As summer comes to a close, popular summer fruits, like berries, make way for fall favorites like apples and pears. So, what can you do with the last of the berry rush to help the summer season linger just a bit longer? Pies are a good choice but what about, cobblers, crisps and crumbles, or pavlova – a favorite of Escoffier baking and pastry students? You can toss them into pancake and waffle batters, blend them into popsicles, sorbet, or gelato, and incorporate them into quickbreads and muffins. But one of Escoffier’s Culinary Education Specialist Frank Vollkommer’s favorite recipes is a berry galette. He recently discovered a treasure of fresh, wild blackberries that led him to create this beautiful dessert, perfect for sharing the last of the summer bounty.
A galette is a type of free-form pastry, rustic in appearance, originating in France and its history can be traced back to medieval times. Galettes were created as simple, unleavened, flat cakes made from a mixture of flour and water and cooked on hot stones or in the ashes of a fire. Today our baking methods are a bit more convenient, but the idea behind this timeless and often-overlooked dessert takes the cake! Take a look at Chef Frank’s recipe below.
by CMPC Frank Vollkommer, Escoffier Culinary Education Specialist
Blackberry Filling Ingredients
- 2 pints Fresh blackberries
- 60 g Granulated sugar
- 1 ea Vanilla bean, split
- 10 g Cornstarch
- 30 g Cold Water
- 30 g Red wine or Ruby port (optional)
- Freeze the pint of berries that you intend to use for the filling; this helps them break down during the cooking process.
- Add the frozen pint of the blackberries, sugar, vanilla bean, and wine (if desired) to a small saucepan and gently bring to a boil while breaking up the berries. Once the mixture has boiled for 1-2 minutes, blend smooth with an immersion blender.
- Strain approximately ¾ of the puree to remove most of the blackberry seeds and return to the saucepan.
- Make a slurry with the cornstarch and cold water and add it to the blackberry puree.
- Bring the puree back to boil to activate the starch and thicken. Note: the puree will be quite thick.
- Cool the filling in the refrigerator with occasional stirring to help it set with a smooth consistency. Once fully cooled, place the filling into a large disposable piping bag.
Blitz Puff Pastry Ingredients
- 300 g Bread flour
- 6 g Salt
- 150 g Butter, cold
- 300 g Heavy cream
- Cut the butter into small, thin slices and keep cold in the refrigerator.
- Pour the flour out onto a clean work surface.
- Place the cold butter on top of the flour and toss lightly to coat in the flour.
- Roll the butter into flattened pieces using the flour to prevent it from sticking to the pin and the work surface. Tip: use a plastic bowl scraper to help remove the mixture from the pin and table surface.
- Place the flour and butter mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the cold heavy cream and salt all at once. Using your hands or a plastic bowl scraper, toss the mixture to evenly distribute the cream and create a shaggy dough.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and press the edges together to form a rectangle. Note: the butter should still be visible and not fully incorporated.
- Roll the dough out to approximately 8”x 14” and give a single 3-fold as for laminated doughs. Tip: brush off any excess flour before folding into thirds.
- Immediately re-flour the table as needed and repeat the process; this time rolling the dough in the opposite direction to develop it evenly. Cover and chill the blitz puff dough for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and repeat the rolling and folding two more times for a total of 4 3-folds. Place the dough back into the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to rest.
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle to approximately ¼” or 5mm. Tip: it is easier to roll the dough in two portions. Each rolled rectangle should be large enough to cut 2-6” circles. Place the circles into the refrigerator to keep cold while preparing the final assembly.
Assembly and Baking
- Prepare an egg wash with one egg yolk, one whole egg, and a generous pinch of salt.
- Apply a lightly pressed reference mark approximately 1” from the edge of each blitz puff pastry circle. This mark identifies where the blackberry filling and crimped edges meet.
- Pipe the blackberry filling inside the reference mark at approximately ¼” or 5mm thickness.
- Use the remaining whole blackberries to cover the galette by lightly pressing them into the filling.
- Apply a small amount of egg wash to the pastry dough, avoiding the cut edges.
- Working quickly, fold and flute the dough edges towards the center in a pattern that appeals to you.
- Important: Chill the galettes before baking to ensure the fluting shape remains during baking.
- Optional: The galettes may be baked in a lightly buttered metal ring or small cake pan to form a more distinctive edge that shows off the dough lamination nicely.
- Bake at 400? for approximately 20-24 minutes or until the galettes are a deep golden brown. The filling and berries may need to be pressed down slightly during baking as the pastry expands.
- Optionally, glaze the galettes during the last 5 minutes of baking using a 2:1 simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) and return to the oven. I like to add a few blackberries and vanilla to my syrup for flavor and color.
Enjoy your beautiful Blackberry Galettes with friends, family, and a nice scoop of ice cream.
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