High Country Baking: Strawberry rhubarb galette for classic summery vibes this Fourth of July
Special to the Daily
High altitudes make cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Strawberries and rhubarb have been happily coupled for years. Desserts that combine them are a sure sign of warm weather. I make one every year when rhubarb is available in our gardens and groceries.
My 2020 rendition is this galette, a free-form pie that charms with its rustic simplicity. Berries and rhubarb, nicely sweetened, are tucked into a circle of pie dough and baked…nothing fancy, just old fashioned goodness.
Strawberries exude so much juice that the crust they’re cooked in often gets soggy. To prevent that, I’ve included a layer of crumbled cookies underneath the fruit filling to absorb the liquid and keep the crust crisp.
If you choose to make your own dough but lack a recipe, I’d be glad to share the one I use for galettes, it’s sturdy enough to hold the filling without cracking but still pleasingly tender. Email me your request and I’ll send it to you.
Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
Make on a shiny metal cookie sheet
Works at any elevation
Your favorite commercial or homemade pie dough for a single crust 9-inch pie
½ cup granulated sugar, preferably superfine
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
Generous 1 ¼ cups of fresh or frozen (don’t thaw) rhubarb
Generous 1 ¼ cups hulled and halved fresh strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous ¼ cup crushed graham crackers or vanilla wafers
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, preferably superfine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1 teaspoon cream
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons turbinado or coarse granulated sugar
1. Prepare the berry filling: Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large mixing bowl to combine well. Wash the rhubarb (if using fresh stalks), cut it into 3/4-inch pieces, and add them, along with the halved strawberries and vanilla, to the sugar mixture. Use a silicone spatula to lightly toss the berries and rhubarb until they’re well coated with the dry ingredients. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes. Uncover the bowl; the berry juices will have moistened the mixture. Toss/stir again until all the dry ingredients disappear and a thick sauce forms.
2. While the berry filling rests, preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center position and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the dough and make the crumb filling: Between two floured sheets of waxed paper, roll the dough into a 12-13 inch circle and place it, in the waxed paper, in the freezer. Combine all of the crumb filling ingredients in a small bowl or 1-cup measure and whisk to blend well, Set aside.
3. Remove the circle of dough from the freezer, carefully detach both sheets of waxed paper, and transfer the dough to the lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle on the crumb filling, spreading it evenly to within two inches of the circle’s border. Spoon the berry filling on top of the crumb filling, mounding it slightly in the center. Gently fold the edges of the dough over it, pleating it as you go. Take care not to stretch the dough or it will tear; if it does, gently pinch it back together.
4. Combine the ingredients for the egg wash in a small bowl, whisk to blend well, and brush over the dough; you won’t use it all. Sprinkle on the sugar. Bake until the crust is set and golden and the filling starts to bubble. If the crust is done before the filling, tent the galette with a sheet of aluminum foil until the filling is fully baked. Cool completely and store in the ‘fridge. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
This recipe is a variation of one published in “Cuisine at Home.”
Dr. Vera Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks (available at The Bookworm in Edwards, Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). She’s lived in Frisco since 1991 and has been developing and adjusting recipes so that they work at our altitude ever since. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.