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  • Photo: Maria Lichty
  • If you're feeling anything like I am, then you're ready for spring with its mild-weathered days and beautiful blossoms perfuming the air. In fact, at the first sign of a sunshiny day this month, my husband and I took our son out for a stroll through downtown. We must have passed what felt like hundreds of bakeries and pastry shops…at least it felt like we did. It might have had something to do with my sweet tooth. (Actually I have a whole mouthful of sweet teeth!)

    All of the baked goods were eying me through the windows but nothing seemed to sound good enough to satisfy my sugary craving. I knew once I got home I had to bake something. I needed something flaky, easy to make, that wouldn't leave me feeling weighed down or guilty. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a galette!

    Galette sounds so sophisticated and complicated. But don't be intimidated; it's just a fancy word for an easy, flat, round, flaky pastry. It's a no fuss dessert that you can make with minimal effort. If you can operate a food processor and cut up some fruit then you already have this dessert mastered!
  • Photo: Maria Lichty
  • We make galettes all the time, and I've experimented with both sweet and savory fillings. This time I wanted sweet, but I couldn't choose between pears and strawberries. So I opted for both. Boy am I sure glad I did! They were the perfect pairing and a beautiful sight to see together nestled so comfortably in the dough.

    This dessert is not only delicious but a time saver as well. You can actually pre-make the dough and store it in your refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to assemble. I can always count on my husband to make perfect galette dough. He's kind of a galette expert of sorts—at least he is in our house. And this galette dough has something a little unexpected and wonderful hidden inside: cornmeal! The cornmeal adds a great and subtle crunch along with the turbinado sugar that I sprinkle on top right before it goes into the oven.

    Once you roll out your dough, simply load in the fruit and fold up the sides around the strawberries and pears. It's as simple as that. The bonus is that galettes are rustic so it doesn't have to look perfect.
    When I pulled this strawberry and pear galette out of the oven I thought I saw the sky part and angels sing. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Believe me, once you have your first bite, you won't mind cutting into this beauty for seconds, thirds, or even fourths!
  • Photo: Maria Lichty

    Pear and Strawberry Galette

    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
    1/3 cup buttermilk
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    1 cup sliced strawberries, sliced
    1 Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
    1 egg, beaten
    2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
    To make the dough, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a processor; pulse 2 to 3 times. Add butter and pulse 4 to 5 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the processor running, slowly pour the buttermilk through the chute, processing until the dough forms a ball. Remove the dough ball and adhere any remaining pieces of dough to it, then wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before rolling out.

    Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

    To make the filling, combine the strawberries, granulated sugar, corn starch, and lemon zest and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. Set aside.

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14- to 15-inch wide circle. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Arrange sliced pears and strawberries in your desired pattern on the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the fruit, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.

    Lightly brush the edge of the dough with the egg and sprinkle crust with turbinado sugar.

    Bake the galette for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the pears are tender and the crust is golden brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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