A ritual included in my annual sojourn to my favorite blueberry U-pick farm — it’s the glorious Rush River Produce, in Maiden Rock, Wis. — is the mental list I formulate as I methodically separate berries from their bushes.
Pancakes. Muffins. Coffee cakes. Parfaits. Crisps. Smoothies. Cobblers. Pops.
Basically, it’s all the ways that I could be putting those sweet-tart berries to use. That is, when I’m not tossing them over ice cream, or just simply scarfing them by the handful, like popcorn.
But recently at the farm, as I slowly but surely filled a cardboard box with delicate, juicy, blush-covered blueberries, the word that kept popping into my brain was “galette.”
That’s because a few years ago we asked Laurie Lin, baker/co-owner of Cocoa & Fig, to create a recipe that took full advantage of that happy intersection between rhubarb and strawberry seasons. She obliged with this roundish tart.
Maybe it would work with blueberries? Turns out Lin was way ahead of me.
“It’s super-versatile,” she said. “Along with the rhubarb-strawberry, we’ve done mixed berry, and we make a peach-blackberry version.”
In the fall, she turns to apples, making a slight modification in the recipe by sautéing the apples in butter — just to soften them a bit — then seasoning them with cinnamon.
“And because we always have streusel lying around, I sprinkle the apples with a bit of streusel,” she said. “It’s like an apple crisp in a galette form, and it’s really delicious.”
(For streusel, Lin combines 1/2 cup each of flour, sugar, brown sugar and rolled oats, then adds small amounts of cinnamon, salt and freshly grated nutmeg. “It’s my grandmother’s recipe,” she said.)
Back to blueberries.
What I most appreciate about Lin’s always-beautiful galette — other than its ability to generate a rave from our dinner guests, even before they taste it — is how easy it is to prepare.
True-confessions time: The prospect of making and rolling out a pie crust leaves me paralyzed with fear. I never get it right. Ever. And trust me, I’ve tried. But the dough for this galette? Because its forgiving, rough-hewed appearance is not about perfection, it’s perfect.
Lin wasn’t kidding when she invoked “super-versatile.” The filling in the original recipe calls for nearly even amounts of both chopped rhubarb and sliced strawberries, the sum of which totals about 3 cups. That’s the amount I measured out in blueberries.
After I juiced half a lemon, it occurred to me that the fruit’s zest might elevate the berries’ taste-of-summer essence. Turns out, my instincts were in sync with Lin’s.
“Sometimes we’ll do lemon zest or orange zest,” she said. “I feel like it brightens things up a bit, especially with berries.”
Thanks to Lin, our freezer’s treasured stash of blueberries (frozen in a single layer in a pan, then stored in plastic bags) now has a companion: a few made-ahead disks of that cornmeal-enriched dough. (If using frozen berries, there’s no need to thaw before baking this recipe.) Blueberry season has never looked — or tasted — better.
I can’t wait to try it with raspberries.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.
- For dough:
- 1 cup flour, plus extra for rolling dough
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar, plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
- 3 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Freshly grated zest from 1 lemon
- 1 egg, beaten
To prepare dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut cold butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs (alternately, combine ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse). Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture just comes together.
Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and flatten into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day (dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw in refrigerator before rolling).
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and let it warm up slightly. On a lightly floured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough out to a 12-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to add filling.
To prepare filling: In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest, and carefully toss to coat.
To assemble galette: Arrange blueberry mixture on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Fold border over the filling’s outer edge, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds. Brush edges of dough with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes, turning baking sheet occasionally to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Recipe from: Laurie Lin of Cocoa & Fig