If you're wary of pie crusts, there is an easy alternative: the galette.
Truth be told, I prefer galettes to pies. I love the rustic look and taste of the French pastry, as well as the fact that you can vary the ingredients to make a galette into a hearty sweet dessert or a savory meal. Best of all, it's almost impossible to mess up a galette. Pie crusts take a light touch—not so with the durable yet flaky galette. As one chef put it, they're "ugly-beautiful."
Like so many other pastries, the galette originated in France. It traces all the way back to Norman times, when it was called the gale—the French term for “flat cake.” While the term has become a catch-all phrase for other types of flat pastries, with some saying the galette is the French equivalent of the Italian pizza, it is most often associated with the free-from tart.
Once you combine the few ingredients, you simply roll or press the dough into a circular shape and place your filling of choice at the center. All that's left to do is to pull the sides up and press them over the filling, leaving the center open. Simply put the galette into the oven and you'll soon have a delicious dish.
Although some chefs crimp the edges into fancier designs, there's no need to do so and leaving your galette a bit messy is arguably more authentic. Because the top is left open, the filling will caramelize while baking and its flavor will contrast marvelously with the crisp outer layer.
As for fillings, you can be as creative as you like. I've listed links to 10 more combinations below, but you can use just about anything in the center.
For the pastry dough
For the crust:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 stick)
1/4 ice water
For the filling:
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Combine blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a medium bowl until blueberries are evenly coated. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients for pastry dough in a large bowl.
3. Work the butter into the dough mixture with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal with some pea-size pieces.
4. Add the ice water a little at a time. Mix until the dough holds together enough to form a ball. Chill for 30 minutes.
5. Roll out the dough into a circle, about 12-inches in diameter. Place dough on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, which will catch leaks.
6. Add the filling in the center of the dough and spread out in a thin layer, leaving a 1 1/2- to two-inch border.
7. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, leaving a hole at the center. Pleat as is necessary and leave about 5 inches open. Diameter of finished galette should be about 6-7 inches.
8. Brush the crust with egg wash (1 beaten egg and 1 tablespoon water) and dot the center with butter.
9. Bake until the crust is a deep golden-brown and the fruit is bubbly and cooked, about 30-35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
For a flaky texture, dough should hold together but should not stick to your hands.
Avoid overworking the dough as much as you can.
I always use King Arthur's Flour because its protein content is higher than other brands, which makes for a better crust.
You can use a food processor to pulse the dough with good results.
If you want a more consistent look, you can trim the edges with a pizza cutter or a knife before you fold the dough.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Because you can't par-bake a galette, you might want to brush the inside of the crust with a thin layer of egg white or jam. Some cooks also crumble a cookie onto the pastry before adding fruit. Just be sure your filling is not damp.
Here are links to 10 recipes you can try:
Apple (Ina Garten)
Strawberry (Southern Living)
Any Berry (Bon Appetit)
Tomato (Bon Appetit)
Mushroom (Mon Petit Four)
Broccoli and Cheese (Serious Eats)
Tomato and Goat Cheese (Chef Lindsey Farr)
Onion, Spinach and Feta (The Farmer's Daughter)
For more savory galette recipes, visit Brit + Co.
For sweet and savory recipes, try these 21 Taste of Home suggestions.