In Montana, picking huckleberries in late August before the black, brown, and grizzly bears eat all was a right of passage--one in the bucket, two or three in the mouth. The mountainsides are purple with berries. Early in the season it does not matter how many are eaten, there are always plenty for making pancake syrup, huckleberry pie, and even leftovers for a few jars of jam for the pantry. Huckleberries, however, remain an uncultivated fruit and a grizzly bear's favorite dessert. What to do if this tiny berry is unavailable in New England? Blueberries of course! While bigger and lighter blue than their northwest cousins, blueberries are fabulous for baking whether fresh or frozen with the advantage of year round availability. Another perk? Picking without danger of ursus arctos horribilis lurking in the bush ready to swipe your filled pail and cause man versus beast pandemonium. Lavender, also harvested in late summer when blueberries are their berry best, compliments the sweet tangy taste of berries and looks gorgeous against the indigo blue of the fruit. When the galette is served with vanilla ice cream (highly recommended), the pie filling turns a lovely shade of Provençal lavender. A bit of lemon and this round wrapped fruit filled dessert, although rustic in appearance, has a sophisticated, complex taste capable of holding court at a formal dinner gathering.
Ingredients for the Pastry2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon sugar 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced 1/2 cup ice water
For the Filling4 cups (32 ounces) blueberries 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 cup castor sugar 1/4 cup flour 1 tablespoon culinary lavender Zest of two lemons Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Turbinado sugar 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon milk, whisked Vanilla ice cream, optional
Directions for the Pastry
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, salt, sugar, and butter. Pulse 10 times, or until the butter is distributed and appears crumbly.
- Turn on the processor and pour the ice water in a steady stream through the feed tube until the dough just begins to come together. Be careful not to over process.
- Place two pieces of slightly over lapping plastic wrap on the counter and dust with flour.
- Pour the dough on the wrap and quickly form into an 8 inch disk (use the wrap to help smooth out the edges). Dust the top with flour, fold the plastic over the top, and press until all crumbling edges come together.
- Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap thoroughly and refrigerate for at least one hour.
For the Filling
- Pour the blueberries into a bowl. Sprinkle the salt, sugar, flour, and lavender on top and gently toss together with your fingers.
- Sprinkle with the zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Toss again with your fingers.
For the Galette
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a half sheet baking tray with a SILPAT or parchment paper.
- Unwrap the dough and put in the center of the baking tray. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes to chill again.
- Put the filling (do not pour the excess flour/sugar etc. that sinks to the bottom of the bowl on to the top--leave it in the bowl) in the center of the dough and gently move the berries to within 1 1/2" of the edge of the dough.
- Work quickly and fold the edges and overlap as necessary as you work around the galette.
- Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the center of the oven, or until the dough is golden and the juices of the blueberries are bubbling (this can take up to 45 minutes--if the dough is golden before the berries bubble, cover with aluminum foil and continue baking).
- Allow the galette to cool before serving. Scoop the ice cream seconds before passing plates.
The pastry dough may be made 2 days ahead of time. Frozen blueberries work great if thawed and left to drain for 30 minutes in a colander before using them. Be sure to grow culinary lavender varieties such as Munstead or Hidcote in the garden as other varieties have a soapy taste.