Friends, do you ever have those moments when you’re convinced you’ve F-ed up big time?
As someone who’s building a freelance life that involves a lot of “firsts,” and someone who is particularly prone to imposter’s syndrome, this is a sensation I experience on a daily basis. But I’ll leave my self-analysis of self-deprecation for another time (I know you can’t wait!). No, today I’m talking about the feeling of failure that involves burnt vegetables, curdled egg nog, or, in the case of this blueberry galette recipe, a gluten-free crust that crumbles into nothingness.
Ever since I took Aran Goyoaga’s food styling class last fall, I’ve been dying to try my hand at her gluten-free apple tart. When she rolled it out in front of us, the dough looked amazingly pliable, and as she casually fanned out pink apples in the center (the woman must make a mean avocado rose), and folding in the sides without a worry or care for the cracks that might result, I was seriously impressed. The end result was rustic and chic-—the pie version of the effortlessly messy bun I will never achieve thanks to too much neurotic effort.
Naturally, I was wary of my own tendencies when the time came to try my hand at this free-form gluten-free tart. When it comes to “firsts” in the kitchen, failure is not an unusual result, especially when it comes to baking. And even more so when I can’t help myself but to pare down the ingredient list of someone else’s gluten-free recipe.
I’ve also learned the hard way over the years that even the simplest dish can spell failure if you’ve spread yourself too thin in the kitchen. And last week I majorly bit off more than I could chew, and struggled with the fury of a fois gras goose to get it all down.
As I confessed in yesterday’s Sunday newsletter, after 250 pages of writing I thought the recipe portion of the book would be a breeze. There are only 22 of them, and many are variations on the tried and true basics I always turn to. Compared to medical research and chapter-spanning narrative arcs, things like soba noodles and chia pudding are definitely more within my comfort zone. But I forgot about the power of my own obsessiveness (and self-deprecation), and it’s been two straight weeks on my feet in the kitchen making sure they are nothing short of PERFECT.
Luckily, despite the time constraints, there were no major fails on the book recipe front. But that just meant that by the time I got around to testing this red, white and blueberry galette, I felt very poised for a fail of epic proportions.
The first cause for concern happened when I began rolling out the dough. Instead of spreading itself as thin as my patience, the patty began to crack and crumble under the duress of my rolling pin. When I returned to Aran’s notes, I realized that it was too cold. After a few minutes of hanging out on the countertop, crisis averted.
Still, my hands began to tremble when it came time to fold the tart crust into effortless galette form. (The same tremble that begat the bobby pin that brought the whole updo down.) As I went, Donnatella Versace-level crows feet began forming on the sides, and though I managed to get my patriotic mix of strawberries and blueberries swaddled inside, I worried that the imperfect pastry would mean a red and blue eruption all over my oven.
As the galette baked, I mentally rattled off alternate recipes I could execute in time for this fine morning, all the while neurotically opening the oven door every 10 minutes to check on the progress. The berries seemed to be drying out instead of slowly pruning and bursting within the flaky confines of the crust.
But lucky for you all (mainly, me), the fail never came, and the resulting galette was as chic and effortless as it was tasty. AF. The crust was perfectly buttery and flakey, the perfect compliment to oozing tart berries. The ice cream was a great hint of sweetness since the galette only has 1 tablespoon of sugar total. And the minor leakage only added to its overall sexy-ugly charm!!
Now that I’ve thoroughly scared you away from trying this recipe, let me just conclude by spelling out the moral of this story: if my fear of failure couldn’t F-up this blueberry galette, then nothing can.
A few more notes: I didn’t have tapioca starch (I know, who am I?) so I used more potato starch. The filling was inspired by this recipe, and raspberries would be a great substitution for the red element. If you’re not into corn products, you can skip the starch in the berries, it will just be slightly less jammy. And though I don’t normally eat a lot of dessert, in the name of patriotism, you cannot serve this without a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.
Charlie is in London right now, which left me to my own GOT devices last night. And as a result, I may or may not have reveled in my own domestic goddess status and inhaled a whole blueberry galette all by myself. That is, before I lost my appetite due to all the carnage and excitement (and me oh my, what wonderful carnage it was!).
I’ll be back with an even more foolproof savory recipe for your 4th of July BBQ on Wednesday. But in the meantime, keep calm and gluten-free bake on!
Red, White and Blueberry Galettes (Gluten-Free)
- 1 cup white rice flour plus more for dusting
- 3 tablespoons potato starch
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter diced (1/2 cup)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
for the filling:
- 1/2 pint blueberries 6 ounces
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 tablespoon coconut or cane sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
In a small food processor pulse the rice flour, potato starch and xanthan gum to combine. Working quickly, add the cold diced butter and pulse a dozen times or so until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time until the crust begins to clump together and stand tall against the walls of the processor. (I used 3 tablespoons total).
Transfer the gluten-free tart dough to a work surface and form into two equal balls. Wrap each separately in plastic wrap and pat it down into a thin disk. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or up to three days in advance.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling: in a medium mixing bowl, toss together the blueberries, strawberries, corn or arrowroot starch, sugar and lemon juice until coated. Set aside.
Let the dough stand at room temperature for a few minutes before handling. Then, unwrap and lay on a work surface dusted with rice flour. (I rolled out my dough directly on parchment paper to make transferring it to the baking sheet easier. You can anchor it with a can if it begins to slide around while you roll.) Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper over the dough and roll out, working from the center, until it’s about 1/4″-1/8″ thickness and a 9 inch diameter. If the dough feels crumbly, let it warm up slightly, then continue working. Repeat with the second ball. Divide the berries between the two galettes, leaving a 1 to 2 inch lip on the sides. Carefully fold the flaps of dough onto itself in large creases. If it breaks, don’t stress: you can patch it up, or use your hands to gently press the outside back together. I found it helpful to use my knife to loosen the dough flaps and help me fold.
Transfer the gluten-free berry galettes to a baking sheet (lined with parchment, if not already using some). Brush the sides of the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling bubbles and the crust is golden brown.
Allow the galette to cool slightly on the pan (don’t worry if the juices leak). Then cut into slices or serve on a platter with scoops of vanilla ice cream (red, white and blue baby!).