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Orange Galette with Ricotta and Pistachios

Orange Galette Recipe

I love whole oranges. There’s something about the combination of sweet, sour and bitter that is irresistible to me. I love whole-orange cakes like the delectable Tunisian version that Allison Hopelain used to make at Camino. Candied orange peel is one of my favorite things about hot cross buns or panettone. The citrus has been gorgeous lately and I wanted to create a recipe that used it in it’s entirely, front and center.

I’ve used a classic French recipe and technique for flaky crust recipe here that is the only one I ever use. It’s made with a ratio of 3:2:1 flour:butter:water. You can use it for pies (single or double-crust), galettes, hand-pies, tarts. It is one of the universal building-block recipes of baking. I learned how to make it from the Tartine pastry book long before I ever worked at Tartine. The page in the Tartine book that has this recipe on it is one of my favorite pages in any cookbook I own; it’s splashed and spattered and shows how many times I’ve lovingly turned to it. Note that I’ve changed a few things just in the natural evolution of doing it so many times- this is just what works well for me in my kitchen. If you’re working directly from the Tartine book you’ll notice these changes- do whichever works for you.

If you can find butter with 85% butterfat, this is a great place to use it. The increased butterfat improves both the texture and the flavor of the dough. There are a lot of recipes and techniques for pie crust. You can use a food processor, a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, a pastry blender or just your hands to work the butter into the dough, but I find that this method gives me the most tender, flaky results and I love that you don’t need anything fancier than a rolling pin for it. There are likewise a lot of recipes out there that use vodka, cream cheese or sugar to boost the dough, but I am romanced by the elegant simplicity of this recipe, and don’t see any reason to mess with it. I was looking at other dough recipes this week while I was thinking about writing this. I turned to Joy of Cooking (because it always has some beautiful insight about fundamentals like flaky dough) and found this great quote:

“No one recipe can precisely convey a sense for the way the dough should look and feel at all stages, nor confer the fabled ‘touch.’ This comes (and it does come) only with practice.”

This is how I feel about bread dough, and so many of those building blocks of baking. The slow practice of it is a great part of the joy both on the journey and when you finally feel like you’ve become fluent.

For the crust (makes two 9-inch round galettes or enough dough for a double-crust pie):

150 ml (2/3 Cup) water, ice-cold

1 tsp fine sea salt

450g (3 Cups + 2 Tablespoons) all-purpose flour

300g (1 Cup + 5 Tablespoons) unsalted butter (85% butterfat if you can find it)

1. Dissolve the salt in the ice-cold water. Keep the salt water in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

2. Measure the flour and dump into a mound on your work surface. Cut the butter into cubes (you don’t have to be too precise about it) and toss the cubes into the flour. Make sure the cubes are all coated with flour so they don’t stick to your rolling pin as much.

3. Use a rolling pin to roll the cubes of butter into the flour. As you roll they will become flattened flakes of butter. Use your bench knife or a scraper to scrape the mass back into the middle if it starts to become too scattered. You can also use the bench knife to scrape butter off of the rolling pin if it starts to become stuck. Roll until the whole thing becomes a shaggy mass. You should have lots of big flakes of butter and some spots where the flour is starting to get an almost wet-sandy appearance from being worked in with the butter.

4. Scoop the flour and butter mixture into a large mixing bowl. Dump the freezing cold water and salt solution over it. Use a large fork to very gently push the mixture around until the water is well distributed. It will seem very dry and loose, but if you pick up a chunk and squeeze it, it should hold together. You can add an extra drop of water if needed, but it should be too dry to really form a dough at this stage.

5. Press the dough together until it mostly holds together. One the work surface, form the dough into two flat discs. It’s okay if they’re not perfect, you’ll clean it up a little more after its wrapped. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap (or compostable cling wrap if you can find it). After it’s wrapped, gently press it into a flatter disc. The pressure of the cling film will help the dough seal together.

6. Chill for at least two hours or overnight. To keep longer, freeze it. To thaw, take it out the night before and thaw it in the fridge.

For the candied orange slices:

3-4 large oranges or 4-5 medium, any combination of blood, cara cara, naval, Valencia, Seville, or similar. I don’t us mandarins because they tend to be softer and fall apart.

1 cup cane sugar

1 cup water

1. Slice the oranges thinly, about 3 millimeter (1/8 inch).

2. Place the sugar and water in a wide sauce pan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

3. Add the citrus slices. Cook at a low simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rinds can be pierced easily with a fork.

4. Let the slices cool completely in the syrup. If you’d like to hold them overnight, they can be kept in the refrigerator in the syrup (in fact, they even get a little better when you hold them overnight in the syrup.)

5. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the slices from the syrup. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve.

For the filling:

1 cup Ricotta

1 large egg

¼ sugar

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Use a sturdy whisk or a hand-held mixer to mix until smooth and silky. Don’t overwhip it, or it will increase in volume too much in the oven. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To assemble the galette:

1 round of flaky dough (half of the recipe above, retain the other round for another galette)

All the ricotta filling from above

Candied orange slices from above

1 egg, divided

2 Tbs heavy cream

Pinch salt

Retained syrup from cooking orange slices

¼ cup finely chopped pistachios

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F

2. Roll the flaky dough out to an 14-inch diameter circle. Place on a lined sheet pan. Brush off any excess flour from rolling with a clean pastry brush or a light hand.

3. Take the white from the divided egg and place in a small cup. Use a fork to mix well until the strands of albumin are broken down.

4. Brush the egg white over the inside of the crust to form a seal (this will keep the bottom of your galette crispy instead of soft).

5. Place the crust in the fridge to chill for at least 5 minutes and up to 20, until the egg white wash is dry to the touch and the dough is starting to feel firmer.

6. Scoop the ricotta filling into the middle of the crust. Spread in a 12-inch circle in the middle of the crust, leaving a two-inch space around the edge uncovered by the filling (you’ll fold this edge over after the crust has been filled).

7. Arrange the orange slices in overlapping circles over the ricotta filling. Cover the filling completely.

8. Fold the edge of the dough over the filling and the oranges, pleating the dough as needed to get it to lay flat. There should be a pleat every few inches. If you need to rearrange the pleats so that they’re even, go ahead.

9. Place the yolk from the divided egg, plus the cream and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Mix very well with a fork. Use a clean pastry brush to brush this egg yolk wash over the pleated edge of the dough.

10. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden-brown.

11. Brush all over immediately with the retained orange syrup from cooking the slices. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios (the syrup will help them stick to the edges of the crust.

12. Let cool and serve.

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