Pears are as comfy cozy on your dinner table as they are on your dessert table–especially the hard green and gold speckled pears I bought up this fall at the Goshen Community Market, which were wonderful in baked goods, like my Vanilla Spiced Pear Muffins, and the galette we’re talking about here. They kept their shape and texture during cooking and delivered a beautifully sweet note without going all sugary. If you are looking for pears for this recipe in your grocery, stick with firm D’Anjou pears or Bosc. Avoid Bartlett—save those for nibbling.
This recipe also includes one of my go-to combinations for making any Autumn dish over-the-top delicious: caramelized onion, roasted garlic and honey. Check it out from September 2017. I used it as a spread for homemade bread back then, but I’ve since discovered that it is useful in a million ways—in the galette, for instance.
And about the galette—it is pretty much like a crostata—meaning one is more French and can be savory or sweet and the other is more Italian and is almost always for dessert. What they have in common is amazing textures and flavor combinations, as well as some convenience—both are made with “free-form crusts”, so if you are not a pie crust perfectionist, no worries. Your end result is supposed to be country rustic. Easy as pie…well, easier.
A couple of things before we get the pie dough rolling—this recipe makes two, 10-inch pie crusts, so you can make two galettes by increasing your filling ingredients or you can store one pie crust away in the frig or freezer for another occasion. You’ll also end up with extra roasted garlic, but you’ll be able to store any extra in your frig for at least a week. And, really, who can’t find a reason to use up extra roasted garlic? The point here is that this method is so incredibly easy (credit goes to chef Didi Emmons from the cookbook Vegetarian Planet) that you’ll end up making this all the time and will always have this ingredient on hand.
So let’s get started.
- Two and one-half cups all-purpose flour, chilled (King Arthur Organic, trust me.)
- One teaspoon cane sugar
- One teaspoon salt
- Two sticks unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces and placed in the freezer until ready to use
- One quarter-cup shortening, cut into tiny pieces and placed in the freezer until ready to use (I use Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread, nothing else will do for me.)
- One-third cup super-cold water, right out of the frig, plus extra in case you need it
- One-half cup olive oil, divided into two quarter cups
- Two tablespoons unsalted butter
- Coarse sea salt--about a teaspoon or a little more
- Two large yellow onions, cut in half vertically and sliced super-thin from a side angle
- About six to eight large cloves of roasted garlic, equal to four tablespoons (But you'll want to roast up to 50 cloves and store the extra.)
- Two tablespoons honey
- One-half cup Gruyere cheese, finely grated (I find Marcoot Jersey Creamery’s Alpine Forest to be perfect for this dish.)
- Two tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced or one teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
- Two or three firm pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced, enough to create a two-layered pinwheel in the center of the galette
- One tablespoon each whole sage leave and rosemary leaves
- Beaten egg yolk for wash
- Using a pastry blender, mix the flour, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl until well combined.
- Add the frozen butter bits and work into the flour mixture. You want some pea-size pieces and some slightly larger pieces of fat in the end.
- Add the frozen shortening bits and continue to incorporate with the pastry blender. Be sure not to let the butter and shortening begin to melt. The mixture should be of coarse uneven crumb consistency and remain dry and powdery.
- Create a well in the center of the flour mixture with a rubber spatula and add the cold water all at in the well. Working from the outside in, fold the flour mixture into the water as you rotate the bowl. Work quickly and purposefully until the dough comes together and forms a ball if squeezed. If you need, add a tablespoon or two more of water, but avoid over-wet dough.
- Divide in half, wrap tightly in parchment paper and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably several hours, until well chilled. You can make your dough ahead by up to two days.
- While the dough chills, prepare your filling. Start with the garlic by separating the cloves, but leaving the skin on. Note that you can roast up to 50 cloves at a time using this method, so you might as well take advantage. Place the cloves in a casserole dish and toss with one-quarter cup of water and one-quarter cup olive oil. Wrap tightly with foil and place in a 350-degree oven for one hour, stirring halfway through. Once the garlic is done, let it cool and then squeeze the pulp into a storing dish.
- Once the garlic is going, put the second quarter-cup of oil and the two tablespoons of unsalted butter into a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers and the butter melts, add the onions, separating the slivers and sprinkling with a good pinch of coarse sea salt. Let the onions start to sweat and soften; then, turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, a good hour to hour and 30 minutes. You want them to reduce and caramelize, with a nice uniform brown color. Keep an eye on them so they do not burn or start to crisp.
- While the onions are cooking, you can grate your cheese and prepare your herbs. You can also prepare the pears at this point, as long as you toss them with a bit of lemon juice and refrigerate until you need them.
- Once the onions are done, work in four to five tablespoons of the mashed roasted garlic, the thyme and the honey. Set aside.
- About an hour before you want to put your galette in the oven, bring your dough disc out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Before rolling, I like to work my disc by hand a bit to form a four-inch circle of even thickness. I then place the circle of dough between to sheets of parchment paper and roll out into a 10-inch pie crust by moving the pin from the center to the edge and rotating the dough, until I have my 10-inch circle. The crust should be about a half-inch thick all the way around.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully peel back the top parchment paper and slide the dough and the bottom parchment paper onto a rimless baking sheet. Moving it now is easier than moving it once it is filled.
- Beginning with your onions, spread them out within an inch and a half of the edge of the dough. You need this empty border so that you can fold back the edges. Once all the onion mixture is in place, cover with an even coat of the grated cheese.
- Now that you have your base layer, arrange the pear slices in a pretty design. I like a pinwheel, but whatever you like is what you should do; just be sure to leave the inch and a half empty border. Sprinkle the pears with the sage and rosemary leaves. You can add small dots of butter to the pears to help them brown—it couldn’t hurt.
- Finally, carefully fold in the edges of your galette. There is no reason to be super careful, and you can get quite creative. Just avoid a thick mound of dough in your folds, which could end up underbaked and tough. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg yolk.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.
- This pretty little pastry is good right out of the oven all melty and warm or at room temperature.
Prep work refers to peeling and slicing onions and pears, readying the garlic for the oven, and making the pie dough. Cook time includes caramelizing the onions, roasting the garlic, assembling the galette and baking. These times are approximate, and working ahead where steps allow is recommended. To reheat, place in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Not as good, but definitely good.
I think this galette can serve many purposes—from a savory brunch with scrambled eggs to lunch with a light soup or salad to a dinner for two or an appetizer for six. It will be delicious no matter how you showcase it. Interested in other versions of a galette? I posted a creamy mushroom rustic tart and also one made with pie cherries a couple of years ago. Then a bit later, a galette helped me make the most of leftover Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce—you know Thanksgiving is right around the corner! There’s a scary thought.