I can understand why people avoid making pie, especially here on our little sunny island. No matter how carefully I plan, I always manage to choose the hottest day of the week (and perhaps year) to make a pie. The pie pastry is finicky to roll out, the kitchen is dusted with flour and the logistics to even “transport” the dough safely to the pie pan. I am amazed I have yet to give up making pie.
But my love for pie overrides all the troublesome-ness that comes with making it – the crumbly and buttery pastry topped with soft, juicy, sweet fruit. It is my kind of comfort food. Over the years, I have learned to be smart when it comes to making a pie (in a hot and humid country). Instead of the conventional pan pie, I started making galette. Galette is the French way of describing a rustic, free-form pie. This means if you have a deformed-looking pie, just call it a galette.
Another great thing about galette is that you can control the size. You do not need to roll out the pastry in accordance to the size of the pan. You can make one big galette or several small ones (with different fillings). Making galette is also a great way to use up any odd bits of fruits, cheese and nuts. I have done all sorts of galette – berries, grapes and Stilton, and my favourite apple.
If you have not made a pie or are thinking of making one soon, I urge you to attempt a galette – you’d be pleasantly and deliciously surprised.
(Adapted from Nicole Stich, Delicious Days)
For this recipe, feel free to use your favourite pie pastry. My current favourite is the one from Nicole Stich (of delicious days). I love that the pastry is all-butter (I detest shortening and lard) and it formed a beautiful 10” galette. If you feel fancy, use a cookie cutter and cut out the dough and place your fruits* neatly for a more “posh” look.
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 90 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes (if you are making mini galette, the bake time is around 20-25 minutes)
Total time: 130 minutes
Serve: Makes about one 10” galette or three 4” mini galettes
1 portion of your favourite pie/ short-crust pastry (most recipes for pie/ short-crust pastry will yield a 10”-13” pie)**
300g apples (I like to use Granny Smith or Golden Delicious. This is around 2-2½ apples)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (1 tablespoon to be mixed with the sliced apples and 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on top of the pie)
15g unsalted butter, cubed
Zest of 1 lemon (when you are zesting the lemon, avoid the white bit – that is the bitter part)
Juice of half a lemon
– In a small bowl, pour in the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and the lemon zest. Using a fork, rub the lemon zest into the sugar – this process imparts the lemon flavour into the sugar. Set aside.
– Prep the apples – peel, core and cut the apple into quarters, width-wise. Cut the quarters into ¼” slices – I use my trusty mandoline for this job (and also because I have rubbish knife skills).
– Once the apples are prepped, place them in a big bowl. Pour the lemon juice (to prevent the apples from turning brown) and lemon-sugar into the bowl and mix well. Set aside in the fridge.
– Preheat the oven to 180oC.
– Remove the pastry dough from the fridge 5-10 minutes prior to rolling so that it is pliable and easy to roll.
– Place a large piece of parchment paper (at least 15” long) on the surface that you are going to roll out the dough on. Do not use a silicon baking sheet for this.
– Flour the parchment paper generously. Place the dough on top and flour the surface and the rolling pin.
– Roll the dough as evenly as possible and flour the surface as the dough extends. You should try to achieve a 0.1” thickness. As you roll, try your best to obtain a round shape. It is ok if you end up with an oblong pie pastry (it happens to me all the time).
– Once the dough is rolled out, place the sliced apples as neatly as possible, leaving a 2” border.
– Once the apples are placed, evenly sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and the cubed butter on the apples.
– Gently fold in the edges towards the middle of the dough. If you have problem folding in the dough, gently lift the parchment paper, tuck a small knife underneath the dough and fold in. The parchment paper is to help lift the edge of the dough. If you have any holes, don’t be too concerned, you can just pinch the dough and mend the hole.
– Once the edges are folded in, carefully lift the parchment paper (with the pie) with two hands and place it gently on a baking tray.
– Bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.
– If you plan to make mini galettes, bake them for 20-25 minutes.
*For the open tart/galette, you need to use fruits such as apple, grapes, figs and so on. The juice from these fruits tends not to leak out of the tart/ galette.
**If you are using Nicole Stich’s pie pastry recipe, I usually swop out half of the all-purpose flour with white pastry flour – this makes the crust more crumbly. In addition, I don’t mix the crème fraîche into the water. I add in the crème fraîche in the flour-butter mix and add in the water bit by bit. Lastly, if you really must use store-bought short-crust pastry, choose an all-butter version. I personally don’t advocate the use of store-bought short-crust pastry as it is actually quite easy to make from scratch.