What is a Galette, you may ask?
A galette is pretty much a pie.
Only, it isn’t your typical cookie-cutter type pie.
It is a rustic, freeform pie. A pie that refuses to be told how it should look. A pie that no longer abides by the restraints forced upon it by pie dishes & measuring sticks. A pie that has objected, broken free, and has set its OWN new & unique standard of beauty. This pie is a rebel. It’s my kinda pie.
As I I grow up, the more I appreciate the beauty in imperfection. I have learnt that I have a soft spot for all things flawed & raw…I am a sucker for ragged edges, scars & anything that holds a story in its seemingly uneven details. To be honest, perfection bores me to death.
I never thought the day would come when I would issue a statement like that. You see, I am & always have been somewhat of a perfectionist.
Contradiction? You bet.
And I have my chronic illness to thank for it.
Before being diagnosed, I always set out for perfection, & more often than not achieved it. However, when things didn’t go exactly as planned, I couldn’t cope. I was so dreadfully hard on myself. It was horrifically self-destructive. I demanded way too much of myself at all times, never appreciating any achievement that was less than what I (or others in fact) expected of myself, & eventually I cracked under the pressure of it all.
What happened next was the universe trying to teach a control-freak this harsh reality; that control is nothing but a big fat illusion. How? I simply lost all control over my very own body.
For years, I was unable to dictate or even predict the simplest, most mundane functions of my physical being. Sleep, food, bodily functions, you name it; I was powerless over it. I was going mad.
Now, I won’t get into details of what happened, or of all the bad & the good that came out of this mess…that would take eons. But what I am trying to say here is that being so utterly broken and helpless taught me to love myself, in all my gloriously flawed imperfection. I was forced to re-evaluate my unforgiving ways and judgements. I accept that I am powerless over most things, & that is ok. There is beauty in the cracks, dents and ridges. In fact, changing the way I regard imperfection has had a profound effect in what I perceive as interesting and beautiful.
…which brings us back to this galette. It requires very little effort and skill, & the results (at least to me) are nothing short of stunning.
You make a basic pie dough, which I chose to make with wholewheat flour. Not only is it tons better for you, but it also lends a gorgeously nutty flavour & adds to the rustic nature of this imperfect pie.
In a food processor, you add the very cold cubed butter to the dry ingredients & pulse a few times until it is mixed, but some visible pieces of pea-sized butter remain.
These clumpy bits of butter are what make the pastry so incredibly flaky. You then add ice-cold water, pulse some more until it juuust starts to come together.
Now you dump it all out, gather it together, flatten it into a roundish disk, wrap it in plastic and chill in the fridge for a while. Simples!
Tell me that is not the laziest pastry you’ve ever heard of?
After the dough has been hanging out in the fridge for a bit, you roll it out. You may need to bang it out a bit with your rolling pin first to soften it. Fun!
To transfer it easily, fold it in half, then half again & gently pick it up & place it on a baking sheet. Unfold it & return to the fridge for 5-10 minutes as you prep your apricots
As for the fruit, all I did was slice it up, toss it with some vanilla & maple syrup and…no, wait…that’s it.
Take the dough out again & sprinkle with some ground almonds. This step is optional, but I strongly recommend it because:
a) it prevents the juices of the fruit from making the bottom of the pastry soggy, and
b) it adds a lovely almond flavour that goes so beautifully with the rest of the ingredients.
Pile your fruit on top & fold the edges of the pastry up around that gloriously juicy mountain, making sure it hugs it tightly.
Brush with egg-wash, sprinkle with a little raw sugar & chill again for 10 minutes before baking.
Warning: do not be surprised if you find neighbours knocking at your door, empty plates in hand, inquiring about the intoxicating aroma of buttery, vanilla, fruity bliss.
Did I mention that this whole stunner of a galette has only ONE lousy tablespoon of sugar in it? Yes, just ONE! And that it is 100% whole-wheat? It almost seems too good to be true that something this delicious is pretty darn healthy and wholesome for a tasty dessert. You can feel very virtuous treating yourself to a slice (or four) with your cup of tea or as a lazy weekend breakfast.
Also, imagine how RIDICULOUSLY good this would be with classic apples and cinnamon instead of apricots? Or, or, or pears and cardamom served with a fat blob of mascarpone or ricotta on top? OR CHERRIES!! Oh my God cherries…mmm…ok fine I’ll stop now.
Now tell me…have you ever seen a more perfectly imperfect sight? I know I haven’t.
- FOR THE DOUGH:
- • 1 cup (160g) whole-wheat flour
- • 1 tbsp. sugar (I use raw)
- • ¼ tsp. salt
- • 120g unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
- • ⅓ cup (80ml) ice cold water
- • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- FOR THE FILLING:
- • 1kg apricots (about 10)
- • seeds of ½ a vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla paste/extract)
- • 2-3 tbsp. pure maple syrup or honey
- • 3-4 tbsp. ground almonds (also known as almond meal or flour)
- FOR BRUSHING:
- • 1 egg + 1 tbsp. water/milk, beaten well
- • 2-3 tsp. sugar for sprinkling (I used raw)
- In a food processor, put the flour, sugar and salt & pulse a few times to mix. Add the cold, cubed butter all at once and pulse several times until the butter is mixed through & the mixture looks sandy but there are still clumps remaining about the size of peas.
- Add the vinegar to the cold water and add it all at once and process until the dough just starts to come together and clump. Stop immediately once that happens, because over mixing will result in a tough pastry.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured clean surface and just gently bring it all together without over working it. Flatten it into a disk and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
- While the dough is resting, prepare your filling. Halve the apricots, remove the pits and slice each half into about 4 wedges and place them in a large bowl. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds out of half using the back of your knife. Add these to the apricots. Get the maple syrup or honey ready at hand but do not add it to the fruit until JUST before assembling the galette. If you add the sweetener too early the apricots will release all their juices and will be way too wet, making your pastry instantly soggy.
- Once the dough has rested, unwrap it onto a floured surface. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 30cm in diameter (roughly 3mm thick). If the dough is too hard you may use you rolling pin to gently bash the disk to help flatten it slightly for easier rolling. Carefully fold the dough in half and then half again, pick it up and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with baking paper and unfold it again. Place in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes. Don’t worry if the pastry is too big for the baking tray, you will be folding it later.
- Preheat your oven to 190 C (375 F). After the pastry has rested, remove the baking sheet from the fridge. Spread the almond meal onto the pastry, leaving a border about 5cm all around. Add the maple syrup/honey to your prepared apricots, mix through well and place the fruit mixture in a pile onto the center of the pastry.
- Using your hands, simply fold the edges of the dough up onto the fruit so that it snugly covers it. Start at one edge and continue going around and overlapping the folds until it all comes together. If the pastry cracks or a hole is poked through, don’t worry! Just pinch it back together or tear off a tiny piece from the edge and use it to patch the hole up.
- Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle the whole galette with sugar. Place in the fridge one last time for 10 minutes then bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until it is nicely golden all over. Serve as is or with ice cream/whipped cream/ ricotta/mascarpone.
• To reheat the galette, I recommend a toaster or the oven so that the pastry doesn’t go soggy. Avoid microwaving it!
• You may use other combinations of fruit and aromatics for the filling as well as replacing the ground almonds with any nut you prefer.