The weather has finally been improving, and it's getting warmer (if only slightly), and the sun has been out (I'll take two days of sunshine a week!). Things are looking brighter, and I can't wait for spring to really arrive with full force. For now though, these mild improvements are a very welcome change. Since this past weekend was the first that kinda sorta resembled spring (aside from the crazy howling wind on Saturday), there was nothing better than embracing a new set of seasonal flavors. In my mind, nothing says "spring is here!" quite like the arrival of fresh strawberries. Fresh, colorful, and beautiful, strawberries are one of my all-time favorite fruits. There's nothing more disappointing than eating fresh strawberries in winter, simply because they don't taste like anything. So when an abundance of strawberries arrive at the grocery store and farmer's market, and they really taste the way they're supposed to...it's just a wonderful thing.
To celebrate the arrival of springtime strawberries, I figured a galette would be the best way to go. I could use a ton of strawberries all at once without masking their flavor in a cake batter or in a cookie, or underneath a layer of frosting or a drizzle of a sweet glaze. A rich buttery crust was all I needed to pair with my berries. For this particular crust, I decided to give the Easy Pie Dough on Serious Eats a shot. They post so many informative articles over there, and since I can't leave well enough alone, I just had to try a new crust method and recipe. Pulling out my food processor to make pie dough felt very strange, since I've been making crust by hand for so long now, but I'll admit that this method felt more foolproof than any other I've tried. The recipe breaks down the process by number of pulses, so you're pretty much guaranteed to get a crust that is incredibly flaky and delicious.
Once the dough was rolled out and a mound of slightly sweetened strawberries was piled on in the center, I folded the edges in towards the center and couldn't help but ask myself why I don't make galettes more often. They're just as delicious as any pie, but so much less maintenance and fuss. They're rustic and beautiful, and in a galette, the fruit really takes center stage. Sure, the crust was golden brown and flaky (I'll definitely be using this method again), but it was strawberries that made me go for a second slice. I only used a tiny bit of sugar to help them release their juices and a vanilla bean to add a hint of fragrance—they didn't need anything beyond that. I could have eaten a third slice, but my conscience let me know that it probably wasn't in my best interest to do so. I think this galette turned out so lovely, that galettes in general are a treat I'll be turning to again and again this spring and summer—I can't wait to make one with fresh peaches come summer! For now though, lots of fresh strawberries, a buttery crust, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream are all I need for a truly delicious springtime dessert.
recipe adapted from Serious Eats
For the Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and diced
6 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
4 cups hulled, quartered strawberries
2 ounces sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar, for sprinkling
To prepare the crust, add about 2/3 of the flour with the sugar and salt into a food processor. Pulse twice to incorporate. Scatter the butter chunks evenly over the surface of the flour. Pulse until no dry flour remains and the dough begins to come together in clumps, about 25 short pulses. Sprinkle in the remaining flour and pulse another 5 times, just until the dough is barely broken up. Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture and with a rubber spatula, fold and press the dough together until it comes into a ball. Divide the dough in half, shape each into a flat disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours before using.
When the dough is well-chilled, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla bean to combine. Add in the strawberries, and toss to coat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the disks of dough into an even circle that's 1/8-inch thick. Using the rolling pin as an aid, transfer the circle of dough to a baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Pour the strawberries into the center of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough in towards the center and pleat gently. A rustic look works for this! Refrigerate the galette for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Brush the galette with the egg wash and sprinkle the coarse sugar on top. Bake the galette for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F, and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow the galette to cool completely before serving. Enjoy!
Makes 1 galette