This past weekend I made my first galette, a wild blackberry galette to be exact. What prompted me to take on such an endeavor was a recent camping trip this past weekend. From breathing in the fresh crisp forest air, to being surrounded by giant trees (and wild blackberries) and hearing the gentle ocean waves crashing against the sea cliffs, it sure was nice to be immersed in mother nature’s embrace.
Okay okay…the trip was more like “GLAM-ping” (a clever term coined by my friend Carline). Yes, there were tents involved…but there was also a Safeway located less than 15 minutes away, showers with hot water onsite, portable stove, and enough food to feed a small army. Oh and of course copious amounts of s’mores. It was indeed quite the glamorous camping trip. But hey, what do you expect from someone who’s never camped before?
Nonetheless, I still had the opportunity to get rugged and get some dirt under my nails. While “hiking” along a rather tame trail towards the beautiful Mendocino beach, I discovered a few ladies doing something amongst the thorny bushes. Upon closer examination, I noticed that these thorny bushes were actually wild blackberry vines! Apparently, the locals around here conduct an annual harvest of these sweet and juicy blackberries. Immediately, I got down and dirty and joined them in the harvest. After clumsily pricking myself on the thorns way too many times, I decided to call it quits. I’d only managed to pick a few blackberries, most of which I immediately just threw into my mouth. “Tomorrow will be a new day,” I said to myself.
The next day, we all decided to go down to the river. Mr. Williams (a gentleman, formerly known as “Boo”) and I decided to do some exploring while our friends did their thing kayaking down the river. Walking along the river, we stumbled upon MORE wild blackberries. These things just grow everywhere! What started out as just having fun picking a few berries here and there to snack on, quickly became a deliberate plan to pick every single ripened berry in our path.
The motive: to make a blackberry pie.
Upon mutually accepting this mission, we quickly went back to the car and armed ourselves with Tupperware buckets. Over the next hour, we pricked our hands trying to reach the ripest and juiciest berries with scores of bumblebees attempting to sting us, and our fingers becoming stained with the blood-red juice of our victims. We put up a valiant fight, and we emerged from the thorny bushes with a bountiful harvest.
Eager to make this pie, reality hit when I arrived home and realized that I do not own a pie tin. Womp. Womp. Alas! I shall make a free-form galette!
This was my first attempt at making a galette, and there are a few things I’d do differently:
1) Definitely start with cold, cold butter by sticking it in the freezer before using.
2) Add less water, the dough should not be sticky.
3) Don’t overwork the dough too much. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but still stick together when squeezed.
My dough turned out to be a little too sticky from adding too much water, which made it stick to the countertop, making it difficult to work it. As a consequence, the butter began to melt, because I was working with it too much.
Nonetheless, the galette still tasted great. There’s nothing better than the smell of a buttery crust baking away in your oven. The wild blackberries offered such an intense flavor, reminiscent of the rich velvety flavors found in a deep cabernet sauvignon. I served each slice with a dollop of honeyed yogurt sauce to complement the tart richness of the blackberries.
Wild Blackberry Galette
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c. ice water
2 Tbsp. melted butter, cooled
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pint blackberries
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
Juice of one small lemon
Place sticks of butter in the freezer until hard, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile prep dry ingredients by mixing flour, salt, and brown sugar together. Cut butter into small pieces. Using a pastry cutter, quickly cut butter into flour mixture until pea sized balls form. Slowly drizzle ice water over mixture 1 Tbsp at a time and incorporate until a dough forms. Dough will be crumbly and should hold together when squeezed. Form dough into a flat 1/2 inch thick disk and wrap in plastic. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Mix sugar and 2 Tbsp cornstarch together. Add blackberries followed by lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix to combine.
Preheat oven at 375 F. Roll out dough into a 12 inch wide disk. Sprinkle center with 1/2 tsp cornstarch, evenly distributed. This will create a barrier and absorb the extra juices from the blackberries.
Add blackberry filling mixture into center of the dough, leaving a generous 3 inch edge around the perimeter. Dot with pieces of butter. Fold edges over the blackberry filling, one pleat at a time. Brush melted butter onto the pleats, and sprinkle with sugar. Transfer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 45 minutes, rotating halfway, until caramelized and bubbly.
Additional Tip: Serve with a dollop of honey sweetened yogurt.