Pie or galette?
Well, that depends on who you’re asking. The pie is a staple that I grew up with at home. But, for me now more than ever, I lean towards galettes. Pie is homey, and a tart is what I break out for dinner parties. But, a galette splits the difference and has a crispier, flakier crust than either one.
The appeal of a galette lies in its rustic shape. Free-form, mounded with fruit, sides folded in and baked until golden. Unlike a pie, the juices can stain the dough, the pastry can tear, but it will still bake into something spectacular because the filling caramelizes and the flavors concentrate.
I think everyone should have a go-to galette recipe, and this is mine. It’s a strategically modified combination of my two favorite things, citrus and tea. I start with my standard flaky tart dough but sub out the water for something more floral — Japanese jasmine green tea. Then, I pulverize more tea in a spice blender to mix into the dough. I’m still not sure if this really does anything to the flavor, but visually it makes the dough flecked with tea. The filling is simple, a mixture of lightly sweetened citrus wedges.
Out of the oven, the golden brown crust has an audible crunch and maze-like layers. The fruit is soft, slightly sunken, but perfectly sweet. It’s crunchy, sweet, floral, and tart all at once.
So, pie or galette? If you ask me, galette.
The key to any good galette is the crust and the filling.
I found that an all-butter crust makes the flakiest galettes. After countless trials, I’ve finally settled on the recipe and process from Tartine. It follows the basic ratio of 3-2-1, flour to butter to water by weight. Here, the butter and flour are cut together until they form a shaggy mess, which then gets folded over itself, not unlike puff pastry. It’s consistently excellent and always bakes into crispy, flaky layers that can withstand juicy filling like berries and peaches.
For perfectly golden, crispy crust, I use a two-stage bake. I start at a high temperature to set the crust, then turn the heat down to set the filling. No soggy bottoms.
Finally, when it comes to fruit, riper is better. During baking, the fruit will roast, and the juices will concentrate — all good stuff.
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Roasted Citrus & Green Tea Galette
Flaky Tart Dough
- 1 cup + 5 tbsp [300 g] unsalted butter, very cold
- 2/3 cup [155 g or 5.5 oz] Japanese jasmine green tea, very cold
- 1 tsp [5 ml] kosher salt
- 3 cups + 2 tbsp [455 g] all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp [5 g] Japanese jasmine green tea leaves, finely chopped
- A mixture of about 12-14 similarly sized citrus fruit, such as Cara Cara, blood oranges, grapefruit, or tangerines
- 6 Tbsp demerara sugar, plus more for the rim
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp [30 ml] heavy cream
- Pomegranate seeds
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream
To make the dough, cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and put them in the freezer. Measure out the chilled tea, dissolve the salt into it, and put it in the freezer as well. Chill the butter and tea for about 10 minutes.
Measure out all the flour onto your work surface and spread into a rectangle, about 1/3 inch deep. Scatter the butter cubes and tea leaves over the flour. Toss a little flour over the butter so that your rolling pin won’t stick and then begin rolling. When the butter starts flattening out into long, thin pieces, use a bench scraper to scoop up the sides of the rectangle so that it is again the size you started with. Repeat the rolling and scraping 3 or 4 times.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour all of the tea into the well. Using the bench scraper, scoop the sides of the dough onto the center, cutting (mixing in with the bench scraper) the tea into the dough. Keep scraping and cutting until the dough is a shaggy mess, and then shape the dough into a rectangle about 8 by 10 inches. Lightly dust the top with flour. Roll out the rectangle until it is half again as large and then scrape the top, bottom, and sides together again to the original size and reroll. Repeat 3 of 4 times until you have a smooth, cohesive dough. You should now have a rectangle measuring about 8 by 10 inches. Transfer the dough to a large baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill well, about 1 hour.
While the dough is chilling, prepare the fruit. Start by trimming off the very top and bottom of the fruit with a sharp knife. Next, set the fruit on one end. Carefully cut the skin from the flesh by starting at the top and following the curves down. Then, carefully cut out each wedge of fruit by inserting the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane on both sides.
When you are ready to roll out the dough, divide it into 2 equal portions. To roll a circle from what is roughly a square, start out with the dough positioned as a diamond in front of you, with the handles of your rolling pin at 2 points of the square. Roll from the center toward each end, only flattening the center, not the 2 points; leave those 2 points thick. Now turn the dough so that the flattened-out corners are facing towards you. Again, roll from the center towards the other 2 points keeping the ends thick. Now you should have a square with little humps between the pointy corners. Roll out the ticker areas and you will begin to see a circle forming. Keep rolling until the dough is a little more than 1/8-inch thick (each circle should be about 12-inches in diameter). Fold the large circles into quarters, transfer to a baking sheet, and unfold. Chill until firm, about 10 minutes.
Arrange half the citrus in a spiral pattern in the center of each dough, leaving uncovered a border of 2-inches on all sides. Sprinkle each galette about 3 Tbsp demerara sugar. Fold in the sides of the circles to partially cover the fruit. Chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
While the galettes are chilling, make the egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and cream. When the oven is ready, remove the galettes from the freezer, brush the egg wash over the pastry edges, and then sprinkle with extra demerara sugar. Bake the galettes for 20 minutes and then lower the oven to 350°F and bake until the crust has visibly puffed and baked to dark brown and the juice from the fruit is bubbling inside, about 45 minutes more. Rotate the baking sheets at the midway point to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and serve hot or at room temperature topped with pomegranate seeds and lightly sweetened whipped cream.