You know the phrase “easy as pie”? In my house, it’s more like “easy as galette.” That’s because these free-form tarts, with their flaky, buttery crusts and fillings that feature the best of the season, are both easy to eat and easy to make. I turn to galettes when I want to make something impressive but fuss-free, which, to be honest, is most of the time.
I like to think of a galette as the carefree French cousin of American pie. The main difference lies in their construction. For a galette, the filling gets placed on a round of rolled-out dough. The edges of the dough are folded up and pleated over the edge of the filling to hold it in, and then it’s baked on a baking sheet. There’s no fitting the dough into a pie plate, no need for fancy crimping, and no blind baking. Any small tears in the galette dough can be pinched together, though if you miss one or two, it’s OK: A little oozing filling is part of a galette’s rustic charm.
Though most people who know galettes think of them as dessert, they can also feature savory fillings perfect for lunch or a light supper. For both sweet and savory fillings, I’m inspired by what looks best at the farmers’ market. This time of year, berries and stone fruits like peaches and plums make luscious fillings for sweet galettes. Filling options for savory galettes are just about endless. In summer, corn and tomatoes are natural choices and are at their peak, too. Cheese is almost always a welcome addition, and some chopped bacon or other cured meat is also tasty.
I use the same easy-to-work-with dough for both sweet and savory galettes, but I like to customize it a bit depending on the filling. For example, I replace some of the flour with cornmeal in the dough for my corn and Swiss chard galette both to reinforce the corn theme and to add an appealing crunch to the crust. A bit of black pepper in the dough for a tomato galette counters the sweetness of the tomatoes, while poppyseeds embedded in the crust for a plum galette add flavor and texture.
Despite its humble nature, a galette always elicits oohs and aahs when you offer one up for guests—and no one needs to know that making it was actually easier than pie.