Pie goes free-form
Sweet or savory, rustic galettes fit the easy vibe of summer
You can combine apricots, raspberries and shaved almonds in an easy summer fruit galette. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)
It's hard not to get excited at the sight of a great pie, whether piled high in a deep-dish plate or beautifully arranged in a shallow tart pan. Though I have to say, lately I've been leaving out the plates and pans entirely and opting for something a bit more casual with a galette. Because sometimes, or maybe always, simple is best.
Think of a galette as pie's free-form cousin. Roll the dough out, pile in the filling and gently fold up the outer edges of the dough to hold it all together. Some recipes use a type of tart dough -- a sweeter, more cookie-like short crust -- for the pastry. Me? I stick with a flaky pie dough -- rich, buttery and not so sweet -- worked a little more to give it the strength to hold the filling without the support of a dish. Rustic yet beautiful, a galette is perfection simplified. Nothing fussy about it.
Almost any summer produce works in a galette: sweet berries and stone fruit, or go savory, riffing with tomatoes or zucchini, so long as the produce has the right balance of flavors and depth of personality.
The trick is to keep it simple. Don't disguise the fruit and vegetables with a bunch of other flavors -- let the peak summer freshness shine through.
Apricot almond galette
Prep: 1 hour
Bake: 45 minutes
Makes: 6-8 servings
1 1/2 pounds apricots (6 to 8)
2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract or 2 tablespoons almond liqueur
Prepared galette dough (see recipe below)
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/3 cup raspberries
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
1. Cut each apricot into 6 to 8 wedges. Combine with the granulated sugar and almond extract in a bowl; toss well to mix.
2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator to a flat surface lined with a lightly floured sheet of parchment. Roll the dough into a rough circle about 15 inches in diameter and a generous 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough (still on the parchment) to a baking sheet.
3. Gently stir the almonds and raspberries into the apricots. Spoon mixture into the center of the dough. Fold the outer 3 inches of the dough circle toward the center to make a packet, leaving the inner 4 or 5 inches of apricots uncovered. (The assembled galette will be about 9 inches in diameter.) Lightly brush the pastry with the beaten egg; scatter the coarse sugar over the apricots and pastry.
4. Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the apricots are softened, about 45 minutes. Start checking the galette after 30 minutes, and loosely cover the fruit with a sheet of foil if they color too quickly. Cool the galette 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.
Per serving (for 8 servings): 374 calories, 20 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 54 mg cholesterol, 43 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 303 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
Galette dough In a food processor: Pulse together 2 1/4 cups flour, generous 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar until combined. Add 1/4 cup cold shortening; pulse until incorporated (the dough will look like moist sand). Add 1 stick cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes; pulse just until the butter is reduced to pea-size pieces. Sprinkle 2 1/4 teaspoons cider vinegar and 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water over the mixture; pulse a few times to form the dough. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface; knead a few times until it comes together in a single mass. Mold into a disk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
By hand: Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the shortening; incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork. Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to pea-size pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture; stir together until the ingredients are combined to form a dough. Knead, form into a disk and chill as before.
Savory tomato galette Cut 1 1/2 pounds small tomatoes into slices. Combine in a bowl with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, 1 clove garlic, minced, 3 tablespoons pitted, chopped kalamata olives, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Gently spoon the tomato mixture into the center of the rolled out dough, as before, folding the outer edges toward the center to make a packet. Brush with beaten egg. Bake at 400 degrees until the crust is golden-brown and tomatoes are softened, about 45 minutes. Cool 15 to 20 minutes before slicing; scatter a little fresh julienned basil over each slice before serving.