Picture yourself on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Both laundry and shopping for the weekend are done, lunch was merely a quick snack at the market and the dinner invitation from your friends is still many hours away. You crave … something. Something sweet. Something that doesn’t involve additional shopping or much work. Well, if that’s so, I either turn to my grandma’s sponge cake roll or my friend Sherry‘s galette.
It took one of Sherry’s abundantly set breakfast tables to convince me that galettes are not necessarily French buckwheat pancakes. Galette is also the American term for an easy free-form tart filled with whatever fruit you can imagine. I watched Sherry prepare them for us on numerous occasions, filled with plums, blackberries, pears, apples and whatnot, and made it a top priority to recreate them in my own kitchen back home. And ever since I got hooked.
Two facts had impressed me most: Even if the galette was prepared with fruits which released quite some juices and started bubbling around the edges during the baking process, the bottom crust never turned out soggy. Quite the contrary, dividing the whole thing up into slices always revealed an unbelievable flaky crust, that allows you to just grab a slice and eat it straight out of your hand. But there is more! Sherry likes to serve hers with a dollop of crème fraîche, that was sweetened with raw cane sugar to give it a nice caramel note – oh I could eat it by the spoon! Seriously, her galette recipe is one of my most-used recipes for a quick afternoon snack and I always keep one galette crust in the freezer, just in case. And you should, too.
Prepare the dough: put flour, sugar, salt and butter into a food processor equipped with a cutting blade. Blend at short intervals (pulse function) until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Mix the sour cream and 50 ml of ice-cold water. Add little by little, always just briefly combining things.
(To prepare the dough by hand: mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Work in the butter as quickly as possible using a pastry cutter or rubbing the pieces of butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles the size of coarse bread crumbs. Mix sour cream and water, then add one tablespoon at a time and repeatedly mix all the ingredients with a fork.)
The dough should now be moist and firm enough to be shaped into a ball (if not, add either flour or ice-cold water by the tablespoon) – but be sure not to knead too much. Any small recognizable pieces of butter will ensure a nice and flaky consistency later on. Divide the dough in half, shape roughly into 2 finger thick round discs. Wrap in foil and chill until firm for at least 1 hour in the fridge. (The dough will keep in the fridge for several days or can be frozen.)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Lightly dust one of the chilled dough discs with flour (save the other one for later) and roll out until about 3 mm (0.1 inch) thick. Drape around your rolling pin and place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Evenly cover with the fruit, but leave a border of about 5 cm (2 inches). Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of raw cane sugar and distribute the pieces of butter. Fold the dough towards the middle, it’s fine, if it looks a bit rustic. Bake on the middle rack for 30 to 40 minutes.
While the galette is baking, mix the crème fraîche and raw cane sugar. Leave for 10 minutes until the sugar crystals have dissolved, then stir thoroughly. This gives the creme fraiche a subtle caramel flavor that goes especially well with fruit.
Take the galette out of the oven once the fruit is soft and the crust has gained a nice golden brown color. Let is cool slightly before cutting it into slices. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of the sweetened crème fraîche and dust with a little confectioner’s sugar.
Recipe source: delicious days, p.75, adapted from Sherry Page
Prep. time ~20 min, chilling: at least 1 hour, baking ~ 30-40 min.
Ingredients (yields 2):
175 g all-purpose flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
100 g cold butter, in small pieces
1 tbsp sour cream (or crème fraîche)
50 ml ice-cold water
300-400 g fruit (such as plums, apples, pears, nectarines,...), cleaned and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp raw cane sugar
1 tbsp butter (in small pieces)
to serve (for 1 galette): mix 100 g crème fraîche with 1 tbsp raw cane sugar, dust with confectioner's sugar to taste