Rustic Peach and Thyme Galette
Summertime continually blesses us with an abundance of fresh, juicy peaches.
How better to utilize the sweet stone fruit than baking a peach galette? Seasonal farmers markets feed our family and often dictate the meals we’ll be enjoying each week. Each summer, I look forward to hearty stone fruits to use for grilling, in cobblers, making jams and spreads, and in pies and galettes.
This year, we just so happened to rely heavily on home cooking and getting creative in the kitchen. With several local farmer’s markets to take advantage of, I found myself stocking up on more herbs than typical. It led me to use less salt, less dried seasonings, and a heavier hand of freshly chopped herbaceous flowers in my food.
A great way to showcase an herb or flower is to simmer it into a simple syrup, extracting its pungent oils and preserving a concentrated flavor.
Thyme simple syrup has been simmering in my kitchen for weeks, using it to flavor cocktails and balance the sweetness of tart fruits and baked goods. So instead of simply tossing the peaches in white sugar, I figured why not elevate this galette with the sweet, minty essence of thyme simple syrup.
What’s a Galette?
I like to think of a galette as the slightly cooler sibling of a pie, but it’s really a traditional French pastry. Think of a pie as being a container for its sweet or savory fillings, while a galette is more like a warm blanket, hugging the fruit in its center. Galettes also use a free-form crust, which is wrapped and folded over the sides of its edge, while pies fit into a designated dish or pan.
Preparing the crust
Do you have a designated surface area where you can flour and roll out your dough? Perfect! If you’re working with less space or don’t have a butcher’s, I have a few suggestions for you:
- Place a damp folded kitchen towel underneath a large cutting board. You’ll want the towel to cover as much surface as possible to ensure stability. Soak the towel, ring out as much water as you can, and fold it to cover the bottom of the board.
- Invest in a non-slip pastry board. These are often made of stone and stay cool while rolling out your butter doughs. They come equipped with tiny pegs or non-slip base to keep the board in place while you cut, roll, and fold.
- Place the dough between two pieces of wax paper or parchment paper and roll out with your rolling pin. Try using a marble rolling pin to keep your dough from warming up as you roll it out.
Sifting your dry ingredients
You can whisk them together in a bowl, but be sure to do so for at least 30-60 seconds to ensure that they combine evenly. Or, run them through a sieve or sifter one to two times.
There are two options for cutting the butter into your pie crust. One is to cut your butter into 6-8 cubes directly from the refrigerator. Another option is to freeze your butter and use the coarse end of a cheese grater to evenly disperse your butter bits. This works surprisingly well; a trick I learned back-when during a farm-to-table cooking class.
Folding the pie crust dough
Continually folding the dough into thirds and then rolling out the block of dough creates the layers-on-layers of butter and flour which will translate into flaky, puffy layers of crust while baking. If you don’t have a bench scraper to scrape the dough off of your surface, you can use a barbecue spatula! You’ll be surprised how well this works in a pinch.
Transferring the pie crust dough
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully transfer your dough to parchment by dusting your rolling pin and dough surface in flour, rolling up into the pin, and unrolling onto the parchment paper. You will likely have some of your crust falling over the sides of the baking sheet, which is fine. The excessive dough is what you’re going to use to pleat and fold over your fruit filling.
Preparing the fruit
Depending on the stone fruit (or any fruit!) you’re using, you can choose which citrus juice and zest to you. I like lemon with the peach and thyme, but you can just as easily substitute it for lime. If you’re going to use something more tart, like mixed berries, you can use orange in its place.
When using peaches, I often opt for a handful of raspberries with peaches to add a bit more tartness and a pop of color. This is totally optional, but feel free to play around with your fruits and simple syrups. A few variations to try:
- Peach and lavender simple syrup
- Mixed berry and sage simple syrup
- Pear and rosemary simple syrup
- Apricot and honey simple syrup
Search the internet, and you’ll likely find beautifully arranged peaches, geometrically aligned, and placed for aesthetics. Hey, I’m all about beautiful food! But please don’t feel like you need to spend a lot of time here. Typically, I pile the fruit in the center and make sure that it’s evenly spread into a circle and proceed to fold the dough.
Important note: don’t forget to lower the temperature after placing the galette in the oven. The initial hotter temperature will allow the butter to pop and puff up, while the slightly reduced temperature of 375 degrees will slowly and evenly bake the galette. (Spoiler: it tastes just as good, if not better)
Once the galette has been baked, let it cool slightly before brushing with the remaining simple syrup. I know it’s hard, but if you can allow it to cool almost completely, you will have an easier time slicing and serving the galette. And, if you can’t wait, there will be zero judgment. Try serving the galette with:
- Salted Vanilla Gelato
- Homemade whipped cream with a dash of vanilla
- Coconut cream whipped topping
- Dollop of crème fraîche for a tangy dessert
- Spoonful of mascarpone cheese for a richer, creamier taste
Bake a Galette: Made Simply
Let’s pretend that you don’t want to make your own pie crust. You can skip over most of the brunt work and use store-bought pie crust dough and defrost (I won’t tell). It’s a great way to start out making galettes and playing around with different flavors and textures, without the labor of preparing dough from scratch.
Any more questions? Let’s bake a peach galette!
Fresh juicy peaches and herbaceous thyme simple syrup make this galette perfect for summer and early fall. Or use canned peaches and enjoy all year long!
For the Dough:
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp fine kosher salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (plus a reserve for your surface)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
4 tbsp ice water
For the Filling:
3 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 Thyme simple syrup (see below)
6–8 peaches, sliced
1 cup raspberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp heavy cream or half-and-half
Thyme Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fine sugar
12–15 thyme sprigs
- Make your thyme simple syrup ahead of time. Bring water and sugar to a simmer
- Add the thyme sprigs; remove from heat once the sugar has dissolved
- Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, then remove all thyme sprigs and leaves
- Begin sifting together your dry ingredients for the pie crust
- On a floured surfaced, lightly toss your dry ingredients with your butter cubes and begin to gently roll them together using a rolling pin
- Begin rolling the dough until the butter begins to create stretchy strips of dough (you’ll still have loose dry ingredients). Use a bench scraper to collect the dough strips
- Create a pile of the butter strips and dry ingredients while leaving a well in the center. Lightly sprinkle your ice water over the unformed dough
- Gently gather all ingredients together. You’re going to prepare to start folding your dough to create some flakey layers
- Using your rolling pin, start to roll it out into a rectangular shape. Fold the dough over into thirds and repeat the process. Continue this process until you have a stable dough that holds together when you squeeze it
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator. In the meantime, prepare your filling
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Grab a medium-sized bowl and combine corn starch, lemon zest, and salt. Lightly whisk together
- In a separate bowl, toss sliced peaches in thyme simple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla
- Roll out your chilled dough to a 12″ round. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully transfer your dough to parchment by dusting your rolling pin and dough surface in flour, rolling up into the pin, and unrolling onto the parchment.
- Leaving about 2 1/2 – 3″ border, pile your fruit filling in the center of the dough
- Using a pleating motion, fold the edges of the crust over the fruit. Begin where the fruit meets the dough’s edge, and fold over like a triangle
- Glaze the exposed crust with heavy cream or half-and-half using a pastry brush
- Reduce your oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes. Rotate every 10-15 minutes.
- Let the galette cool and brush the fruit with the remaining thyme simple syrup. Slice and serve with a salted vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream!
Using a store-bought or thawed pie crust? Skip to step 12.
Recipe originally inspired by and adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
Keywords: peach, galette, pie, pastry, stone fruit, baked goods, French pastry