#dessert: Pear Galette with Ginger Creme Anglais & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
Crust adapted to be #gluten_free.
We’re just over two weeks away from American Thanksgiving, a holiday that almost requires one to have pie for dessert. If you’re planning on making pie for Thanksgiving, now would be a wonderful time to get a head start on the crust.
Make the dough now & freeze it until you plan to assemble & bake the pies (for me, that would be until Wednesday, November 27th) That way, life might be a little more simple the week of Thanksgiving. Even if you were not planning on making a pie for Thanksgiving, I urge you to give it a chance this year, especially if you follow a gluten free lifestyle.
I know, I know, making pies can be a scary thing, both to the novice & seasoned baker. Usually it’s the crust that gives people the most bother. But pie shouldn’t be scary! Crafting a pie is not nearly as difficult as you may think (or imagine). And if you start practicing now, there’s more than enough time for a couple of trial pies before the big days.
Galettes are a fancy name for a free-form pie--the easiest of pies! Prepared pie dough is rolled out, a fruit (or savory) filling is added to the center of the dough (leaving the edges free), and the edges are folded around the filing. How easy is that?
Even if making the dough yourself is a totally scary thing & you feel you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT make it yourself, I’ll give you a pass--after all, I don’t want to add any undue stress during such an important holiday season! So, I’ll let you in on a little secret... You could totally make this galette using a pre-made pie dough. Just make sure to buy the dough that is rolled out, but NOT already in the pans. You can totally cheat on it that way (and it can remain our little secret).
But if you do want to make the dough yourself (and I hope you give it at least a try), here are a few of my pie crust tips. The absolute number one tip is that everything must remained cold. With the cold snap hitting much of the US right now, cold might not be such a difficult thing :) The butter should be cold--I even pop my cut up butter into the freezer while I prepare the rest of my ingredients. Some people go so far as to chill the bowl they plan to work with & their flour etc. You certainly may do that if you’re working in a warm kitchen or if you’re working without a food processor. This may sound a bit redundant, but also make sure that your oven isn’t on and heating up your kitchen while you make the dough. Do you know why we want to keep everything cold? We don’t want the butter to cream together with the dry ingredients, like you would for cookie dough. The butter should be just “cut” into the flour. Those larger butter pieces are what will make the dough flaky once it is baked. When the hot heat of the oven hits the pie crust, the moisture from the butter pieces will instantly turn to steam & help slightly leaven the dough, but more importantly help it to become flakey.
Work quickly. Have everything ready to go before you start the actual crust making process: your ingredients, your bowls, your tools,. In culinary school & when I was a Chef Instructor, we called this preparing your “mis-en-place” or “everything in its place” all ready to be used. Read through the directions a couple of times before you begin & then work as speedily as you can in the assembly of the dough. Working quickly keeps you from second guessing yourself and also helps to keep everything cold.
Don’t over work your dough. It’s OK to see pieces of butter in the dough--in fact it’s a good thing! Overworked dough=tough & not flaky dough. If the dough is still a bit crumbly, that’s ok. When in doubt, work (or mix) the dough less.
Allow for adequate resting time. Give your dough some time for a “nap” in the refrigerator after you make it. At minimum, the dough should rest an hour, but I usually make the dough the night before, if I possibly can! Or I make it earlier and freeze it. That refrigerator time does a couple of things. 1) It helps keep everything cold. 2) It allows the moisture to distribute itself throughout the dough & to fully hydrate the starches. 3) If you’re making a crust with wheat flour, the resting process allows the gluten to relax, making it easier to roll out the dough later.
Use enough flour when rolling out the pie dough. After the dough has rested & you’re ready to roll it out, use enough flour underneath & on top of the dough. If I’m making a Gluten Free Crust, I use tapioca starch for rolling out. If I’m making a regular crust with wheat flour, I use bread flour for rolling out. Once again, work quickly as you roll & keep the dough moving around on the flour. Continually dust with more flour if you see any signs of stick-age. The absolute worst feeling is once you’ve rolled out the pie crust completely but discover it’s stuck & cannot be picked up. If there’s too much flour on the top or bottom surfaces, use a dry pastry brush to remove off any excess.
Start baking the pie in a hot oven. Once again, we want really flakey crust; we want the moisture in the butter to turn to steam as quickly as possible, which will help the dough to rise a bit and be more flakey. I always start my pies at a higher temperature & then lower the temp if I start to notice too much browning. Better to start with a high temp & turn the oven down than to just bake at a lower temp. And you can always cover the crust with foil if it becomes too brown. (in this post, you can see my dear grandma with her beloved, many-times-used, pie foil).
Lastly, trust yourself. The dough knows when you’re scared. Have confidence in yourself, even if you have to feign it. With practice, your pie & pie crust making skills will progress. Almost no ones first pie looked perfect & that’s OK--it gives you room for improvement. Learn from errors & know that in the end, it’s just pie :) It’ll be delicious regardless!
Gluten Free Pear Galette with Ginger Creme Anglaise
yields 6 to 8 servings
I started making this galette when I wanted to test out a gluten free pie crust, but you can totally substitute All Purpose flour (wheat-based) if you are not following a gluten free lifestyle. I actually am coming to prefer the GF crust to the regular one because I think it ends up a little more tender & flakey. I like the flavors of ginger with pear, but you can always play around with the seasoning. Pie & ice cream is a classic combo, but I took it a step further & added a rich custard sauce (also known as “Creme Anglaise”) too, just for added decadence when I served this combination at a dinner party. Do note that this galette method works with a variety of fruit items (pears, apples, stone fruit, berries etc.) but WILL NOT work with a custard-type pie (like pumpkin) or pecan.
1 recipe pate brisee (recipe follows)
Nonstick spray, for the baking pan
1.90 oz / 54 g / 1/2 c Brown Sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of the pears).
7 g / 1 Tbl Cornstarch
2 tsp Ground Ginger
Pinch Sea Salt
4 Bartlette Pears
Tapioca starch, for dusting
1 Tbl Butter, cold
Coarse or Granulated Sugar, as needed
- Make the Pate Brisee (instructions below) at least 2 hours before you plan to assemble & bake the galette, though I do prefer making the dough the night before. Remove the dough from the refrigerator 10 minutes before rolling it out.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment liberally with the nonstick spray. Set aside (NOT, on the preheating oven, or else the pan will get too hot).
- In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger & sea salt.
- Peel, core and slice the pears into thin slices. Add the pear slices to the brown sugar mixture & toss to coat. Add the pears as they are peeled & cut, so that they do not brown. Set aside while rolling out the crust.
- Dust the counter, the rolling pin, and the top of the pie dough with tapioca starch. Add more starch as needed throughout the rolling process so that the dough never sticks to the counter or the rolling pin. Quickly roll out the dough, keeping it as circular as possible, until it reaches 13” in diameter.
- Once the dough reaches the correct diameter, place the prepared pan next to the dough, gently fold the dough in half & quickly transfer it to the prepared pan.
- Unfold the dough on the pan. Mound the prepared pears in the center of the dough. Gently fold the dough up around the pears. Cut the tablespoon of cold butter into small cubes & dot the top of the galette surface with the cubes. Place the pan in the refrigerator briefly while you prepare the egg wash.
- In a small bowl, vigorously whisk one egg until the yolk and white are very well mixed. Remove the galette from the refrigerator & brush the pie dough surface with the egg wash. Sprinkle the galette with some coarse sugar (or substitute granulated sugar, if necessary).
- Immediately place the galette into the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour or until nicely browned, rotating the pan at the 30 minute mark.
- Remove from the oven & allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Just before serving, warm the galette again in a low oven. Top with ice cream and creme anglaise, if desired. The room temperature leftovers may be stored tightly wrapped for up to 2 days at room temperature. For longer storage, keep the galette tightly wrapped in the refrigerator or freezer & recrisp in a warm oven before serving.
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cooking School
makes enough for 1 galette
4.5 oz / 9 Tbl Unsalted Butter, cold
5.85 oz / 165 g Jeanne’s GF AP Flour (or substitute AP flour, if not following a gluten free lifestyle)
0.30 oz / 7 g / 1 1/2 tsp Granulated Sugar
4 g / 3/4 tsp Sea Salt
1.60 / 3 Tbl + 1 1/2 tsp Ice Water (plus more, if needed)
- Cut the butter into small cubes & place in the freezer while preparing the other ingredients.
- Place the flour, sugar & salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Add the frozen butter pieces & pulse until the mixture reaches a mealy size. (remember, less is more! butter pieces are good!)
- Add the water & pulse further until the dough just comes together. Note, it should never require more than 30 seconds of pulsing at the most!
- Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap well, using the plastic wrap to help the dough become more of a flat disc shape. Do not form the dough into a ball or sphere.
- Refrigerate the dough at least an hour or two, but overnight is best. The dough may be kept, well wrapped, in the freezer for a longer life.
Non-food processor instructions: Use a pastry cutter instead of the food processor to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue using the same cutter when adding the water & mix just the dough just holds together.
Like pie dough, creme anglaise can be a bit tricky. This is another recipe where it is important to have all ingredients & equipment ready before beginning. Also read through the complete recipe before beginning.
6 oz cream
2 ea yolks
30 g sugar
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice & a little water. Fit a smaller bowl into the larger one & set aside.
- Pour the heavy cream into a small sauce pan. Sprinkle half the sugar over the surface. Do not stir. Heat over medium high heat to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, whisk the remaining sugar with the ground ginger. Add the yolks and the vanilla bean paste.
- Temper the hot cream into the yolk/sugar mixture by whisking the cream little by little into the yolk/sugar mixture until all the cream has been added.
- Return the tempered mixture to the sauce pan & stir constantly with a heat tempered spatula. Gently heat over medium heat until the mixture thickens ever so slightly and reaches “napper” (i.e. coats the back of the spatula & will hold the line when you run your finger through the back of the spatula). Be VERY careful not to overcook. The mixture should never never boil. Remove from the pan from the heat often & check for napper.
- Once the mixture reaches napper, immediately remove from the heat & cool over the prepared ice bath.
- Taste the cooled anglaise & adjust the ginger to your taste preferences.
- Store in the refrigerator in a covered container until ready to serve or up to 2 days.