We love a well-baked galette. It’s rustic, yet elegant. It’s as good as any pie, but is infinitely more forgiving to turn out because of its free form. Fill it with just about any fruit that’s in season—the only thing to consider is how much liquid the fruit renders as it cooks. Stone fruit and berries are juicier than apples and pears and require more sugar and flour to prevent a soggy bottom. Brushing the pastry with a thin layer of jam that has some flour incorporated into it before adding the fruit can also buffer the dough while adding complexity to the filling.
Adding a layer of cheese between the fruit and pastry can take your galette game to a new level. You can use a soft cheese like chèvre or mascarpone, or go bolder with aged cheddar or bleu. For this pairing, we chose brie—the mild buttery, creaminess of the cheese enhances the fruit notes in the wine and enlivens its crisp acidity.
FOR THE CRUST
1 1\2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled butter
4 tablespoons chilled shortening
4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white, beaten
turbinado sugar for sprinkling
FOR THE FILLING
1/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon flour
4 ounces brie cheese, chilled and thinly sliced
2-3 firm pears, rinsed and thinly sliced
thyme sprigs for garnish
One baking sheet lined with parchment paper
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and shortening. Cut the fat into the flour by using your thumbs and index fingers to smear the butter and shortening into thin sheets. Continue mixing by hand until the butter and shortening are well incorporated into the flour. Unlike most recipes that call for the dough to be mixed until it is the consistency of cornmeal, I like to stop while there are still larger pea-sized pieces of fat throughout. These larger pieces will puff up during baking and will produce a flakier pastry.
Gently incorporate the water by sprinkling it over the top of the dough a couple of tablespoons at a time. It’s important to stop mixing when the dough just comes together, and it should feel very tender to the touch.
Form the dough into a ball, turn it out onto a floured surface and flatten it into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
While the dough is chilling, place a small saucepan over medium-high heat and combine the apricot preserves, butter, vanilla bean paste, and flour and stir until thickened slightly, approximately 2 minutes. Keep warm.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap the disc and roll it out until it is 1/8” thick. If the dough begins to stick, sprinkle it with flour. Fold the dough into quarters and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Trim off any rough edges.
Arrange a layer of the brie cheese along the bottom of the galette, leaving a 2″ border. Spoon half of the preserve mixture over the brie, taking care to distribute it evenly. Arrange the pear slices over the top of the cheese, starting first along the outer edge to form a circle, then fan out the slices to create a separate inner layer to fill in the center of the pastry. Brush the remaining preserve mixture over the fruit.
Fold the edges of the galette over the fruit, pleating it every 2″. Brush the crust with the egg white wash, then sprinkle turbinado sugar over the galette.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the crust is golden and the fruit has softened and is bubbling. Let cool before serving and top it with sprigs of fresh thyme.