How very fitting that on Pi Day (3.14), I am featuring a pear galette; a kindofan unstructured, casual pie.
You would almost suspect I planned it this way, but, honestly, I did not. It was just the way things worked out.
This pear galette is nicely spiced, has an added bonus of sharp Cheddar cheese added to the filling, and makes use of my new fave pie crust made with vodka (!); this time home made Cherry Vodka.
Vodka Pie Crust:
•2 stick unsalted butter, chilled
•1/4 cup cold vodka
•1/4 cup ice water
•2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•1 tsp salt
•1 tbsp granulated sugar*
•4 pears, cored and thinly sliced
•1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
•1/3 cup granulated sugar
•1/4 cup packed brown sugar
•3 tbsp flour
•1 tbsp lemon juice
•1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
•1/8 tsp allspice
•1/8 tsp ground clove
For the Galette:
•1 egg, beaten
•2 tbsp butter, softened
*If you plan on using this dough for something savory, like a quiche, by all means leave the sugar out.
First, the vodka pie dough.
Chill the vodka, then cut the butter into about 16 cubes, then stash that, too in the fridge or, even better, freezer to chill.
If your fridge does not dispense ice water, then measure out 1/4 cup of water and stash that in the fridge until well and truly chilled.
All that done?
Add the salt, flour, and sugar (if you’re using it) to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse a couple of times to combine.
Arrange the cold butter cubes evenly over the top of the flour mixture and, using short pulses, cut it into the flour until flour and butter are mixed together with no bits larger than a pea – mebbe two to four pulses.
Here, you get to make a choice.
Depending on the weather and temps in your kitchen, you might only need 1/4 cup of liquid total to bring the dough together, so…
You could do two tablespoons each of vodka and water, then pulse to a three or four times, then pick a couple of tablespoons of the dough up in your hand and squeeze it together. If the dough holds together, you don’t need to add any more liquid.
If the dough is still crumbly, add one tablespoon each vodka and water, then pulse and repeat the squeeze test.
Some days, you will only need 1/4 cup total of liquid, some you’ll need the whole 1/2 cup; so…
Are you gonna start with those two tablespoons each of vodka and water?
Or, are you just gonna go big and use 1/4 cup (four tablespoons) of vodka in the beginning, and add water as needed?
I went with all vodka, and supplemented with water until my dough was right.
Split the dough in two, place each half in the middle of a sheet of plastic wrap, press into a disc, then fold the wrap up and over, and stash in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Sealed in a freezer bag, any dough not needed immediately can be kept in the fridge for five days, or the freezer for two months.
When you’re ready to make the galette, place the dough between two sheets of waxed paper (or however you usually roll out dough – for me, the waxed paper method works and works well, so I stick to it).
Heat your oven to 400º and roll your dough into an 11 inch round.
Transfer your dough round to a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet, then ccatter the Cheddar over the dough, keeping it to about one or two inches from the edge of the dough.
Make the pear filling by tossing the sliced pears with the sugar, lemon juice, sugars, flour, and spices until the pears are more or less evenly coated.
Note: you can help this bit along by whisking the flour, granulated sugar, and spices together before adding to the pears along with the brown sugar and lemon juice.
Arrange the pears over the top of the cheese and fold the dough up and over as shown.
You can arrange the pear slices in a lovely, artistic fan; but that particular refinement always eludes me, so I settle for a more or less uniform pile o’ pears, with mebbe a small peak in the center.
Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg, and then with one tablespoon of the butter.
Dot the pears with the remaining tablespoon of butter, then bake until the crust is golden brown and the pears are tender and juicy – about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature, with or without a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.
Happy Pi Day.