Galette is an easy, breezy counterpoint to pie. Here's how to make a summery peach tart

·8 min read

Sugary, buttery, fruity and crisp — that’s what comes to mind when dreaming of the perfect galette. Mouthwatering, indeed. But perhaps equally appealing are the terms quick, easy and customizable.

That's right, you can make this spectacular, shows-stopping dessert with very few ingredients and even fewer steps.

But, what exactly is galette? The name comes from the Norman word gale or “flat cake” and is the term used in French cuisine to describe flat, round, free-form cakes made with homemade pastry dough. Imagine a single crust pie, baked directly on a baking sheet, without the need for a pie pan.

Galettes can be sweet or savory and feature meat, cheese, vegetables, nuts, fruit, jellies and jams.

But wait, the Italians called and they want their dessert back.

Kidding aside, the Italian term for galette is crostata. Since crostata is also a hand-formed, flat tart made with pastry and filled with savory and sweet fillings, it’s essentially the same thing as galette and the terms can be use interchangeably.

Now that we have that straight, let’s dive into how exactly to make this impressive dessert. Although easy to prepare, you'll want to follow a few tips to set yourself up for a perfect outcome every time.

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How to make the perfect galette

Use European butter if possible. European butter is cultured butter that’s been churned longer than classic American butter, a process that increases the butter’s fat content. American-style butter contains at least 80 percent butterfat, while European-style butter contains at least 82 percent butterfat.

While a variance of 2 percent might seem small, there is a noticeable difference in color, flavor and consistency. European butter adds a slight tanginess to the dough and because the butter has less water than American butter, your pastry will bake up golden, flaky and crisp without fail.

Mind the temperature of your ingredients. For flawless results, your dough needs to be cold. So, start with cold butter and once the dough is formed, chill it before rolling out. Once the galette is crafted, chill it yet again before baking.

Why? First, chilled dough is easier to roll out. Second, baking a chilled galette guarantees that the filling and pastry make it to the finish line at the same time. You want the filling to be tender and bubbly when the crust is golden brown. If you start baking with warm or room temperature dough, the crust may finish before the filling is soft.

Making galette is pretty simple and requires only a few ingredients. Just be sure to opt for European butter.
Making galette is pretty simple and requires only a few ingredients. Just be sure to opt for European butter.

Measure your dough. Make sure your galette dough is ⅛-inch thick. Thicker crusts are gummy and chewy, not flaky and crisp.

Use the middle oven rack. Since galette dough is thin and baked directly on a sheet pan, it should be placed in an area of the oven that yields consistent, moderate heat. Using the middle oven rack ensures even baking and browning.

Cool your galette on a wire rack. Once your galette has finished baking, transfer it on the same parchment paper to a wire rack to cool completely. This helps create a crisp (not soggy) crust.

Prep your galette dough in advance. Since your galette dough needs to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes before rolling out, you need to prep ahead anyway. You can make the dough in advance and keep it chilled in the refrigerator (tightly wrapped in plastic wrap) for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the dough for up to one month. To freeze galette dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then nestle it in a freezer bag. Thaw the dough at room temperature before rolling out.

Peel the peaches, or not! I prefer unpeeled peaches for this galette because the peach skin adds great color, flavor and texture. I used yellow peaches, but you can also use white peaches or nectarines. Just make sure slices are the same size to ensure even baking.

Change the filling with the season. As mentioned above, your galette can be sweet or savory and made with a variety of ingredients.

You can add blueberries, raspberries or strawberries to this peach galette. In the fall, try sliced apples with a shake of cinnamon for completely different version. You can also make a sweet and savory galette with ricotta cheese and pears with a drizzle honey over top before serving. Vegetable galettes can be filled with sliced zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms or leeks and topped with cheeses like parmesan or feta, fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

You don't have to have a food processor to make the dough. While using a food processor makes swift work of galette dough prep, it’s not necessary. If you’d rather make the dough by hand, simply combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter pieces and use two knives or a pastry cutter to get it down to pea-size pieces. Add the 4 tablespoons of ice-cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and use your fingers to incorporate the water into the dough. Work the butter into flour until the dough “comes together” — it will stick together when you squeeze some in your hand, not crumble. If your dough is still quite crumbly, work in the remaining tablespoon of ice-cold water. Transfer the dough to a flat surface and roll out into a long rectangle, about 12 inches long. Fold the dough into thirds and roll it out again. Repeat two more times (roll out, fold, roll out, fold). Shape the dough into a 5-inch disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes (and up to 3 days). Pull the dough from the fridge 10 minutes before rolling out.

Recipe: Perfect Peach Galette

Peach galette is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.
Peach galette is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.

Serves: 8

Ingredients: 

For the dough:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ cup cold unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), preferably European butter, cut into small pieces

  • 4-5 tablespoons ice-cold water

For the filling:

  • 5 cups thinly sliced, pitted fresh peaches (about 5-6 peaches)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or 1 egg, whisked (for brushing on the crust)

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves

  • Vanilla ice cream for serving, optional

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Preparation:

Make the dough:

  1. To make the galette dough, place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse 8 to 10 times, until the butter is pea-size.

  2. With the machine running, gradually add 4 tablespoons of the ice-cold water, one tablespoon at a time. If the dough hasn’t formed a ball by this point, add the remaining tablespoon of water and process until the dough comes together.

  3. Transfer the dough to a flat surface, shape it into a 5-inch disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes (or up to 3 days).

  4. Remove dough from the fridge 10 minutes before rolling out.

Arrange the peaches in the center of the dough (using the indentation as a guide) and work your way in, slightly overlapping the slices as you go.
Arrange the peaches in the center of the dough (using the indentation as a guide) and work your way in, slightly overlapping the slices as you go.

Make the filling:

  1. While the dough is chilling, prep the peaches. In a large bowl, combine the peaches, lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla and salt. Toss to coat.

Build the galette:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Working on a lightly floured surface (or large piece of parchment paper), roll the dough into a 12-inch round, about ⅛-inch thick. If necessary, mend any cracks or tears by pressing them back together with your fingers.

  3. Carefully transfer the dough to the parchment paper on the baking sheet (if desired, use your rolling pin to roll up the dough so you can transfer it with ease). If you rolled out your dough on parchment paper, simply transfer the paper to the baking sheet.

  4. Place a 9-inch pie pan in the center of the dough and press down gently to create a slight indentation - this step is optional, but it helps guide you when adding the peach filling.

  5. Arrange the peaches in the center of the dough (using the indentation as a guide). For a decorative presentation, start arranging slices around the outside edge of the indentation — or 2-inches from the outer edge of the dough — and work your way in, slightly overlapping the slices as you go.

  6. Fold up the edges of the dough, partially covering the filling and overlapping or folding the dough as needed as you work your way around the circle.

  7. Brush the heavy cream (or egg) all over the dough and sprinkle the peaches and crust with the granulated sugar. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Brush heavy cream (or egg) all over the dough and sprinkle the peaches and crust with granulated sugar before baking.
Brush heavy cream (or egg) all over the dough and sprinkle the peaches and crust with granulated sugar before baking.

Ready, set, bake!

  1. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is soft and bubbly.

  2. Transfer the galette (still on the parchment paper) to a wire rack to cool. The galette will be soft, so be careful when transferring.

  3. Once cooled, warm the apricot preserves in a small saucepan or in the microwave until thin enough to brush over the fruit. Brush the preserves all over the peaches.

  4. Slice the galette into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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Questions or comments? Email the culinary team at cooking@azcentral.com.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: How to make perfect peach galette: A recipe and tips