar mix until everything is coated evenly.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 (190°C).
Take the pastry out of the fridge.
Roll it out to a 15 inch circle. I find that it is best to place the pastry onto the baking parchment it will be cooked on before rolling it out as that way you don’t have to try and move a very large, fragile dessert.
Starting an inch and a half from the edge, lay the slices of peach in a circle around the pie overlapping them very slightly.
Once the first circle is complete, continue to lay out more slices of peaches inside the first circle and repeat this until the galette is filled. If there is juice left at the bottom of the bowl, do not pour this over the tart as it can cause it to overflow.
Fold up one edge of the pastry over the outside peaches.
Continue to fold up the outside pastry until all the edges are folded in and the galette is ready.
Sprinkle half of the blueberries over the top of the galette.
Slide the baking parchment from your work surface and onto a baking tray.
Brush the outer edges of the galette with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.
Bake the galette for one hour turning halfway through.
While the galette is baking, make the blueberry coulis.
Place the remaining blueberries into a small pan with a tablespoon of water and cook with the lid on for 5 minutes.
Liquidise the blueberries and pass the resulting mix through a fine sieve to strain out the skins.
Allow the galette to cool for 10 minutes before sliding it onto the serving plate to cool completely.
Serve with whipped cream and the blueberry coulis.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe. If you are looking for a more savoury pastry, check out how to make this hot water crust chicken pie or if you fancy something a little less fruity, why not treat yourself to some chequerboard biscuits.
Have a good one and I will be back next week with a recipe for a delicious fish curry. It’s not too spicy but it’s absolutely packed with flavour.