Tuesday, August 07, 2007

a pastry how-to — la pâte à galette

this galette pastry is buttery and slightly sweet — perfect for showcasing the abundant sweet bounty of summer fruit. of course, it's not just for summer — it can be used in the winter too, for fruit like pears or apples (or frozen fruit from the grocery store).

so what's a galette? it's basically a free form open-faced pie, closed up by folded plaits. it is wonderful for days when you're feeling lazy or as an alternative for those who are "pie-challenged" and want something uncomplicated. the following dough is slightly crunchy from the small amount of cornmeal and extremely tender. either finely ground or medium grind cornmeal works nicely. the pastry can be made traditionally by hand or quickly thrown together in a food processor. everything must be cold for success though, so plan accordingly.

the recipe yields 2 rounds of dough for 2 "smallish" galettes (each galette feeding 2 - 4 people) or one large one. the dough is great for freezing and can be defrosted and used in no time at all when you want a "homemade" type dessert for everyday or entertaining.

recipe is from one of my favourite bakers, flo braker.

cornmeal galette pastry

the use of cornmeal in this dough makes it a little different from the standard recipe and gives the final baked pastry a nice texture and colour. filled with fresh fruit and quickly baked, it makes a delicious ending to a dinner.

makes 2 pastry rounds


1 c all purpose flour
1/4 c cornmeal (fine or medium)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
7 tbsp cold butter, cubed

1/3 c ice cold water
3 tbsp sour cream or yogurt


add the sour cream or yogurt to the ice water, stir together well and then place in the freezer.

in a food processor, or bowl, add the dry ingredients and blend them together well.

add the butter.

if using a processor, give it a few pulses to incorporate the butter. it should be chunky and will be further processed when adding the wet ingredients.

if making by hand, cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives.

add the wet mixture SLOWLY to the dry. if using processor, pulse while adding the wet mixture or use a fork if making by hand. do not add it all.

you will have some of the wet mixture left over so don't worry that it doesn't all get used.

add enough until it makes a soft ball and is held together. it may be slightly sticky.

do not knead it. divide in two halves or keep as one single.

place each half on wax paper and flatten it to a round disc.

fold the wax paper over it to completely enclose the pastries. place them in the freezer for an hour if using right away to quick chill them or keep in the fridge for a minimum of two hours or longer. they can be frozen and used later.

remove from freezer or fridge. i place the disc directly on well floured parchment paper that i will be baking on.

roll out the dough, turning as necessary and re-flouring, until it is about 1/8" inch thick and fairly round. it does not have to be perfectly round. it is a galette and is free-form.

tip: if the edges are too thin (1/16" for example) you can fold them over a little onto the dough; this will be pleated and hidden later. as long as it is fairly even, it is fine.

place your filling in the center, leaving at least 2.5 to 3 inches, all around.

fold up and bake at 400 F for 35 to 40 minutes. see this post for an example of how to use this pastry.


Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

Wonderful! A freeform galette like this is my favorite fruit pastry configuration, and it's great to have the guidance. Now I just need to get my paws on some peaches...

burekaboy — said...

thanks em :) - no futzing with making it fit in a pie plate and covering it with this one either. the pastry is sort of italian-ish with the cornmeal in it.

LOL, i think your paws can grasp hold of a few peaches nearby in "jo-jah". besides, it's peach season now. anywho...you can use whatever fruit you like. it's all good ;)

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

OK, could I make this a savory crust by leaving out the sugar, maybe adding a little salt? I want to make a ratatouille tart, adding cheese and an egg or two to the filling.

How much filling should I then plan on using?

burekaboy — said...

em - yup, leave out the sugar and replace with salt. you could add some chopped herbs like parsley or fresh basil (or dried stuff).

i'd say about 1 cup or so of filling. you could mix in cheese with it too or put a layer of cheese on the bottom and the ratatouille on top that and then add parmesan. i'm sure you'll figure it out :) sounds very good to me as a savoury version.

burekaboy — said...

actually don't add salt, there's already 1/2 tsp which should be enough. maybe 1/8 tsp more at most, if you do add extra.