the rustic, freeform tart
Galettes first came to me in the form of the galette des rois–an unconventional galette in that the Epiphany Cake, stuffed with frangipane and la fève (a small token or toy that decides who’s king). There are buckwheat galettes, stuffed with savory meats or mushrooms, holiday galettes & your basic, everyday galette aux fruits.
I made my first galette yesterday, after staring at our Asian pears for a long, long time deciding what to do with them. What I love about this tart is that it requires minimal effort. I call them “rustic,” because I refuse to do anything fancy to the fruit or crust to make it look prettier. I just want that simple pâté brisée (the standard, smooth crust as opposed to a sablée, its crumblier cousin) & the fresh fruit melting in my mouth.
So let’s make a quick galette aux poires.
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour (+ a bit for flouring your workspace, your apron, your face & your hair)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces (cut & leave sit for about 10 minutes, to lose some of the fridge’s chill–but not all of the chill)
- 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of milk and set aside
- 3 small Asian pears (or two of any pear you like)
- apple cider or lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon of butter
- brown sugar (or sugar in the raw)
- Start with your crust. Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar and salt. There’s a lot of mixing to do, but toss the crust around as little as possible to maintain the flakey texture. The more you mix, the flatter your crust becomes. Cut in your 7 tablespoons of butter until a crumbly, struesel-like crust forms.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the egg-milk mixture. Incorporate. Add in roughly a tablespoon of tap water to bring all the ingredients together. Form into a disc & let chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Wash your pears. Peel, core & thinly slice. Place in a bowl; splash cider over hte top & toss them around. Give them some time to soak in the cider (or lemon juice), but you don’t want them swimming in the stuff. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Grab an empty beer bottle from your latest six-pack. Remind yourself to ask for a rolling pin for Christmas.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into a 1/4-inch circle. Tip: I do this ON parchment paper. It’s less of a mess & then I just slip a baking sheet under it. No breaking; no transfer issues.
- Beginning in the center of your dough, arrange your pear slices in circles, overlapping each other a bit & spiraling out toward the edges.
- When there are about 2 inches of crust left, you’re done adding the pears. Now, fold the remaining edges of dough up and over the pears. Work your way around, not worrying making the dough smooth. It will overlap. It will crack. It will be fine.
- When you’ve wrapped your pears like a present (those optimistic moments when you grab a piece of paper you’re sure will work & end up with a naked edge & a lot of tape all over), use the remaining egg-milk mixture to brush your folded-up crust edges.
- Take the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Slice it thinly & drop it on top of the exposed pears. Sprinkle the tart with cinnamon & brown sugar (or sugar in the raw).
- Put your tart on parchment paper (if you have not already) & move her to a baking sheet. Place in the middle rack of your & bake for 20 minutes or until the pears are tender when stabbed (gingerly) with a fork.
- Allow to come near room temperature before slicing & serving.
This is a great Sunday afternoon recipe, when you’re finishing up groceries for the week & have random pieces of fruit. I love it with a big mug of Earl Grey & thrilling texts on street-level bureaucracy. (Is the semester over yet?)
Apologies for lack of pictures… I ate it too quickly. I needed some sugar to ease the pain of homework & housework.