I just found this new way of preparing desserts with berries that has quickly become my favorites. There are variations of crusts on the internet (like this one I found at Two Peas & Their Pod), but I used “Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough” for mine.
According to my bible, Joy of Cooking, a galette (French) – or in Italian, a crostata – consists of a flat crust of pastry or bread dough covered with sugar, pastry cream, or a thin layer of fruit. The famed Galette des Rois, or Twelfth Night cake, is made with puff pastry. Sometimes it is baked with an elaborately decorated top crust and filled with a rich almond cream. Most galettes, however, are more simply made and rustic in look. They are, in effect, dessert pizas. Since galettes are baked on a flat sheet rather than in a pie or tart mold, they may be made in any shape that appeals to you. If the filling is juicy, bring the edge of the crust over the filling to catch drips; otherwise, simply double up the crust edge, then crimp or flute if you wish. Remember that the topping should be spare so as not to overwhelm the crust.
1 recipe of Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough (see below)
2 cups mixed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I tried kiwi fruit too but it did not bake well.)
2 tablespoons milk (I used 1% milk and it worked well)
1/4 cup white sugar (if you like to leave specs of sugar on the crust, use Turbinado sugar)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
– Make the crust f your choice. For the Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough, see below.
– Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F
– Remove one disk of the dough from the refrigerator and place on a well-floured work surface. Cut the dough into four equal parts. (most recipes said to roll the dough out on a sheet of parchment paper, but I didn’t have it at the time. So I just rolled out the dough on the floured surface and gently transfer it to small sheets of brown paper I cut out of lunch bags. It worked well. I’ll try parchment paper next time and will report back).
– Starting at the center of the dough, roll out each piece of dough into a circle, about 5-6 inches. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Arrange mixed berries in the center of each galette, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the border over the berries, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.
– Lightly brush the dough with milk. (Some like egg brush, but somehow, I don’t like the eggy smell my crust seems to still retain even when the crust is done).
– Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon sugar on the berries.
– Place 2 small pieces of butter on top.
– Bake the galettes until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let cool on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. It is best served the day they are made.
Me, I like to serve it warm. Pile more fresh berries on top, and lightly glaze them with homemade syrup or jam (In this case, I used apple syrup that I made the other day). Place a scoop or two of vanilla bean ice cream on the side, and I’m in heaven :).
Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough
(Makes about 8 mini galettes)
I like to make mine the old fashion way. You can also make it in a food processor.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon white sugar or 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold salted butter
1/8 cup solid vegetable shortening
3-4 tablespoon ice water
– Using a rubber spatula, thoroughly mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
– Working quickly to prevent softening, cut the butter into 1/4-inch pieces Add the butter to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or two knives, chop the butter into pea-sized pieces.
– With a few quick swipes of the pastry blender, cut the shortening into large chunks and distribute throughout the bowl. Continue to chop with the pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Do not let the mixture soften and begin to clump; it must remain dry and powdery.
– Drizzle over the flour and fat mixture, the ice water. Cut with the blade side of the rubber spatula until the mixture looks evenly moistened and begins to form small balls. Press down on the dough with the flat side of the spatula. If the balls of dough stick together, you have added enough water; if they do not, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of ice water over the top. Cut in the water, then press with your hands until the dough coheres. The dough should look rough, not smooth.
– Divide the dough in half, press each half into a round flat disk, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably for several hours, or for up to 2 day before rolling. The dough can also be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 6 months; thaw completely before rolling. (Note: I myself find freshly made dough rolls best after a couple of hours).