Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Galette is a buttery and flaky pastry with a sweet or savoury filling. No baking tins needed. The dough is rolled out flat and then folded and pleated around the filling. It's rustic in looks and full of flavour inside. As The New York Times wrote in one of its culinary reviews: "A pie is homey. A tart is fancy. And a Galette splits the difference, but is easier than either one".
Yield: 20cm round Galette or 4 mini Galettes
Active time: 15 minutes prep + 2 hours cooling
- 1 and 1/3 cups* all-purpose or wholegrain or spelt flour or mixed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- up to 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 125g unsalted batter, cold and cubed
*cup= 250ml tea cup
1. Cut butter into 8-10 smaller pieces. Put into a bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. If you don’t have ice cubes then place the cup with water in the freezer too (10min).
2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Add cold butter and using pastry cutter cut it until it forms crumbly texture. During this process start adding 1 tablespoon of ice cold water at a time (up to 1/4 cup). You want to achieve here crumbly texture (not too wet and not too dry) and not to compromise the streaks of butter (see Hints** section).
3. Transfer the crumbly dough into lightly floured silicon mat and pat it into rectangular shape. Using the heel of your hand smear long strips of dough away from you and across the work surface. Collect the smeared dough and move it back to the starting point and repeat the process until the dough is cohesive. Wrap in a foil and refrigerate for 2 hours (or anything up to 3 days).
1. ** Texture: To get the crust which is flaky, buttery but also able to hold any fruit inside (without creating soggy bottom) the technique called fraisage comes in handy. This method comes from France and basically describes the dough being smeared across the surface so that long strands of butter are created in the dough. Hence, the need to have as little contact with the butter during initial dough mixing (not to melt it) and the smearing of the dough across the working surface (when those buttery streaks are created).
I read a lot of books and recipes waffling away about this method but I find Sarah Kieffer’s book ‘The Vanilla Bean’ Baking Book to have the best explanation which is in tact with what’s written above. If you want to read more I highly recommend her book!.
2. Watch the moisture of the dough - you want to be adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time to avoid wet dough. Depending on your flour you may use less than 1/4 cup of water (usually 4-6 tablespoons of water produces the texture which is crumbly but not too moist).
3. Thickness while rolling out - you want to keep the dough thin enough to allow for folding the edges and holding the fruit. Avoid rolling out too thick (base will be gummy). Anything between 0.3-0.5cm thick is OK.
4. Filling: You can use whatever filling you want in your Galette. Apples, Pears, all sort of Berries, Chocolate, Rhubarb, Cherries, you can bake it plain and serve with scoop of ice-cream and salted caramel, cream white cheese/Pecan nuts/salted caramel - there are many different combinations you can test. One thing to remember though is that if you are going for ‘wet’ ingredient (like strawberries) sprinkle your Galette with dry bread crumbs which will prevent from soggy, under-baked bottom. You may opt to go for potato starch or corn starch but this may slightly impact fruit flavour.
You can also go savoury with it (not adding sugar to the dough and increasing salt to 2/3 teaspoon) and fill it with egg a’la Benedict, cheese, ham etc.
5. Filling again: season to your liking. Many Galette recipes call for fruit to be tossed in extra sugar, cinnamon etc. I find that most fruit have enough sweetness to produce tasty outcome so in my recipes you will only find a little topping of cinnamon/sugar sprinkled across egg wash.
6. Watch the temperature while baking. Galette has thin edges so those are prone to burning. I like to start with 200C and lower the temperature to 180C half way through. Usually anything between 20-25 minutes in total should give you a well baked Galette.
7. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days. You can opt to freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before rolling out.