Galettes are not the most photogenic of foods, but they sure are delicious. A galette is a free form pie; it’s baked free of the constraints of a pie pan or the borders of a tart dish. It can be thick or thin and can be filled with whatever your heart desires, either savory or sweet! This galette most definitely falls onto the sweet end of the spectrum. It is a baked in a pastry crust enhanced with some sliced almonds, and is lined with a honey-vanilla-almond mascarpone. To cut all of the sweetness, I made a balsamic syrup to be drizzled on top!
I made this galette on a day when I was in a bit of a cooking funk. For some reason, when these funks occur, I always find it soothing to bake. It’s wonderfully methodical and often yields surprising and delicious results. This galette begins with an extremely buttery crust adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. To add an interesting texture as well as flavor to the crust, I added in some almonds. After that, I made the “cream” part of the strawberries and cream with rich mascarpone mixed with honey, vanilla, and some ground almonds. Be careful with this mascarpone. It is so delicious that if you try it you might end up devouring the whole bowl without saving any for the pie! While all of this was going on I reduced some balsamic vinegar to make balsamic syrup.
After all this work it was merely a matter of assembly! Roll out the pie crust, spread on some mascarpone, and layer the sliced strawberries on top. Crimp in the edges, bake and enjoy drizzled with some balsamic vinegar. An interesting variation would be to make this a fresh strawberry tart rather than a warm tart. Simply prebake the pie crust in a pie pan or tart pan, weighing it down with beans or a pie chain. After it cools down, spread the mascarpone mixtures, and place some sugar macerated strawberries on top!
Strawberry and Cream Galette with Balsamic Syrup
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A delicious open strawberry and cream galette with a honey almond mascarpone cream base. The sweetness is complemented by the acidity of balsamic syrup.
- For the Pie crust:
- 2 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped sliced almonds (see photo above for size)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 and 1/2 sticks butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
- 5 Tbsp. ice water
- For the Mascarpone:
- 8 oz. mascarpone
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. real vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
- For the Strawberries:
- 1 lb. strawberries, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- For the Balsamic syrup:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- For the pie crust:
- Combine the flour, almonds, and salt into a large bowl. Stir well to make sure that all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add the butter to the bowl and toss with the dry ingredients to ensure that the butter is evenly coated. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until most of the lumps of butter are about pea sized.
- Drizzle four of the five tablespoons of water over the flour/butter mixture and using a large fork or your hands mix the dough until just holds together. If it feels very loose and dry add the last tablespoon of ice water to to the dough. It should hold together in a loose ball.
- Divide the ball into 4 discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
- Remove the discs from the fridge and allow them to rest for fifteen minutes. Generously flour a work surface and a rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough. Do this by gently pushing down and applying even pressure to the dough disc, rotating the disc by a quarter of a turn every 2-3 rolls. Continue doing this and reapplying flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until the pastry is about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining discs.
- For the mascarpone:
- Place the slivered almonds in a small saucepan. Pour enough water in to just cover the almonds. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool. Grind coarsely.
- Combine mascarpone, honey, vanilla, and almonds and stir in a large bowl.
- For the strawberries:
- Toss the strawberries with the sugar and the cornstarch.
- For the balsamic syrup:
- Place the balsamic vinegar in a small sautee pan and heat it over medium low heat. Do not let it boil, keep the temperature just below a simmer. Allow to reduce until the balsamic vinegar is about half its volume. Remove from heat and cool.
- Put it all together:
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place each pie crust on a baking sheet. On each pie crust, spread about a quarter of the mascarpone mixture leaving 1 and 1/2 inch borders on all sides. On each pie arrange 1/4 of the strawberries on top, again maintaining 1 and 1/2 inch borders on all sides. Fold in the edges over the strawberries, crimping and folding as you go. If the pie crust breaks on you, don't worry! It's meant to look rustic.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until the strawberries no longer look as though they are swimming in juice and the crust has browned a little bit. Allow to cool, drizzle with balsamic syrup, and enjoy.
Pie crust recipe adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home.