Let’s make a pie today, okay? Wait! I promise I promise I promise it’s easy. You won’t even need a pie pan. It’s a galette, the French word for “I really want a pie but I don’t want to do all the pie work.” In other words, lazy pie. Actually, galette means a type of pastry that’s round, freeform and has some kind of crust, a knockoff of galet, meaning a flat, smooth pebble or rock. So it’s a rustic, lazy pie. No pie pan or top crust needed. No fancy fluting the edge of the pie crust. And it’s one of the darlings of the pastry world. Look at you, all hip with your french pastry.
We’re making Asian pear galette with lots of yummy spices. The calendar says it’s spring, but the thermometer says it’s fall. May mornings starting at 40 degrees are not my idea of springtime. Maybe that’s why these pears appealed to me. I’m feeling all fall-ish with this cold, rainy weather we keep having. But these particular pears are from Chile and they’re available February to June, so they aren’t a fall crop at all. Asian pears (also known as Chinese pears, Korean pears, apple pears, and a dozen other names) are a true pear, even though they more closely resemble apples. They’re great for eating, with the skin being just slightly thicker than that of a European pear. Here is a brief description with background info about Asian pears. Let’s get started!
Just like with any fruit pie we’re going to need…some fruit. I used 2 ½ pears for this recipe (two cups sliced). Since galettes aren’t as thick as pies, we don’t need as much filling. So not as much fruit prep. Your peeling/slicing time should be under ten minutes for this recipe. We also won’t need as much sugar, especially with these pears because they’re naturally pretty sweet. But no skimping on spices. The quantities might seem small, but they pack a punch. This pie is rustic, not wimpy.
Of course, we’ll need some crust and yes, store-bought is fine. Really. This is no-stress, fuss-free pie. Homemade, store-bought, whatever. Roll it out into your best facsimile of a circle. Perfection is not our aim. Remember: rustic. I trimmed the raggedy edges of my crust because I wanted to (a pizza wheel is easier to use for this than a knife), but it’s not necessary.
Put some parchment on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer your crust to the parchment. After you’ve mixed up your filling put it on the crust, spreading it out in a fairly even layer and leaving about 1 ½ inches all the way around the edges.
Fold the edges of your crust in towards the fruit. Use a thin spatula to help lift it if necessary. If it tears or cracks just pinch it together as best you can. That’s what the rimmed sheet is for-to catch any errant juices. Dot it with some butter, sprinkle the edges of the galette with some sugar and cinnamon if you want, and bake. See-easy peasy.
I had some extra dough scraps so I rolled them out, cut them with some leaf cookie cutters, and baked them separately, then put them on top of my galette after it was baked. Because I could. Because I’m an overachiever. Okay, because I would bake and eat all the dough scraps myself! I needed to do something with it!
I know we’re being all rustic and French and hip foodie pastry-makers here, but our galette doesn’t have to be plain. I mean, what fruit pie doesn’t benefit from a scoop of ice cream? And a drizzle of caramel sauce? Ooh la-la. This just went from rustic to tres chic.
Friends, it doesn’t galette any easier than this! Sorry. But this really is easy, and who says pies have to be all fancy-pants and take forever? The next time someone asks you to bring dessert, just say “oui.”
Spiced Asian Pear Galette
- 2 cups (about 2 ½ pears, depending on size) peeled, thinly sliced Asian pears
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. water
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- ¾ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- 1/8 tsp. cardamom
- 1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade
- 1 ½ Tbs. butter, cut up
- 2 tsp. sugar/cinnamon mixture for sprinkling on crust, if desired
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Step 2 Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
- Step 3 Put peeled, sliced pears in a medium bowl.
- Step 4 Mix vanilla and water together, sprinkle over pears, and stir around.
- Step 5 In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and cardamom. Pour over pears and mix well.
- Step 6 Roll out pie crust between waxed or parchment paper (so you can move it easily) into a circle approximately 11 inches in diameter.
- Step 7 Transfer crust to the middle of the baking sheet.
- Step 8 Pour the pear mixture out onto the center of the crust and spread it out in a thin layer, leaving an approximately 1 ½ inch border all the way around.
- Step 9 Fold in the border of dough over the fruit, using a thin spatula to help lift it, a little at a time. Pinch together any tears as best you can.
- Step 10 Dot the fruit with butter.
- Step 11 Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture over edges of crust, if desired.
- Step 12 Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
- Step 13 After 25 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 20 minutes more. Baking time can vary depending on the type of crust that is used. In general, the galette is done when the pears feel softened (not quite as soft as baked apples) when pricked with a fork and the bottom edge of the crust looks brown.
- Step 14 Cool briefly on baking sheet, then carefully slide galette on parchment paper onto cooling rack to finish cooling, if not eating immediately.
- Step 15 Top warm galette with ice cream, caramel, or whipped cream, if desired.