Another strawberry dessert recipe?  Yes indeedy!  Local strawberries are still abundant and affordable here in eastern MA, possibly due to an unusually cool June, so we will eat them and eat them until they disappear (Then we will eat blueberries.  And then apples. Then more apples.  Then more apples…).

I like the rustic ease of a galette for summer.  Less formal and quicker to bake than a pie, this free-form tart practically begs to be eaten outside, with a view of the countryside (or from the fire escape) and a glass of sparkling wine or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

In this recipe, cornmeal — always lovely with berries — gives the crust a textural bite that I find balances the acidity of the fruit nicely.  If you prefer, a plain pate brisee will work as well.

Strawberry galette with cornmeal crust

Yield:  Serves 6 (or maybe just 4).

For pastry:

1 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/3 c. cornmeal

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces

About 1/4 c. ice water, as needed

For filling:

2 pints strawberries, halved or quartered if large

1/4 c. sugar (granulated or light brown)

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Milk (any kind) and granulated sugar for crust (optional)

Make pastry:

Sift flour, cornmeal, and salt into a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or whatever method you like best) until mixture is sandy, allowing some pea-sized chunks of butter to remain.

Slowly drizzle in water, stirring constantly with a fork until dough starts to come together.  If you press the dough into a ball and it crumbles when you let go, add another tablespoon or two of water.

Flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight (or make it in advance and freeze it).

Assemble galette:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a large, square piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll pastry into a rough circle about 14 inches in diameter.  Transfer pastry and paper to a sheet pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Toss berries, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  Spoon into center of pastry, leaving a 2-inch border of uncovered pastry all around.  Fold up edges of pastry around berries, pleating dough every 3 inches or so.  If you like, you can brush the crust lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until pastry is lightly browned and berries are bubbling.

Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream (or frozen soy yogurt).

Make it vegan: Use a non-hydrogenated, vegetable-based shortening in place of butter in the pastry.

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