Pear Galette with Gingerbread Caramel

When the holiday heat is on (and pies are a pipe dream) say hello to the galette: the common pie's laid back, effortlessly attractive cousin.

'Tis the season of pie porn, and we predict your Pinterest is bursting with the fanciest of tart shells. Braided crusts, perfect cutouts, sculpted foliage that browns according to the exact rules of nature; such is the state of aspirational home cooking (and we eat it up). But when the holiday heat is on, and dessert starts to sound like a pipe dream, leave those hand-cut leaves in the gutter and say hello to the galette: the common pie's laid back, effortlessly attractive cousin. 

This humble pastry is a busy chef's secret weapon, providing a sophisticated canvas for fall flavors that can be whipped up in a fraction of the time. We like to keep a few batches of the barely-sweet tart dough in the refrigerator, ready to be unfussily filled with something sweet or savory, then dished up to the delight of guests after a short stint in the oven. Here, we pair juicy pears with the warm flavors of gingerbread, trading refined sugar for low-glycemic, caramelly coconut sugar (as we're known to do). The same dough and process can be used for any number of seasonal fillings, from apples and sage to caramelized onions, roasted squash and goat cheese. So grab a rolling pin and bid those crusty pie shells adieu, because if we're thankful for anything this year, it's a few more minutes with the people we love – especially if they can't tell the difference.

For the dough:

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)

6 Tbsp cold butter (cut into small pieces)

1 egg (beaten)

Directions: Whisk dry ingredients together. Add butter and rub into dry ingredients with clean hands until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg and fold in gently with a fork, until mixture just comes together. Knead very briefly, then shape into a flat disk and chill for at least two hours, and up to two days. Dough can also be frozen for up to one month.

This tart dough recipe was inspired by our friends at Bon Appétit, and their wonderful Fall Baking Guide.

 

For the gingerbread caramel:

1 cup coconut sugar

3 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp molasses 

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of cloves

2 Tbsp butter

Directions:  Combine coconut sugar, water and molasses in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. When coconut sugar granules are fully dissolved, and mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and whisk in butter and spices until smooth. Allow to cool.

 

For the pears:

1lb pears (sliced lengthwise, 1/8" thick) 

1 Tbsp butter (melted)

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out tart dough to a 14"x10" rectangle (about 1/8th inch thick). Transfer to a Silpat or parchment covered baking mat.

2. Drizzle caramel in the center of the dough, leaving a 2" border (if your caramel has set, you may need to warm it slightly to pour). Arrange pear slices on top of the caramel, overlapping each row. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

3. Working one side at a time, gently lift and fold the borders of dough over the pear filling, making sure to patch up any small tears or holes you create in the process. Gently pinch corners of dough together to secure.

4. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until pears are soft and edges are golden brown. For extra golden edges with a sweet crunch, brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp milk or water) and sprinkle with more coconut sugar before baking.