A neighbor recently asked me for advice on grilling peaches. He wanted to make an easy, no-fuss dessert for his girlfriend.

Although grilled peaches are a simple, summer favorite, I suggested that he instead slice up those peaches, add a bit of cinnamon, sugar, and allspice, and bake them inside a pouch of store-bought piecrust or puff pastry.

Call them galettes and she’ll think you’ve spent more time than you did, I told him.

Galettes are rustic, free-form pastries that require less commitment and precision needed for a whole pie or cobbler. Ragged edges are best for gathering up berries, cherries, or apricots. Plus, does anyone who’s working from home and managing a kid or two have time to cut a lattice crust?

Galettes are free-form pastries that make easy use of summer fruit.
Jamila Robinson
Galettes are free-form pastries that make easy use of summer fruit.

The low level of effort make galettes an appealing alternative for breakfast or dessert, and for enjoying the peaches, blackberries, and plums that are abundant at grocery stores and farmers markets at the height of their sweetness. Only a pinch of sugar and a splash of lemon juice is needed to brighten the fruit.

Galettes are a vessel for fruit and spice combinations: Think strawberry and rhubarb, juicy peaches with honey and cardamom, or blueberries that pop with cinnamon and allspice. Consider filling a galette with combinations of stone fruit and citrus, such as cherries and lime zest. You can also add nuts, such as almonds or pistachio, or flakes of dried coconut.

Galettes also can be divided into smaller, individual portions, appropriate for social distancing. Serve them with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

They also work well as savory versions, by tossing garden vegetables, such as green peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, with basil and Parmesan, Asiago, or goat cheese.

Although I make piecrust from scratch, you can make a galette easily with that roll of store-bought piecrust that’s still in your freezer. Simply brush it with an egg wash to add depth of flavor and color.

Galettes are free-form pastries that make easy use of summer fruit.
Jamila Robinson
Galettes are free-form pastries that make easy use of summer fruit.

Summer Fruit Galettes

Use combinations of fruit, sugar, agave or honey, with citrus to make these rustic summer desserts. Divide the pastry into four portions for individual pastries.

Makes 8-inch galette or 4 mini-galettes

1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups fresh fruit, such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries

2 tablespoons sugar or to taste, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1 9-inch piecrust (store-bought is fine)

EGG WASH

1 egg white

2 tablespoons of milk or cream

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Using a bowl, toss fruit with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, butter, and flour. Set aside. Make the egg wash in a small bowl by mixing egg white, milk, and salt with a fork.

Roll out piecrust to remove any creases. Place piecrust on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush both sides of the crust with egg wash.

Add fruit mixture to the center of piecrust. Pull edges of the piecrust over the fruit, crimping to seal edges. Brush edges of the crust with more egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar and dust with cinnamon.

Refrigerate galette while oven is preheating to 400 degrees. Place galette in the center of the oven, then bake for 25 minutes or until crust turns a golden brown and fruit is oozing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Variations: Combine peaches with blackberries and raspberries with flavors such as honey and cardamom, cinnamon or allspice. Mix sour cherries with cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract. For savory galettes, combine summer veggies, like green peppers, cherry tomatoes with herbs olive oil and cheese, such as Parmesan or chèvre.