I haven’t been to France yet, and I have to admit I’m a little afraid to go. My husband and I have visited Spain, Germany, and Italy, so we’re making some pretty good headway in Europe. Of course, I always feel a bit out of place when I travel, as a fat American tourist, but I haven’t ever felt judged because of my weight or nationality. But part of me feels like visiting France would be like voluntarily going back to fourth grade and getting bullied on the bus. And I’m not dying to relive that experience.
I’m sure there are tons of wonderful, polite French people in addition to rude ones, just as there are polite and rude Americans. (How many times have I heard servers and retail workers complain about people speaking a language other than English? How dare they?!) But I have read countless articles and forums about how being fat in France is possibly The Worst Thing Ever. It doesn’t exactly seem like the French are at the forefront of the size acceptance movement.
Which is crazy to me considering how AMAZING the French contributions to dessert are. I would love to know the secret of eating pain au chocolat for breakfast and maintaining a slender figure, but I don’t think that’s in the cards for me. (No, this is not an invitation to tell me why the French diet is superior or different or blah blah blah). Instead, I will indulge in French pastries while residing in my decidedly un-French physique.
There is one French style bakery in my neighborhood and it’s quite possibly my favorite place in the city. They have amazing macarons, which is what they’re known for around these parts, but their other offerings make me go, “OMG,” every time I’m in there. If I lived in France and there were multiple bakeries like that one to visit, I might put on 50 pounds in the course of a month just trying them all out. The bakery near me has croissants, palmiers, madeleines, cannelés, absurdly gorgeous tarts and bombes and tortes… and a galette. It’s not ostentatious, but it’s one of my favorite things on the menu.
It’s no secret that I love pies and tarts more than any other dessert, but sometimes making traditional versions requires some effort. There’s a lot of pressure to get the mountains of fruity filling to set up. To crimp the edges just so, so that the finished product doesn’t look sloppy. And then there’s that whole business of having to use a special pan.
A galette, on the other hand, requires pretty much none of that. A galette is like, “I think I’ll wear sweatpants today. Being confined sounds like a drag.” It’s hard to believe the same French chefs who make elaborately designed pastries with delicate curves of chocolate and dots of glaze on top also deign to make something as simple and rustic as a galette. But everyone needs to let out the drawstrings now and then.
I guess from now on I’ll think of myself and my body as the galette of the dessert world. A little rough around the edges and not so delicate. But still pretty darn lovable.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dark rye flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup (115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 tablespoons ice cold water
- 3 cups (370 grams) fresh raspberries
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- Crème fraîche (optional)
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine both flours, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and sea salt and pulse to combine. Distribute butter cubes over the top of the dry ingredients and pulse in the food processor until butter chunks are the size of peas. Drizzle cold water over the top of the mixture, and pulse until it just starts to come together. Dump out on a piece of plastic wrap, quickly press into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- While dough is chilling, make the filling. Combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Gently toss with rubber spatula to coat the raspberries.
- Place oven rack in the center of the oven. If you have one, put a pizza stone on a lower rack. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle. Transfer dough circle to the baking sheet. Pour raspberry filling into the center of the dough circle and spread it out evenly, leaving about 1½ inches of dough as a border. Fold over the edges of the dough toward the center. It doesn't need to be perfect! The whole point of a galette is to look "rustic."
- In a small bowl, beat an egg with a pinch of kosher salt. Brush onto the edges of the dough. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the galette on it onto a wire rack, then gently slide the parchment paper out from underneath the galette so it is resting directly on the wire rack. Allow to cool completely. Slice and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.