Pear and Fig Galette

Firstly, things have been happening!

It's been a crazy summer. I just finished filming the first 13 episodes of the third season of Recipe Rehab, which is now streaming on Hulu if you want to check it out.

But bigger than any TV show could ever be, I became an aunt for the first time! I'm totally in love with my little niece, and she has been the most welcome distraction a person could have. Her appearance has also given me a good reason to cook and bake more. Her parents need nourishment for their hard work and sleep deprived nights, and I'm happy to have an excuse to spend more time in the kitchen.

So this week, when my CSA came with lovely figs and pears I was inspired to bake a galette for a lunchtime dessert for my brother, sister-in-law, her father and of course our little new addition (at the end of this post is a short review/issue with my CSA, Farm Fresh To You).

This recipe makes a super flaky crust, and this dessert isn't too sweet. If you're into something super sweet, you could add more sugar to the pears, or you could serve the galette with ice cream or whip cream. Slices of this treat would also make a great breakfast alongside a hot cup of coffee.

Galette's also seem so fancy and special, but they're easier to make than a pie, and produce similar results. Like all pastry, they do take some patience; but if you're in the right state of mind, they're very easy and fun. The only tricky part of this recipe is making the dough. My secret: keep everything SUPER cold. Chill the bowls, the flour, the butter, and the water. Also, chill the galette before you stick it in the oven. With pastry, the colder the better. Also, a food processor can help a ton. You can also omit figs, replace the pears with apples or even peaches or plums. There is so much wonderful fruit right now, anything you put into buttery pastry is bound to be delicious.

Pear and Fig Galette
Adapted from Christopher Hill
Serves 6

For the crust-
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, chilled (plus more for dusting)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) of COLD unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3-6 tablespoons ice water

For the filling-
3 firm pears, cored and sliced thin
1-2 figs, sliced thin lengthwise
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
3-4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided (also called sugar in the raw, or you can sub with brown sugar),
2-3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 egg, beaten slightly with a splash of water or milk or almond milk
2 tablespoons honey

Start by putting all of your crust ingredients (including your food processor bowl) into the freezer until they are chilled.

In a food processor, add the flour, salt, and small cubes of butter. Pulse the mixture until the flour clumps into pea-sized pieces or becomes a course meal. Slowly drizzle in ice water one tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse. You want your dough to just come together when you press it together between your fingers. Be careful not to over-mix. Add only a little water at a time, because you don't want the dough to be too damp. You should see bits of the butter throughout the dough. When the dough easily sticks together, form it into a ball, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. It's great to make this the night before and just have it ready the day you intend to bake it.

Core and slice your pears. I used three pears, you need roughly 3 1/2 cups of fruit, but it doesn't have to be exact. I like using a melon baller to remove the tough center of the fruit.

Add the sliced pears to a bowl. To the pears add a few tablespoons of sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice, a few tablespoons of flour, the cinnamon, and the cardamom. You could add ginger instead of cardamom if so inclined. You just want to coat the fruit with the flour and sugar; the sugar will add extra sweetness, and the flour will help the pears from becoming to juicy and runny in the galette.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

On a large flat surface, place a large sheet pan-sized piece of parchment paper and dust it lightly with flour. Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour, too. Roll out your dough into a circle that is about an 1/8 of an inch thick, or 14-15 inches in diameter. It doesn't have to be perfect, the craggy edges are part of the appeal. If you see specks of delicious butter, you made your dough right!

Once your dough is rolled out, you can fill it with concentric circles of the sliced spiced pears. Leave a 1.5-2-inch border around the edges, because you will fold the dough over the filing. Next, I slice up some fig rounds, and lay them out over the top of the pears. Fold the edges of dough over the fruit.

Transfer the galette with the parchment onto a baking sheet. Place the formed galette in the freezer for 5-10 minutes so that it has time to chill a bit before you bake it. This will help the crust turn out even better.

Beat one egg with a little water or milk or almond milk. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle more raw sugar over the top of the dough.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 450°F. Then, lower the temperature to 375°F, and bake for 25-30 more minutes or until the pears are cooked and the dough is a lovely golden brown. If the pastry starts to get too brown and the fruit still isn't cooked enough, cover those parts with foil, and bake the galette until the fruit is tender.

While the galette bakes, heat a few tablespoons of honey (or you could sub with apricot preserves) in a small sauce pan.

Once the galette is cooked, brush the top of the fruit with the warm honey. Transfer it to a wire rack (you can still keep it on the parchment paper), and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. You can serve this treat room temp, or warm. It's also great topped with vanilla ice cream or classic whip cream.


With regards to my CSA, Farm Fresh To You:
I love the produce, the convenience, and the customer service is excellent (when you call them), but I have had issues with delivery... mostly they seem to drop off my produce at 11:30 at night, and then it sits out all night in front of my building, and has been stolen, or some stuff has wilted, and it doesn't make sense as my next door neighbors get the exact same CSA at a reasonable time in the morning. I've called several times about it, but they claim they can't change a thing. Very sadly, I may have to discontinue the service... it just doesn't make sense to have someone come give you produce in the middle of the night when you are in bed or asleep. If anyone has any experience with this company, or advice about a comparable CSA in the East LA area, that would be great!