Berry Cherry Galette

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I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie, so when my brother asks me to bring dessert for the Thanksgiving holiday I usually make chocolate, berry and apple.

This year, for the fruit pie recipes, I did something really stupid: Thanksgiving morning I simply took a guess with a bunch of ingredients and it all just happened to come together in a delightful and delicious way. So here is the first of two no frills or fuss fruit galettes (apple soon to follow).

As for the chocolate pie… I always make America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated’s French Silk Pie. For those interested in an outstanding all-around cooking reference I highly recommend an online subscription to ATK/CI. It’s cheap, environmentally friendly, and man is it useful.

For the filling I used fresh raspberries, frozen blackberries and sour cherries. You can mix up the fruit to your taste–blueberries, boysenberries, etc. The one thing I will say is I think the sour cherries were what took it over the top. Frozen sour cherries can be found in a lot of markets specializing in Russian or eastern European foods. If you live in San Francisco, New World Market on Geary usually has them.

Unfortunately I don’t have any prep photos for this recipe. I was cooking in someone else’s kitchen and the camera wasn’t top-of-mind. You don’t need them.

Berry Cherry Galette (serves 6-8)

For the pastry:

2-1/4 cups (540ml) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tbsp. (15ml) sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
6-8 Tbsp. (90-120ml) ice water

For the filling:

1 lb. (450g) fresh or frozen berries–I used equal parts fresh raspberries, frozen blackberries and frozen sour cherries
1 cup (240ml) sugar
2 Tbsp. (30ml) cornstarch
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1 egg, separated
Sugar for sprinkling

1 pie dish, any size–8, 9, 10 inch or baking sheet–I’ve formed galettes on a baking sheet and in a pie dish and I prefer the latter as it keeps the dough from slouching.

To make the pastry:

For step-by-step pictures of pie pastry as it comes together you can go here:

Blend the flour, sugar and salt in either a food processor or in a bowl with a whisk.

Cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of small peas. You can also use a fork, pastry blender or your hands to work the butter into the flour. If using your hands, work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt–especially if you’re like me and you have really warm hands.

Add the water 1 tablespoon (15ml) at a time until the dough holds together when pinched. Try not to over-work the dough. Use short pulses of the food processor. It used to be the thing to run your food processor as you added a stream of water, and the dough gathered into a ball. Dough made that way will have way too much water and be tough and chewy from over-developed gluten. Tender, flaky dough starts out as something kind of loose and intimidating, but as it chills it will become more cohesive.

Gather the dough together in a ball, flatten it into a disk and wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

To make the filling:

Add the berries (frozen or thawed) to a saucepan and sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch over the top. Stir to combine and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. The berries will release some juice. Stir the mixture to make sure all the cornstarch has been incorporated into the liquid–you don’t want to see patches of white powder.

Simmer the berries over medium to medium/low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened. It should be the consistency of honey. This will take between 20-30 minutes. Let cool.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

I like to roll the pastry on waxed paper which makes it easier to get the pastry to the baking sheet or pie dish. You might need two overlapped pieces of paper to have enough room. You can also use a cutting board or pastry marble lightly dusted with flour, or a silicone mat.

Roll the pastry into a 14-inch (35cm) circle. If you want the galette to look just so, trim the edges into a perfect circle. You can also leave them uneven for a more rustic look. As you roll your pastry you can coax it into a circle by cutting the irregular pieces off and pressing them into the thinner spots. You can use any extra pastry to make decorative shapes to put on top.

Transfer the pastry circle to either a baking sheet or pie dish. Add the cooled filling to the middle, spreading it to within 2 inches or so of the edge. Gently start lifting the edges of the pastry, creating large pleats around the edge. Brush the edges with egg white mixed with a tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Lightly press any decorative pastry shapes into the filling.

Bake at 350F/175C degrees for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let the galette cool and the filling set before serving. The galette can be made a day in advance. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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