Have you ever made a galette, or a free-form pie? No? Please address this immediately — if not sooner. And if you have, you know you want to make one again. If you like pie, but don’t like the hassle — digging through cupboards to find the right pie dish, worrying about the top and bottom crust melding, crimping, latticing — a galette is what you need. It’s a perfect ratio of crust to fruit filling without all of the fuss.
Every time I make a galette I wish I made them more often. They’re sincerely much simpler than they look, with all of the satisfaction and flavor of a fruit pie. Roll out your dough, fill it with fruit sweetened with a handful of sugar and spoonful of thickener, fold the dough over the fruit, and slide it into a hot oven for half an hour or so. Galettes are fit for any season with any fruit, but it’s summer — so consider the apricot.
When an apricot is just ripe it’s the color of an egg yolk, sometimes blushed pink on one cheek; meaty and soft, the pit falls out without hesitation, and the flavor is a little tart, like a plum, and a bit floral, like a peach. Smile-shaped segments make a beautiful filling for a galette. Here’s a recipe from one of this summer’s most anticipated cookbooks, For the Love of Pie, by Brooklyn-based bakers Felipa Lopez and Cheryl Perry of Pie Corps. Available for pre-order now, the book lands on shelves later this month.
with Basil Whipped Cream
Makes 1 large galette (Serves 6 to 8)
Lush, juicy, and slightly malty, the exotic flavor of apricots plays a starring role in the cuisines of lands as diverse Turkey, China, and Spain. Buy apricots that are firm, but not rock-hard, and smell them, choosing only the most aromatic of the bunch. Married with the slightly savory flavor of basil, and tempered by the smoothness of the sweet cream, this galette truly showcases apricots.
Have ready and chilled dough of All-Butter Crust (recipe follows) single-crust recipe
1 pound apricots, sliced 1⁄ 2 inch thick
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (from 1⁄ 2 small lemon)
1 small lemon, zested
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
Center the oven rack, and preheat to 375° F. Line a half-sheet (13 x 18-inch) baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a 12-inch round that’s a generous 1⁄8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking tray, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together apricots, sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, almond extract, and cornstarch. (Optional: set aside and make the basil whipped cream, recipe follows.)
Arrange the apricot filling in the center of the dough, leaving a 1 1⁄ 2- inch border. Brush inside border of the crust with egg wash. Fold the border over the fruit, pleating the edges to keep the round shape. The center will be open. Brush the outside crust with egg wash and sprinkle it with Turbinado sugar.
Bake, rotating once during the cooking time, until the crust is golden brown, 40–45 minutes. Allow the galette to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with Basil Whipped Cream.
To store the galette, wrap in aluminum foil in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or double wrap in plastic wrap then foil, and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Basil Whipped Cream (optional)
24 leaves basil, roughly chopped
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the basil with the cream and simmer, stirring constantly to keep it from scalding. When bubbles form at the edges and it just begins to boil, remove the infusion from the heat. Cover the pan tightly and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Strain the infusion into a large mixing bowl, pressing on the leaves with a back of the spoon to gather the remainder of the oil.Refrigerate until very cold, at least 30 minutes.
Using a hand mixer, whip the cream together with the sugar in a chilled medium bowl until soft peaks form, 5–6 minutes.
To store the whipped cream, refrigerate in a covered bowl for up to 3 days, or freeze in dollops on a waxed-paper lined baking tray then transfer to heavy-duty freezer bags and keep for up to 1 month.
Makes crust for two (9- or 10-inch) single-crust pies or 1 (9- or 10-inch) double crust pie
This is the best all-butter crust you’ll ever eat, hands down. You can’t build the perfect pie without the perfect foundation. This culinary quest for perfection seduced Cheryl to spend an entire summer on her farm in Woodstock, NY, up to her elbows in flour and butter, turning out crust after crust to test on anyone in her house—and eventually the town—who’d eat a slice of one of her creations. You already know that a great crust can’t be made from a mix, or produced by a machine. The secret lies in a combination of science, repetition, and intuition. See Making Piecrust Dough (page 22) for more information. Using this roadmap as a jumping-off point, your first crust that you feed to your friends and family will be delicious. Your tenth, and all those beyond that first one? Sublime every time.
2 ounces (about 2 3⁄4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
7 ounces (1 3⁄4 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and divided as follows: 2 ounces (1⁄ 2 stick) coarsely grated, 5 ounces (1 1⁄4 sticks), diced in cubes the size of small marbles
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
6 to 12 tablespoons ice water
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder using a fork.
Add the grated butter and mix with your thumbs and fingertips, using a pinching and rolling motion, until well-incorporated. Squeeze, pinch, and rub to make sure the butter disappears. You know this step is finished when the mixture resembles corn meal or Parmesan cheese and there are absolutely no pieces of grated butter left, 3–5 minutes.
Add the cubed butter to the bowl, and smash each cube, using your thumb and forefinger. Use your fingers to gently incorporate the diced butter into the flour mixture. Massage or squeeze, but don’t overwork it. The mix of large and small chunks at this stage ensure a flaky pastry.
Add the lemon juice and 6 tablespoons of ice water. Mix lightly with your hands, spreading your fingers out like wide-tooth combs, lifting and fluffing the mixture from the bottom of the bowl, mixing only until the dough just holds together. There should be a mix of large, quarter-size pieces that look like small dumplings, and small pieces in the bottom of the bowl that resemble oatmeal. You are aiming for a loosely cohesive dough that is not overly wet.
The temperature and humidity of the room, along with the disparity of size in your measuring spoons and cups can greatly affect the dough at this crucial point. Be careful not to over-dampen. If the dough is not holding together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. After each addition, mix again and test to see if the dough is holding together. When pulled apart, the dough should look raggedy and torn at the edges. If the dough is still too dry to hold together, add 1 more tablespoon water. The dough should never become sticky. Err on the side of caution, and stop while your dough is on the drier side.
Once a rough dough is formed, stop mixing, and divide the dough in half. Form the dough into discs resembling large hamburger patties. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. Chilled dough is essential for a light and flaky crust. See the techniques section (page 22) for instructions on rolling, fitting the dough into the pie plate, crimping and edging, and other hints.
To store, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
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