Monday, January 21, 2013

Strawberry Galette

I have wanted to do a galette for probably at least two years...just never got around to it. I specifically wanted to do a peach galette which is what I have mostly seen in food portraits of galette's. Although various types of fruit can be substituted, it never occurred to me to use strawberries! And it's never been in the suggested list of fruits for galette's. Strawberries don't strike me as the kind of fruit I would put into a recipe and pop in the oven unless it was a strawberry rhubarb pie.

However, we had strawberries, that as most people know, head very quickly to their unusable state and I decided that I have had enough of throwing strawberries out, and would make something of them. It was a mission! I searched online recipes, found some great frozen desserts but guess what? There is literally no room to squeeze one more thing in the freezer. I did see someone had made a looked good, however, how would the strawberries really fair (taste) baked in a galette? I had some concerns.

Getting a good dough recipe was no problem as there was a galette recipe in a CIA book that I have been looking at for some time. Galette recipes that I have seen just have the fruit rolled around in spices and then piled in the middle, roll up the dough for the crust and done. Aside from dusting with sugar, strawberries don't really need spicing up (in my opinion)...but it just wasn't enough or quite right. I thought, what would taste good to me? Hmmm...thinking. Got it! Cream Cheese! Oh yea... a bit of strawberries with a crunchy sweet crust, with dollops of sweet and tangy warm cream cheese. now I had my preferred ingredients, now to focus (or not so much) on execution.

I will be honest and say I pretty much just whipped this out without really taking time to focus on perfecting things or thinking them through. I had the concept and then the rest is history and I made it up as I went along...and... it totally worked out!

I will break down my experimentation in the recipe and instruction.  The end result was awesome ( I can't think of a better word, it really was awesome). I was waiting to get some pictures taken so I could finally taste it. Looking at those golden mounds of  baked cream cheese sitting like pillow-y goodness on top of the strawberries through the camera lens was so tempting it made me borderline miserable to have to wait. It was worth it though. The flavors and textures together were so scrumptious, it was a perfect breakfast treat and I was in heaven.
In usual fashion, the rest of it went to work with my roommate Andy, who safely deposited it in the office kitchen and it was gone within the hour, saving us from the reckless task of eating with wild abandon and consuming unmitigated calories. To reflect on the bumper sticker my Mom and I saw traveling to Palm Springs; "Love people. Cook them tasty food"...damn right! Although, I learned later that evening that Andy had gone back to the office kitchen for a # 2  piece (insert pouty face). It's okay, I was a little bummed, but I am little person and can't afford the extra calories, but good for him. And think of how many people had a wonderful surprise when they went for coffee or tea. The smiles are worth sharing any day of the week.


Galette Pie Dough
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, lard, or vegetable shortening, diced ( or a combination of butter and shortening equal to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup ice water, or as needed

Cream Cheese
1, 8-oz package of cream cheese, at room temp or close to
1 cup of confectioner's sugar

2-3 cups strawberries, rinsed, tops cut off, and sliced
1 cup ground lady fingers, or vanilla wafers
1 tablespoon granulated sugar for sprinkling on strawberries
2 tablespoons powdered sugar for final dusting

Egg Wash
Whole egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
2-3 tablespoons coarse sugar


Galette Pie Dough
Sift together the flour and salt with a fork to blend. Cut the fat into the flour using a food processor, pastry blender, or 2 knives. (For pies to be filled with fruit or another non-liquid filling, leave some
bits of fat in larger pieces, about the size of a small pea, for a crisp and flaky texture in the baked crust.)

Drizzle a few tablespoons of the ice water over the surface of the flour mixture and quickly rub the water into the flour. Continue to add the water, a tablespoon or so at a time, just until it holds together when you press a handful of it into a ball. The dough should be evenly moist, not wet, and shaggy or rough in appearance.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gather and press the dough into a ball. Pat into an even disk, wrap well, and let chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Cream Cheese Filling
While the dough is chilling, take the cream cheese ( at room temp) and put into a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add one cup of confectioner's sugar and beat until creamy and well blended. Set aside.

Take vanilla wafers or lady fingers and in a food processor pulse until the cookies are a fine ground powder. It's okay if the mixture is a little coarse, but you don't want chunks of cookie in it. Put ground powder into a bowl (or a measuring cup with pour spout) and set aside.

Take rinse and topped strawberries and slice long ways into medium-thick slices. If the are too thin, they will burn easily (if on top) during the baking process. Set aside.

Egg wash
Take egg and milk and lightly beat. set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Roll the pie dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10-inch round.

Transfer the dough round to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with the cookie crumbs leaving a 2-inch border free of crumbs. Sprinkle to your liking (you can add extra as the crumbs will absorb the strawberry juice during baking), leaving a couple tablespoons reserve for sprinkling on top later.

Add a few tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture in dollops around the circumference of the crumbs, making sure to keep them on the crumbs and not in the 2 inch border.  You should have a circle of crumbs, with a circle of cream cheese dollops ontop of the crumbs.

Now, start to pile on your strawberries in the middle. You can choose to just lay them on in handfulls or neatly organize them, it doesn't matter. As you are layering the strawberries, however, add a few more dollops of cream cheese in between the layers. Once all the strawberries are layered on, place 3-4 more dollops of cream cheese on top, leaving the 2-inch border unfilled and clear of any ingredients. You will have leftover cream cheese, set aside/refrigerate for use as a spread later.

Brush a 1 inch perimeter of the dough round lightly with egg wash. Fold the dough edges in toward the center, over the fruit, pinching and folding it to seal the edge and create a pleated border.

Brush the pleated edge of the pastry lightly but thoroughly with egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.

Take some of the excess ground cookie mixture and sprinkle generously on top of the strawberries and cream cheese (granulated sugar optional).

Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the strawberries hot and juicy. The book recommends 25 minutes but it took me 40+ minutes of cooking time. I suggest you start at 25 and assess it from there. After 25 minutes, I checked back in 15 minute increments until finished. You can use your crust as an indicator of doneness. When your crust is beautifully golden with touches of brown all the way around, it is done. It would be a great idea to rotate your sheet halfway through for an even cooking.

Remove the tart from the oven and cool on the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes before slicing. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.. Use left over cream cheese as a wonderful spread for those wanting to add more to each bite :)


  • Not everything is exact here because as I said, I made it up as I went along and results may vary. However, this is a recipe that has flexibility so feel free to experiment. The dough is exact and my experimentation was with the berries and cream cheese.
  • The crust was great! It was crusty and crunchy on the outside and along the bottom. The interior bottom had some moisture from the strawberries but was NOT soggy.
  • You can substitute apples, sour cherries, apricots, peaches, or pears.
  • If you are sugar sensitive you can add more or less. I am not sensitive, so additionally, I sprinkled the strawberries with granulated sugar and the cookie crumbs before popping in the oven...and finished once baked and cooled, with powdered sugar. This was not too sweet, the baking process can change the flavor of the berries to have a little tartness, combine the tangy and sweet cream cheese, with the granulated sugar and crust and it is well balanced.
  • I use the middle rack for cooking, moving up to the top for the last 15 minutes.
  • I used vanilla wafers in my recipe since I had it on hand.
  • Reminder that fruit really cooks down so don't fear the large pile of fruit, it will get smaller.


Source: Baking at Home, Culinary Institute of America (dough)


  1. I'm sitting here having my morning tea and this shows up in my Google Reader (not in email yet...seems like I get the emails later in the day for some reason). OMG I so wish this were my breakfast. I love the improvisation with the cream cheese and wafer crumbs. What a great idea. I bet the texture was awesome. Andy has some lucky co-workers I tell you! I will most definitely have to give this a try. I too have been wanting to a make a galette for quite a while now. Yours is gorgeous BF! :)

  2. I have never made a galette but this is beautiful and looks delicious!

    1. Why thank you so much, Amy! I was beyond pleased with how it turned out.