Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Recipe for Rustic Pear Galette

In the season of plentiful pears, a galette is one favorite option for a delicious, low-maintenance dessert.

Just picked and ready for dessert
Over the weekend, I found myself in front of a brick wall — at least, I think it was a brick wall. It was nearly impossible to see it through the thick, untended branches of my friend’s espaliered pear tree. Everywhere I looked, those branches were heavy with bright green pears. “Take as many as you want,” my friend said. “I never do anything with them.” Hiding my dismay at the thought that the fruit would be otherwise left to rot, I picked what I could carry. The fruit has ripened on my kitchen table all week and this morning, I cut a thin slice off one round side. The taste? Sweet, crisp flesh without an ounce of grittiness: pear perfection that’s now bound for this galette from Ashley Gartland’s Dishing Up® Oregon.
Rustic Pear Galette. Photo © John Valls

Rustic Pear Galette 

Recipe from Patricia Lee of Steamboat Inn

The Steamboat Inn’s pies earn high praise from guests, but during peak pear season it’s this rustic galette that draws accolades in the dining room. If you can’t find almond paste for the filling, you can omit it entirely or substitute ½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans in its place. The inn’s general manager, Patricia Lee, recommends serving her galette with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

Makes 1 (12-inch) galette

Galette dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling the dough (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
⅓ cup ice water, plus more as needed

Pear filling:
4 firm-ripe Bartlett pears
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup (about 5 ounces) crumbled almond paste
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten

  1. Make the dough: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, and salt together. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your hands until the butter is reduced to pea-size pieces. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time, using a fork to distribute the liquid. The dough will be shaggy but will come together when squeezed. If the dough doesn’t come together, add additional water by the tablespoonful as needed.
  2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it until it comes together. Flatten the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the filling: Peel and core the pears and cut them into ½-inch slices. Mix the pears, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt together with a rubber spatula in a large bowl until well combined.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet; it may hang over the edge of the sheet. Sprinkle the crumbled almond paste over the dough, leaving about a 1½ inch-border. Layer the pear slices over the almond paste. Discard any juices that have accumulated in the bowl.
  5. Fold the outer edge of the dough over the outside layer of pears, pleating the dough as needed and leaving the center of the galette open. Dot the butter evenly over the pears. Brush the edge of the dough with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle the edges with sugar. Refrigerate the galette for 20 minutes.
  6. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the galette until the crust is golden brown and the pears are tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet before slicing into wedges to serve.

Recipe excerpted from Dishing Up® Oregon © 2011 by Ashley Gartland. Galette photo © John Valls. All rights reserved.

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