Whoever coined the phrase “easy as pie” is full of it. Pie is not easy. Pie is demanding, temperamental, messy.
Work the pastry twenty seconds too long, and your crust will be tough instead of flaky. Make a decent dough, weave it into perfect lattices with fluted edges, and the edges will overbrown before the inside is done. Then, when you try to cover them with strips of aluminum foil, they’ll crumble and you’ll burn your fingers.
The juice will spurt out and burn onto the floor of the oven, filling the kitchen with fruity smoke, and the juice that doesn’t end up on the oven floor will soak into the bottom crust, turning it into a soggy mess.
No, pie is not easy.
Galettes are easier — a little. You still have to make pastry, but there’s less shaping and handling involved, which means less chance to toughen the crust. There’s no weaving or fluting or trimming to size: just roll the dough out a few inches bigger than you want your galette, arrange your filling in the middle, and fold the edges over the top.
You don’t even need a pie pan: just use a cookie sheet. A sheet of parchment paper will make it easier to slide the galette off the pan, but it’s not strictly necessary. (You can use a cast iron skillet if you want, but there’s zero benefit: I only did it because all my baking sheets were dirty and I was too lazy to wash them. And, okay, because all food photographers are obsessed with cast iron skillets.)
Best of all, galettes are supposed to look rustic, so no one will get judgmental about the broken edges or the trails of burnt juice running across the pan.
I made this galette with the cosmetically challenged apples from my last post, brushed with butter and sprinkled with garam masala plus a little extra cinnamon. You can, of course, just use cinnamon and cloves, with or without the addition of allspice and nutmeg. But garam masala is more interesting. (And garam masala oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are phenomenal.)
For the crust, I used Jacques Pépin’s crust recipe from Essential Pépin, because I didn’t believe Food & Wine’s claim that you can make a good pastry crust in 20 seconds. (Important: those 20 seconds are followed by 1 hour for the dough to chill in the fridge, then another 10 minutes to roll it out and assemble the galette, and 45 minutes or so to bake. So figure on close to two hours, start to finish, but most of that’s hands-off.)
It turns out that they’re right: the dough really does come together that easily, and it’s a pretty good crust: flaky, crisp, buttery, and delicious. My first attempt did end up just the tiniest bit tough, but that’s because it got warm while I spent 45 minutes taking photos in a warm kitchen.
- 1½ cups flour
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½" pieces and chilled
- ⅓ cup ice water
- Put the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in your food processor and pulse a few times.
- Drizzle in the ice water and pulse until the dough comes together; some chunks of butter should still be visible.
- Dump the dough onto a work surface and gently pat it into a flat disk, then wrap in plastic wrap (or waxed paper) and refrigerate for an hour.
- While the dough is chilling, peel and chop 4 or 5 apples, or whatever you're going to put in your galette. This dough works for savory and sweet fillings, so get creative.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Once the dough is chilled, sprinkle some flour on a work surface and roll your dough out into a large circle (or rectangle, if you prefer) about ⅛" thick.
- Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (It's okay if you don't have any parchment paper; your galette just might stick a bit. That's why you own spatulas.)
- Arrange your filling on the pastry, leaving a couple inches of dough around the edges. If you're making an apple galette, brush the apples with melted butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon and cloves (or, if you're me, use garam masala), then fold the edges in over the filling.
- Bake 45-60 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.