I made my first galette over the weekend. I’m quite proud, actually–I’m usually a bit of a pie wimp, and this was my first foray in a long time into the realm of flaky dough and bubbling fruit juices. As far as pie-type desserts go, I can now say from experience that a galette is an unfussy cook’s best friend: there’s only one crust to roll out, no pan-lining or crimping or pre-baking, and even the roughest and most haphazard attempts at folding the dough over the fruit end up looking like you meant to do it that way.
The real revelation here is the pie dough, a rye flour-inflected recipe I pinched from 101 Cookbooks. I love the old-country tang of good rye bread, and the notion of working that flavor into a pie dough was irresistible. Beyond the addition of the rye flour, the dough is pretty classic–flour, butter, salt, and cold fizzy water to keep the whole thing light. It was a dream to work with, rolling without complaint and baking to perfect crisp-flakiness. I could easily see this as the lid for a pot pie, or the wrapper for a batch of piroshki, and certainly as the base for any number of sweet or savory pies. This will be my go-to crust in future, no question.
As for what to wrap the dough around, there wasn’t much contest: nectarines are in their element in California right now, and few things make me weak at the knees like a sweet white nectarine. I found the perfect ones at the farmer’s market, fat and smooth and just coming into sugary ripeness. I cut the nectarines into wedges–more than a few of which disappeared along the way–and nestled them into the center of that simple gorgeous rye dough, on a bed of almond meal and flour to catch any oozing juices. Within ten minutes of putting it in the oven, the whole kitchen smelled like a little corner of summer: hot collapsing fruit and browning sugar and butter. It was the kind of dessert that makes you a little mournful when it’s gone, longing for just a little taste more of shattering crust and slumped fruit.
This was my first galette, and the first of many. I’m already planning my next one–perhaps something savory as we slide into fall. I’ll keep you updated.
Rye Pie Dough (makes one 9-inch pie crust)
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Note: I used light rye flour for my first attempt at this crust. It was delicious, but the rye flavor was veeeeeeeeeery subtle. If you want a tangier, whole grain-type crust, use dark rye flour.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Scant 1/3 cup rye flour (light or dark)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick/8 tbsp/4 oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup very cold seltzer water (sparkling water), plus more as needed
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, rye flour, and salt. Add the butter cubes and use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingertips to mix the butter into the flour, until it’s completely incorporated and crumbly (some lima bean-sized chunks, some pea-sized chunks). Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cold seltzer water over the mixture, and use a wooden spoon or flexible spatula to mix it in.
Gather the dough into a ball and knead it in the bowl a few times, just to bring it together. If it’s still dry and crumbly, add more seltzer water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic (if you’re doubling this recipe for a double-crust pie, make two discs–one for each crust). Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Nectarine Galette (serves 6-8)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Dough for 1 rye pie crust (see recipe above)
2 tbsp ground almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 – 2 lb ripe nectarines (about 4 large)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream, for serving
Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes, or until it’s malleable but still cold. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it into a rough circle about 14 inches across and 1/8 inch thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then transfer the rolled dough to the baking sheet and return to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat the oven to 400º F, and place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together ground nuts, flour, and 1 tbsp sugar. Cut each nectarine in half, remove the pit, and cut each half into 4 wedges. Set the nut mixture and the nectarines aside until needed.
When the rolled dough is done chilling, remove it from the fridge. Sprinkle the nut mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a border about 2 inches wide all the way around. Arrange the nectarine wedges on top of the nut mixture, skin side down, so that the wedges form a single layer and fit snugly together. Sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar evenly over the nectarines.
Take an edge of the 2-inch exposed border of dough, and fold it up and over the fruit. Rotate the tart and fold the border over again, crimping it gently so it sticks to itself. Repeat this process, turning the tart and folding the dough over at regular intervals, until the dough is folded up over the fruit all the way around. If the dough breaks or cracks, use your fingertips to press it back together. Once the crust is folded over, brush the exposed edge with butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar.
Bake the galette for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is soft. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to slide the galette onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.