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For those who are bored with pie, galette can be an interesting alternative. With no edges to crimp, they’re easier (and less frustrating) to assemble.
This cornmeal crust works well for both sweet and savory galettes. But we’re going to the sweet side with this fresh pear filling. This rustic tart is even better when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For the Buttermilk Cornmeal Crust
- 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
- ⅓ c. cornmeal
- ¼ c. granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ c. cubed unsalted butter cold
- 4-6 tablespoons buttermilk cold
For the Pear Galette
- 1 batch buttermilk cornmeal crust see above
- ¼ c. brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 4 Anjou Bartlett or Bosc pears
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1-2 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- ¼ c. apricot or apple preserves
- Ice cream to serve
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- In a food processor, blend the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt.
- Add the diced, unsalted butter and pulse until the texture is coarse, resembling the shape of a pea-sized crumb.
- Add 4 tablespoons of buttermilk until just combined. If the mixture seems dry, add up to 2 more tablespoons of buttermilk. Add the first spoonful first, if it is still dry, then add the second spoonful of buttermilk.
- Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the corners of the plastic wrap so that the dough is shaped like a square. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt together in a bowl.
- Peel the pears, core and slice them thinly. Make the slices as even as possible. (See notes)
- Toss the pears in the sauce until they are evenly coated. Set aside.
Make the Galette
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the baking sheet to be used with parchment paper or silicone mat. Prepare an egg wash by whisking together the egg and milk in a small bowl.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Dust the surface where you will roll the dough with flour.
- Roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle.
- Leaving 2 to 3 inches from the edge of the dough, arrange the pears in a circle on the outer edge of the dough.
- Add additional rows in a concentric circle. Make sure you don’t stack the pears too high.
- Lift and press the edges of the dough up and over the fruit. Make sure the edges can keep the pears from falling apart out of the dough.
- Transfer the galette to the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Brush the edges of the galette with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake the dough until the filling is tender and the crust is golden brown, about 30-45 minutes.
- Transfer the galette to a wire rack to cool.
Glaze and Serve
- While the galette is cooling, add the preserves to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the mixture becomes liquid. If there are pieces of fruit in the preservative, strain them through a fine sieve until there are no more chunks.
- Use a pastry brush to gently and evenly glaze the top of the galette with the preserves.
- Let the glaze set for 10-15 minutes then serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Notes & Tips
- To get a thin and even slices of pears, use a mandolin on its thinnest setting.
- If your pears are overripe, they may be producing too much juice as the galette cooks. Add a little flour, corn starch or tapioca to the sauce to thicken before placing on the crust. Dusting semolina flour or breadcrumbs on the pastry before adding the filling can also help with too juicy fillings.
- To add flavor to every bite and to enrich the flavor, you can add orange zest or vanilla to the crust. Or, brush the crust with jam or marzipan before adding the filling.
- The perfect dough for a galette is one that has a strong enough structure to hold the filling. Make sure it’s not too moist. A too thick or too thin crust can result in the dreaded soggy bottom, chewy crust or burnt edges. An ideal thickness is 1/8 inch.
- Avoid the temptation to load the galette with filling! You’re aiming for a crispy crust with about an inch of filling. Though fillings will “deflate”, don’t stack your filling much higher than that.
- Galettes are best eaten fresh on the day they are made, but you can store leftovers in the refrigerator. Reheat or eat cold.
If you prefer to use less sugar or your filling is naturally sweet enough, replace the brown sugar with poppy or sesame seeds.
You can replace the pears with any fruit you like. But keep in mind the juicier the fruit you use, the more likely your galette will be soggy. Or, make a savory galette using other ingredients such as cheese, herbs, or vegetables to use as a main meal, side or appetizer.
Sides & Pairings
While ice cream is a natural pairing for a warm galette, try serving with caramel or honey sauces especially if you’re using tart fruits.