A neighbor asked me to bring dessert to our street’s Memorial Day picnic, followed with an admonition not to make anything “too healthy.” Oh, I’m sorry, Barbara. You know what’s a bigger buzzkill than fruit salad? Diabetes. I picked up the figurative gauntlet with my proverbial oven mitt and promised to deliver a homemade sweet treat. Only the joke would be on her, because my dessert would taste sublime, not sugary. I call that better living through spite.
Unfortunately, my sass is sharper than my baking acumen. I needed something that looks far more complex than it actually is, which happens to be the description of a galette. A dessert galette is typically a fruit-filled pastry. It resembles a pie in spirit, but with a flat, free-form crust (call it “rustic”) that doesn’t invite a critique.
Blueberries are naturally sweet, so I could avoid cups of added sugar. Some coconut flakes and a mere tablespoon of coconut palm sugar, which has a lower glycemic index and more nutrients than regular table sugar, were all I needed to make the galette deliciously dessert-y.
The crust comes together with a few pulses of the food processor. My healthy cooking heart couldn’t stomach using only all-purpose flour, but a crust made entirely of whole-wheat flour was as tough as the crowd at the picnic. I split the difference and used half a cup of each, which yields dough that’s hearty, not heavy. I employed a similar 50/50 technique for the fat, using half the traditional amount of butter and making up the difference with trans fat-free coconut oil.
Next, pour yourself a glass of ice water. You will need an indeterminate amount to bind your fat and flour together. In general, I found 1 1/2 tablespoons to be the perfect quantity, except for one time when my dough was inexplicably too wet even though none of the other ingredients had changed. This unpredictability is embraced by true bakers and hugely frustrating for the rest of us. If it happens to you, I can empathize and offer that my dough became perfectly manageable after cooling its heels for an extra hour in the refrigerator. And if a little chill out time isn’t the key to handling life’s difficult situations, enjoying blueberry galette sure is.
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