I’ve been baking pies since I was about 11 years old. I was really into baking in middle school and my mom taught how to make a pie. I take my pies very seriously. I once made 25 pies for my sister’s wedding – one pie at a time. So, yeah, pies will always be my favorite thing to bake. But when you’ve been making them on a regular basis for 16 years, sometimes you need to change things up and challenge yourself. This galette isn’t easy but I’m determined to master it (work in progress). Galette is a term generally used in French cuisine for free-form pies. Turns out you don’t need to have several little tart tins to make personal size pies :)
WE’RE PICKING OUR OWN STRAWBERRIES! Maybe I should have opened with that? The first variety that we pick each year is called Early Glow and they are by far my favorite. They are very small berries but are the sweetest and juiciest you’ll find. The small berries are perfect for these galettes because you don’t have to do a lot of cutting. I just halved them. They are also perfect for popping the whole berry directly into your mouth. They’re so sweet that sometimes I don’t even take the stems off. Weird?
The strawberries are a bit late this year as a result of the super cold winter and almost non-existent spring. This is a picture of the strawberry blooms at the end of May. Typically we would have already been picking by this time of year.
And here’s a picture of the field this week. Just starting to ripen here and there. So we aren’t picking a whole lot of them yet but by next week they should be in full swing.
Rhubarb is awesome. A perennial plant that we only replace every 10 years or so and is tough enough to grow amongst the weeds. When I was little the rhubarb field was right behind our house and I would collect several stalks to keep next to my bed. I called them Monster Swatters and I can recommend them as an excellent weapon against any intruding monsters. Just remember that the leaves are toxic!
So back to our galette! I used butter for a nice flaky crust. If you’ve never made a pie before, don’t be discouraged if your crust doesn’t turn out the first time. It just takes practice to understand the texture that you’re looking for. The pastry cutter is also a necessary tool so you’ll need to get one if you don’t already have it. It’s worth it – homemade crust is the way to go. You’ll start by cutting the butter into the flour with your pastry cutter until you have pea sized flaky pieces.
Then slowly add your ice water and mix with a fork until the dough begins to come together. Once you get to something that looks like the dough above, use your hands and press the dough into a ball. I recommend starting with 5 tablespoons of ice water and then add additional tablespoonfuls if necessary. If you over do it on the water all is not lost! Just add a little extra flour to get back to a smooth dough texture. Refrigerating the dough before rolling it is important for the galette. You need the dough to be stiff enough to hold the free-form.
For the strawberry rhubarb mixture, I called for 3/4 cup sugar but I personally only used 1/2 cup. I prefer that you can still taste the tartness of the rhubarb and if you use Early Glow strawberries you don’t need as much sugar anyways. You can also substitute almond extract for the vanilla for a little different flavor. I like it both ways.
You’ll see in the directions that I suggest putting the dough in the refrigerator for a second time once you’ve rolled the dough balls out. I highly recommend it! I skipped this step the first time and when I put the galettes in the oven some of the edges didn’t hold and the filling came running out.
Once your dough rounds are cold, simply add about 1/2 cup of filling to each and fold the edges around the pastry, pleating the dough at 1-inch intervals. This is the hard part. I still don’t think I’ve successfully created a beautiful galette. Like I said, work in progress.
By definition, free-form means “created or done in any way you choose; not required to have particular patterns or forms.” So who cares what they look like if they taste good!
When in doubt, just cover it with ice cream.
Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
- Serves 4
- Total Time 2 hours
Flaky Pastry Crust
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
1 pint strawberries, thickly sliced
1 pound fresh, red rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
DirectionsIn a medium bowl, blend the flour and salt until well combined. Add the 1-inch pieces of butter and using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until is the size of small peas. Sprinkle the water over the mixture and toss with a fork until the dough starts to come together. (Start by adding 5 tablespoons of ice water then add additional tablespoonfuls if necessary.) Using your hands, press the mixture to form a dough ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove your dough from the refrigerator and split into 4 small balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball out to a 4-inch round, 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the baking sheet and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla. Spread on the pastry to within 2 inches of the edge. Fold the edge over the filling, pleating it at 2 inch intervals. Lightly brush the dough with the egg wash.
Add a small piece of butter to each galette. Bake the galettes for 35-40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.
*If using fresh rhubarb, trim all of the leaves – they are toxic.