If you’re harvesting your final homegrown melons of the year or just starting your growing season in the Southern Hemisphere, you likely got excited about last week’s watermelon treats. But if you’re in fall harvest mode, late-season fruits are likely dominating your table. These can be just as tasty in sweet treats as melons and berries and can be used in just as many ways.
I turn many fall fruits into canned goods we can savor and share all year, such as jams, marmalades, fruit butters, and of course Grandma Tiny’s Chunky Applesauce. For everyday eating, I turn to semisweet baked goods that last several days in the fridge or can be frozen and enjoyed in small doses, such as Quick Cranberry Bread and Double Apple Muffins. For a special treat amid fall harvest overload, pears work well in simple, forgiving desserts, like a freeform pastry.
Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 3 main ingredients plus some baking staples.
1. Mix the pastry dough.
2. Roll out the pastry.
3. Fold in the filling.
4. Bake and enjoy.
Pear and Goat Cheese Galette
1 tablespoon ultrafine sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 or more tablespoons ice water
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced (about 12 ounces)
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes. Cut the butter and zest into the flour mixture, as you would for Nearly Perfect Pie Crust, until crumbs form. Sprinkle with ice water and toss with a fork, adding water as needed until the dough can just be gathered into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly, wrap it in waxed or parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the goat cheese and honey until smooth. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to form an 11-inch circle, and trim away any ragged edges. Transfer the circle to a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly mark off a 9-inch circle in the center of the dough. Evenly spread the sweetened goat cheese over the marked-off area, and then sprinkle with the rosemary.
Cut the pears in half, remove the cores, and then slice each half thinly. Layer the slices, overlapping as needed, over the cheese. Fold up part of one edge of the dough to slightly cover the fruit, and then continue folding as you work around the circle, leaving the center exposed. Bake at 350°F for 40–45 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cool slightly before cutting. Serves 6.
Tips & Tricks
- If you’ve already tried Rhubarb–Huckleberry Galette, much of the instructions here will be familiar. If you’re comfortable making pies, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make this freeform tart.
- To keep things simple, I leave the skin on the pears for this dish. If you prefer to peel them, toss the slices in lemon juice to prevent them from browning before you can get the pastry in the oven.
- I tend to make 5–6 large folds around this galette; it makes it easy to treat a leftover slice like a breakfast Danish and eat it out of hand. But you can also create many smaller folds, almost like fluting a pie crust, over the outer inch of fruit, leaving more of the center exposed.
- You have many ways to gussy up this dessert. The simplest is to drizzle a little honey and sprinkle on additional cheese and rosemary as garnish. If you drizzle honey on the crust top in the last 5 minutes or so of baking time, it will enhance the golden edge. An egg wash and coarse sugar added halfway through the cook time will give a similar effect.
Twice as Tasty
Pears can be swapped into many baked goods typically made with apples, and they’re suitable for a range of simple desserts. Lightly poach pears as a topping for Gingerbread Loaf or simply ice cream. Try pears, perhaps mixed with other fall fruit like plums, in your next fruit crisp. You can put a crisp together even more quickly if you replace the crunchy topping with a few scoops from your stash of homemade granola.
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