I have a confession. Those closest to me already know this shocking and disturbing secret, and it has caused much pain and agony among my family and loved ones. It’s something I am not proud of, but regardless, it is the honest truth. Are you ready? This might change your entire opinion of me all together.
I hate pie.
Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest. Yes, I hate pie. And I don’t mean I dislike pie, or I prefer other desserts and pastries to pie. I mean I. HATE. PIE. I hate everything about it: the flavors, the cooked fruit, the textures. If I were kidnapped by terrorists and my life depended on eating a slice of apple pie, I would have to wish everyone a fond farewell. Because there is NO WAY I am eating that slice of live-saving mortality pie.
That being said, I love to make pies. I love rolling out the crust, I love peeling and cutting the fruit, I love playing with the edging and the top: lattice, open-faced, fully covered with some sort of cutesy cutout. Making pie is a whole afternoon of fun for me. Eating pie, ugh.
When creating this blog, I knew I wanted to try different pie recipes, despite my total distaste for eating them. Which can be hard sometimes: how can I recommend a recipe for something that I would never eat myself? I decided that a big part of this blog for me is making foods that I know my family loves, and my family loves pie. So that’s where we are. Makin’ pies, not eating them.
This weekend, I made a galette for my parents and Shawn. Galettes (pronounced guh-lets) are a rustic, flat French pastry. The proper pronunciation was a bit of a debate that morning; I finally had to go to the Webster Dictionary. Using a basic pie crust, roll it out into a circle about 1/2” thick, fill the center with the filling of your choice (usually a fruit or veggies for a savory pastry), and then fold the ends over about two inches in to the center.
After seeing several recipes for galettes, I decided to try my hand at it. I wanted to do something seasonal, something not too sweet, so that I could work as a breakfast pastry as well as a dessert. So I decided to do a cranberry sauce with pear slices on top.
The cranberry sauce was very flavorful: orange, cinnamon and ginger, with red wine to add richness and body. It’s fairly tart on its own, but baking down in the oven with the pears does sweeten it up. The finished product is a not too sweet, not too tart.
I used Bartlett pears. They’re fairly firm, so they hold their shape nicely while baking. I sliced them thin and laid them in concentric circles over the cranberry sauce. I sprinkled a little ginger sugar over them before folding the ends of the pastry dough in; just a 1:3 ratio of ground ginger and sugar. A few tabs of butter on top of the pears finish off the tart for baking.
So, when starting this blog, one of the things I wanted to make sure to do was to record my mistakes as well as my successes. So, I have to tell you about the brain-dead mistake I made with this galette. After rolling out the dough, I spread the cranberry sauce and began laying out the pears. I sprinkled on the sugar, laid out the butter and folded in the sides. It was beautiful. Then I realized: I did it all on the counter, not on the baking sheet. I had no way of transporting it into the oven. Crap. Have you ever tried to move a raw dough pastry with a heavy fruit filling? It doesn’t work so good. I eventually got it onto the baking sheet and into the oven. The pears wound up a little askew, and the sides stretched so that there was a little leaking of the cranberry sauce out the side while it baked, but mostly it held its shape. But, definitely lesson learned: ROLL OUT THE DOUGH ONTO THE BAKING SHEET BEFORE SPENDING 10 MINUTES DOING PRETTY PEAR CIRCLES. But, that’s why I have this blog. I want to document the learning process as much as the finished product. I am untrained, still learning a lot of things, so I feel like to present myself as getting it perfect every time wouldn’t really be truthful. I make mistakes, I mess up measurements, I burn the sugar, I forget to roll out the dough onto a baking sheet. But, with every recipe, with every cake, every soup, every bread, I am learning. And hopefully, you will join me on that learning process. Just remember to learn from my mistakes when you try your hand at these recipes. Roll out the dough on the baking sheet. You’ll save yourself a lot of forehead smacking and four-letter words. THG
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and sorted
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup red wine (port would also work)
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1 3-4 inch cinnamon stick
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. water
3-4 medium Bartlett pears, peeled and sliced 1/8” thickness
1/4 cup ginger sugar
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For pastry dough:
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add cold butter. Working quickly, combine flour and butter and break up into pea-sized pieces. Add ice water 1 Tbsp. at a time until dough begins to form; do not overwater. Dump dough onto a floured surface. Knead 4-5 times and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and orange zest. Mix until sugar has melted. Add orange juice, red wine and liqueur; mix. Add cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, simmer over low heat until cranberries are broken down and tender. In a small bowl, combine flour and water into a slurry. Add to cranberry mixture and mix well until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and dump onto lightly floured surface. Keep a glass of ice water handy for dipping fingers in. Working quickly, roll out the dough to 1/2” thickness. Place onto an ungreased baking sheet. In the middle of the dough, spread the cranberry sauce, leaving a 2” border from edge of dough. Lay pear slices on top of cranberry sauce in concentric circles until covering whole sauce surface. Sprinkle with ginger sugar and butter pieces. Fold edges of dough over to cover filling 1 1/2-2 inches. Bake with rack in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling bubbling. Slice and serve warm with extra cranberry sauce on top.
Serves 8-10 slices