Pear Galette/Crostata with Star Anise and Vanilla (with variations)

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Galettes are delicious flaky free form french tarts. This galette dough, published by Alice Waters but which she attributes to Jacque Pepin is easy, delicious and versatile. You can fill the dough with nearly anything you want, sweet or savory, from apples to zucchini. For this particular recipe I’m sharing, I took a journey back into my childhood for inspiration.

This recipe really brings me back to when I was a child. My mom makes a lot of amazing desserts, but there is one in particular that always fills the house with a tantalizing sweet aroma: poached pears. I’m also a little sentimental about the pears because they were the only dessert with fruit I would eat until I was 10. I know poached pears doesn’t seem that exciting, but my mom made them in a unique way. She would poach the pears in a simple syrup with vanilla, lemon, and a hint of star anise and serve it with a homemade chestnut gelato. The 3 bold flavors perfectly blended with the sweet earthy flavor of the pears.  This flavor is what I recreated for my galette filling.

If you don’t have time to make the crust, We highly recommend a product called “Ready-To-Roll-Dough”. It’s an all butter sough which comes in two forms: sweet and savory. It’s a remarkable dough, flakey, buttery and easy to work with. I find it at Whole Foods but you can contact them through their website and find out where else they distribute.

Daniel

This galette is really versatile and I’ve done it with a variety of fruits. You’ll find pictures and suggestions at the end of this recipe.

Julie

INGREDIENTS:

  • For Galette Dough
  • 130 grams, (4.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch teaspoon salt
  • 85 grams (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 3.5 tablespoons ice water
  • For Filling and Topping Galette
  • 1 tablespoon roasted ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of pulverized amaretti
  • 5 ounces galette dough, rolled into a 14-inch circle and chilled
  • 1.5 pounds ripe pears
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • ½ Vanilla bean scraped
  • 1/8 tsp ground star anise
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of sanding sugar (the larger crystals resist melting and add a nice crunch.
  • A little apple jelly (optional)

DIRECTIONS

For Galette Dough

  • Combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Cut in 3 tablespoons of the butter with a pastry blender, mixing until the dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Cut in the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter until the biggest pieces are the size of chickpeas.
  • Dribble 3.5 tablespoons of ice water into the flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly with one hand and mixing between additions, until the dough just holds together. Do not squeeze, pinch or press the dough, or it will toughen. Keep tossing the mixture until it starts to pull together; it will look like moist curds with some dry patches. If it looks like the dry patches outnumber the curds, add another teaspoon of water and toss until it comes together. Press firmly into a ball then press into a flat disk, about 1/2″ thick and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days and for a few weeks.

For Galette

  • When you are ready to make the tart, preheat your oven to 400F.
  • Take the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a silicone mat that has been rubbed with flour. Rub your rolling pin with flour as well Let the dough soften slightly so that it is malleable but still cold. Unwrap the dough and roll out the disk into a 14-inch circle about 1/16th” thick. Trim the circle so the edges are even. I have a pot lid that is not too heavy and just the right size. That’s what I use as a template.
  • If at any time the dough becomes to soft and starts to stick, try throwing a bit more flour under it. If it’s still too soft, pick up pick up the mat, place it on a sheet pan and pop it into the freezer for a minute. Brush off excess flour with a soft bench brush or pastry brush.  
  • Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using. Rolled-out dough may be frozen and used the next day.IMG_0143
    Combine the tablespoon of ground almonds, tablespoon of flour, tablespoon of the sugar, and tablespoon of pulverized amaretti together.
    Remove the prerolled dough from the refrigerator or freezer. I like to place a piece of parchment paper on a big bread peel and build the tart on that. It’s really heavy when it gets filled and if it’s on parchment, on the peel you can slide it right on the stone. If you don’t have a peel, put a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet. You can still slide it on the stone, it’s a bit clumsier. of course, if you don’t have a stone, build the tart on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put the whole thing in the oven.
    Sprinkle the almond-amaretti powder evenly over the pastry, leaving bare a 2″ border.
    Peel, remove the stem from the pears and sprinkle a little lemon juice on them. Using a mandolin, cut pears into ¼ inch slices lengthwise. Remove core with a round cookie cutter.  So, what you will have is pear shaped slices with the core removed.IMG_0145Arrange the fruit in concentric circles on the dough, so that the edge of the second pear slice covers the cut out whole in the first one, making a single layer of snugly touching pieces, leaving the border bare.
    Mix ¼ cup of sugar with the lemon zest, vanilla, and star anise. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over the fruit.
    While rotating the tart, fold the border of exposed dough up and over itself at regular intervals. Brush the border with melted butter, and sprinkle it with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar or the sparkling sugar.
    Bake in the lower third of the oven on the preheated pizza stone for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is well browned and its edges are slightly caramelized. Using the parchment paper as a handle, slide the galette onto the bread peel and then slide it onto a cooling rack. If you’re not using a peel or a stone, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and slide the galette off the hot sheet and onto a cooling rack. If the cooling rack and cookie sheet are at the same level when you attempt the transfer, you won’t crack the tart.
    Let cool for 20 minutes. If you want to glaze the tart, brush the fruit lightly with a little warmed apple jelly. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or Creme Fraiche.

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All stone fruits work really well. Apricots with some vanilla bean seeds and lemon zest rubbed into the sugar and a drizzle of honey, once it comes out of the oven and cools down, is nice. You could also rub some fresh thyme leaves in the sugar for apricots or peaches. Italian prune plums (Stanley plums) are wonderful. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/8th teaspoon of star anise, zested rind from a lemon and the caviar of one vanilla bean to the 1/4 cup of sugar. Pit and quarter the plums and arrange them on their sides or leave them whole, skin side down.

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In Late August and early Septembe, it’s always Fig Fest at my house. We all love the look of figs and their subtle earthy flavor. I make Fig/Earl Gray preserves, fig tarts, fig cookies and figs stuffed with gorgonzola and walnuts and drizzled with honey, oil a d vinegar.

For the fig tart grind about a teaspoon or more of good quality Earl Grey tea with a mortar and pestle. Combine with the 1/4 cup of sugar you use for the fruit. You can also roast some walnuts and sprinkle them on top of the tart before you glaze it.

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Apples work just as well as pears. I’d omit the star anise and put a bit of rum in the apple jelly glaze.

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Berries release a lot of juice so we usually mix them with a stone fruit but let your imagination be your guide. Nectarines with a handful of blackberries are a nice combo.

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Sour cherries are very juicy and require some special handling. We pit them, put them in an oven safe dish with a tablespoon of Kirsh and two teaspoons of sugar and bake at 400F for about 5 minutes until they are steaming and release some juice. Take the juice and boil it down until it’s syrupy. Let the cherries come to room temperature toss the berries with the reduced juice and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Increase the flour/sugar/amaretti/almond mixture as follows: 1.5 tablespoons each of flour, almonds, amaretti,

Apricot

Peaches and Blackberries

Italian (Stanley) Plums

Pink Pearl Apples (with the edges rolled in)

3 comments

  1. JDL · August 23

    Thank you!

    Like

  2. robbiesinspiration · August 22

    This looks incredible💗

    Like

  3. Pingback: We love You, We Love You Like Never Before | Caramel

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