A galette is a French term used to describe a flat, freeform crusty pie. You can make a traditional pastry crust, roll it out on a flat surface and fill it with almost any type or variety of fruit or savory ingredients too. I chose to make a pear galette, this time, but I’m already thinking of what other varieties to make for Thanksgiving this year. Making a galette is easy, and it looks fancy, rustic and beautiful so your family or friends will think you went all out on dessert – when actually, it was very simple to make.
Pears have about the same shelf life as bananas do – not ripe one day, and overly ripe the next. So, when you make this galette, use your pears when they are firm, ripe but not too soft. But, if they are soft, that’s okay too. As you may be able to tell from my photo, my pears were a little overly pipe. Oh, if time could have just stood-still for me… I planned on slicing the pears thinly and arranging them in a beautiful spiral pattern. Needless to say, life prevented me from making this galette before my pears got a bit soft (and really just a bit). I didn’t let this stop me from making the galette (and my taste buds are glad I didn’t give up). I decided to make a simple, pretty topping for the galette.
makes 1 round, freeform pie
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold vegan butter (such as earth balance)
3-5 tablespoons ice-cold water
4 pears, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoons Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie spice – or a combination of cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves (If you can get to a Trader Joe’s grocery store, this pumpkin pie spice is the best blend I’ve found. It’s delicious and I use it for almost everything).
a pinch of salt
First, make the crust. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the vegan butter into chunks, and add it to the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter, or a large wire whisk, to cut in the vegan butter until the mixture looks like coarse little pebbles. Add the ice water in a tablespoon at a time and knead together with clean hands until the dough comes together. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes at least. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling.
In a medium bowl, combine the sliced pears, sugar, flour, spices and salt. Use a spoon to gently toss the pears and the other ingredients to coat the pears. Cover and refrigerate until the crust is ready.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the crust has been chilled for at least 20 minutes, using a floured rolling-pin, roll it out on a clean, floured surface (counter) until it’s about 1/4 inch thick and in the shape of a circle. Transfer the dough onto the baking sheet lined with parchment. *Optional step: To make the pastry stars topping, trim the edges of the rolled out dough, and re-roll the trimmings. Then, using a small star (or other shape) cookie cutter, cut it into a few pieces to place on top of pie.* Arrange the filling on top of the dough circle, starting in the center, and working towards the end. Leave 2 inches of space at the ends. Fold over the ends of the dough to make a gathered crust. Top with pastry stars if using.
Bake the galette in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes. Until the edges of the crust are slightly browned. Allow to rest for some time before slicing, 15-20 minutes or so.
Pear galette is best served warm, but can easily be re-warmed slice-by-slice in the toaster oven as needed. Top with vanilla soy ice cream a la mode for a wonderful fall dessert. This would make a great dessert for a fall get-together! Or, serve it with strong coffee with brunch. Who says you can’t have a slice of galette or pie for breakfast? Certainly not I. Just make sure it’s on very special or rare occasion. Eating dessert for breakfast too often is probably not a good idea – but once in a while? Sure!