Friday, May 9, 2008

A few tips on galettes

This Saturday, I am teaching a tart class. I only started offering it this year, and it quickly became one of my favorites. As you might have figured out from my previous posts, I simply adore tarts. But the ones that bring me the greatest joy are galettes -- free-form bundles of brittle crust swaddling the juicy fruits and berries. Here is an apricot cherry one that just came out of my oven.

The reason I decided to tell you about it, besides the fact that it's an awesome combination of sweet and tart, is a little trick I surreptitiously learned this morning. Since I was bringing this tart to my daughter's daycare, I thought it might be good to bring it in a disposable dish. I found a disposable aluminum pie plate in my pantry and baked the galette in it (instead of on a parchment lined cookie sheet as I usually do). Well, guess what -- that disposable pie plate made it not only easy to transport, but easy to shape, and it put all those worries about the juices escaping from the crust to rest. Once you master pâte brisée (pie and tart dough), you won't have to worry about the crust leaking and getting soggy, but a little safety net never hurts.

Here are some tips on shaping a galette that will serve 4-6.
  1. Make pâte brisée a day before serving to give it sufficient time to chill.
  2. You'll need 1/4 of the dough batch for one 8 inch galette (so divide it accordingly when making the dough). Freeze the rest to use some other time.
  3. At least 20 minutes before baking, place a rack in the lowest position of the oven and place a baking stone on it (if you don't have a baking stone, use a heavy duty baking sheet). Place another rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  4. After rolling out the dough 1/8 inch thick, go around the edges with a rolling pin to make them really thin, then un-stick them from the work surface with a pastry scraper.
  5. Fit the dough into an 8 inch disposable pie pan (you can also put it on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet). You should have about 1 inch overhang. If it's bigger than 1.5 inches, trim it.
  6. Chill the dough for 10 minutes while preparing fruit for the filling. I used 6 apricots, halved, and 8 pitted cherries.
  7. Sprinkle the bottom of the dough with 2 Tbsp sugar, arrange the fruit on top, drizzle it with a little honey (1-2 tsp), and sprinkle with another few teaspoons of sugar. Fold in the edges and pinch where they come together. Brush the folded edges with melted butter and sprinkle with 2-3 tsp sugar. Work quickly once you start filling the tart and get it in the oven as soon as possible not to let the fruit to start leaking.
  8. Bake in the bottom of the oven (on the stone) for 20 minutes. This will ensure the bottom browns quickly and won't get soggy. Move the tart to the top rack rotating it front to back, reduce the temp to 375F, and continue to bake until the fruit and dough are nicely browned, 15-20 minutes.
  9. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Can be made earlier in the day and rewarmed or served cool.


Katerina said...

I love how rustic this looks, you truly make it sound easy!

Shauna said...

Oh Helen, this looks so beautiful! How could the people at your daughter's daycare not love it?

I haven't attempted gluten-free galettes yet, but this post just might nudge me to try....

your friend Niko said...

I am back at work after vacation in Europe and that means more bookings of my customers (also)for your cooking classes. I came along this blog and I so have to tryyyyyy this recepie of yours. Looks so delicious, rustic and tasty.

Julia said...

How do you ensure that the dough doesn't get soggy? I just tried making a tart with peaches and the filling was really wet. It was still tasty but the bottom was soggy. I didn't use a baking stone (I didn't have one) but I did start cooking at a higher temperature and then turned it down. Is the baking stone what really makes the difference?

Helen said...

Hi Julia,

I just made a peach galette tonight too :) About sogginess...

1) you need to have great dough. for the most reliable dough (and leak proof) google for Cook's Illustrated vodka pie dough. No, it's not a gimmick -- it's a brilliant idea by Kenji Alt and I don't have time to explain it now. You might need subscription to Cook's Illustrated (the on-line one is about $4/month) and if you ask me that recipe alone is worth the price of subscription. The dough I link to from my post is very good too, so you can try that. No matter which recipe you use, make sure you are weighing flour, not measuring with cups. The quality of your dough is 80% of solving the sogginess problem.

2) I know some people will disagree with me, but I think that a pizza stone is key when the dough is not pre-baked empty first. If you don't have a pizza stone, use a heavy baking sheet in the oven instead of the stone.

3) whether you are using a stone or a baking sheet, preheat your oven for at least 30 minutes. That's how long it takes more ovens to reach the set temperature.

4) chill the dough for at least 20 minutes after rolling out. remove from the fridge 5-10 minutes before filling depending on the thickness. Do not fill until the dough is bendable. If it's too cold, it will crack and leak.

5) bake immediately after filling. If you let it sit filled, it will get soggy.

6) I bake mine at 400-425F. Start on the bottom rack on a stone (or preheated baking sheet), once the bottom browned, move to the middle rack to help top brown.

Good luck :)