Nothing celebrates summer quite like a fresh pie. It’s as if we’re taking the best the season has to offer — vibrantly colored produce practically bursting with flavor and nurtured to ripeness under a hot sun — and wrapping that bounty in a tender, flaky crust. Like a gift.
It’s hard not to get excited at the sight of a great pie, whether piled high in a deep-dish plate or beautifully arranged in a shallow tart pan. Though I have to say, lately I’ve been leaving out the plates and pans entirely and opting for something a bit more casual with a galette. Because sometimes, or maybe always, simple is best.
Think of a galette as pie’s free-form cousin. Roll the dough out, pile in the filling and gently fold up the outer edges of the dough to hold it all together. Some recipes use a type of tart dough — a sweeter, more cookie-like short crust — for the pastry. Me? I stick with a flaky pie dough — rich, buttery and not so sweet — worked a little more to give it the strength to hold the filling without the support of a dish. Rustic yet beautiful, a galette is perfection simplified. Nothing fussy about it.
Almost any summer produce works in a galette: sweet berries and stone fruit, or go savory, riffing with tomatoes or zucchini, so long as the produce has the right balance of flavors and depth of personality.
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The trick is to keep it simple. Let the fruits and vegetables speak for themselves by not disguising them with a bunch of other flavors.
Stone fruits are just coming into season, and apricots are downright wonderful about now. Toss sliced apricots with a little sugar and a touch of almond extract, which brings out the flavors of stone fruit. Add some sliced almonds to give the filling a subtle crunch, as well as a handful of fresh raspberries to lend a splash of vibrant red. As the fruit cooks, the flavors will evolve and soften with a natural sweetness.
Fresh out of the oven, give the galette a little time to cool slightly and all those fragrant juices a chance to settle before digging in.
For a savory take on the galette, toss sliced ripe tomatoes with a little garlic, fresh oregano and a few diced olives to brighten the mix. Bake the galette (using the same pie crust) until golden-brown, then serve, slightly cooled, with a sprinkling of chopped basil. Top the slices with a dollop of fresh cheese, say, creamy burrata or ricotta. It makes a perfect afternoon snack, even a light meal.
Because something as good as pie shouldn’t be reserved only for dessert.