The entire week, I was craving a slice of delicious strawberry galette. Not a pie, not a tart, just a rustic galette. A simple buttery crust, filled with the first strawberries of the season. Simple, honest and oh so delicious.
As a lover of all rustic dishes and of yesteryear, I have always loved galettes. I love that they don’t need to be fancy, they don’t really need to look pretty… and they let the fruits shine in all their glory. They are also very easy, and to me, always taste like home.
As a child in France, I grew up eating the “gariguette” strawberries from Plougastel. A tiny, ruby-red, delectable variety of strawberry, that only flourishes in the marine climate of this region of the world. Still today, whenever I go back to my hometown, I yearn for the Sunday morning market where I will see all these little beauties gracing all the fruit stands.
As I got older and my love for strawberries only grew fonder, I also started to enjoy them, and bake them with different flavors: dark chocolate, salted caramel, pistachios… and lately, basil. This combination is so vibrant, and adds a whole new layer of flavors to a baked good. So this weekend, I finally found some time to bake a simple, delicious, rustic Strawberry Basil Galette.
When making a galette, I always like to sprinkle the bottom with almond meal first (or oatmeal flakes work very nice as well). Once baked under the fruits, the almond taste will be subtly there. But most importantly, this almond meal base absorbs the juice released from the fruits when cooking, and this really helps to keep your crust nice and crisp, instead of soggy. Even moreso than when making a standard pie, having a solid crust is key for a good galette- since it is a self-holding structure.
Because I wanted the basil taste to be subtle as well, it was an easy solution to incorporate a chiffonade into the almond meal base (chiffonade is finely sliced basil). The almond meal and basil blend together beautifully while cooking, and create a unique set of flavors, with light nutty notes and fresh, aromatic hints. And if you really love basil, add a few fresh leaves on top of the cooked galette before serving, just like I did it.
During the baking process, some juice might still escape from the crust here and there … don’t worry, it’s all part of the game. And because this is a sable crust, the galette will solidify while it cools down a bit. So even if your galette looks very rustic (like it should be!), you will probably have no problem cutting nice slices without making (too much of) a mess.
Simple, honest and oh so delicious. I hope you enjoy this Rustic Strawberry Basil Galette as much as I do. Bon appétit!
Strawberry Basil GalettePrint This
For the pastry crust
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces (does not have to be ice cold)
¼ cup cool water
2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
For the almond base
½ almond meal
A handful (7-8 branches) of fresh basil, chiffonade
For the filling
4 cups fresh strawberries, cut into large slices. (about 1 ½ pounds)
¼ cup white sugar
Optional – a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg.
For the pastry crust
Combine the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter, electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture.
Add the butter and cut in until rough and crumbly, but small pieces of butter are still visible. Stir the water and vinegar (or lemon juice, if using) together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into 2 disks, wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour. (The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored chilled, or can be frozen for up to 3 months, thawing in the fridge before rolling.)
For the almond base
In a small mixing bowl, combine the almond meal and the fresh basil chiffonade. With the tips of your fingers, gently rub the almond meal and basil together, so the almond absorbs the moisture from the basil and turns slightly moist and green. Set aside.
For the filling and the galette
When your dough is well chilled, pre-heat your oven to 350 °F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and the vanilla extract. Place the strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top, and toss gently.
Lay a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface and dust the parchment with flour. Place the dough on the floured parchment and roll it out into a circle about 11 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.
Lift the parchment paper, and transfer the pastry with the parchment to a large baking tray.
Toss the strawberry filling onto the pastry and arrange it in a single layer, in a circle, leaving 1 ½ to 2 inches rim of pastry all around. If your strawberries are extra juicy, leave the extra juice in the bowl, so the filling do not overflow too much when baking.
Fold the outer edges of the pastry over the strawberries, creating overlapping folds as you work around the perimeter. It doesn’t need to be perfect, we’re aiming for a rustic looking galette here.
Lightly sprinkle the outer edges of the crust with turbinado sugar, if desired.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let the galette cool on the baking sheet. It will need to cool off and firm up a bit, before you can transfer it onto a plate or serving tray. Add a few fresh basil leaves on top before serving if desired.