Julia Child was my first guide for many of the go-to dishes that I still make today. My Mom and I would watch “The French Chef” on WNET, Channel 13, our PBS station back home in New York. Later, I’d start buying Julia’s cookbooks, and I was lucky enough to not only interview her, but meet her just a few years before she passed away. She was a lovely, down-to-earth lady, and someone I’ll never forget.
The classic rustic galette was the first dessert I learned how to bake, straight from the pages of “Baking with Julia.” I generally stayed away from desserts because cooking them required a lot of exact measurements, and that just wasn’t my style of cooking. So when I saw that this rustic galette required none of those things, and yet tasted absolutely delicious, I realized I had found my dessert! And the galette was versatile: I could use whatever ripe fruit I could get my hands on, so it became a dessert that changed with the seasons.
With my wife’s dietary needs changing, I decided I’d attempt a gluten-free version of the classic galette. The original recipe for the galette dough was one that I could make a couple of days ahead of time, wrap in plastic and keep in the fridge. Then it was simply a matter of bringing the dough back to room temperature before I rolled it out, added the filling, and put it in the oven.
Gluten-free doughs, however, are a bit more high-maintenance. I found that making the dough ahead of time was not an option. I’d remove the dough from the fridge, only to have it fall apart in my hands, with the consistency of Play-Doh. I was still able to form it into a round shape, but it had no elasticity and it just crumbled in my hands.
I used apples, and couldn’t even fold the dough over the sides because it kept crumbling. Despite the fact that it wasn’t too pretty, it tasted great!
So now I make the dough right before I want to use it. You can make the dough by hand, but I use a food processor.
For the dough:
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup all-purpose flour (I use gluten-free)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 pieces
Everything looks better when you cover it with whipped cream!
For the berries: (per galette)
1 1/2 cups mixed fresh berries or cut-up peeled fruit (I used apples)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter
Stir the sour cream and 1/3 cup ice water together in a bowl and set aside.
Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse to combine.
Drop the butter pieces into the processor and pulse 8 to 10 times, or until the mixture is speckled with pieces of butter about the size of a pea. With the machine running, add the sour cream mixture and process just until the dough forms soft, moist curds. Don’t overdo it!
Remove the dough from the processor, divide it in half, and press each half into a disk. If you’re not using gluten-free flour, wrap the discs in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
If you’re going gluten-free, line a baking sheet with parchment paper for each disc of dough. Put the dough on a lightly (GF) floured work surface and roll it into an 11-inch circle that’s about 1/8″ thick. Carefully transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. If it falls apart, just press it back together on the parchment. (It’ll still taste great!)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and pre-heat to 400.
Spread the berries over the dough, leaving a 2 to 3-inch border. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the fruit. Cut the butter into slivers and scatter it onto the fruit. Fold the uncovered border of the dough over the filling, allowing it to fold naturally onto itself as you lift it and work around the galette. It’s supposed to look rustic, so don’t sweat it. Dip a pastry brush in water, lightly brush the edge of the crust with it, then sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of sugar onto the crust.
Bake the galette for 35 to 40 minutes, until it’s golden and crisp. Move the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the galette cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp. Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut into slices.
A little whipped cream never hurts!