Einkorn is an ancient grain, so called because it is relatively unchanged from when humans began baking with it thousands of years ago. Einkorn has only 14 chromosomes, compared modern wheat’s 42. One of einkorn’s most distinguishing factors is it’s exceptional flavor- nutty, earthy, sweet and robust. Einkorn alone, without any additional sweeteners or fats tastes like graham cracker.
This makes it a great candidate for pie crust. At it’s simplest, pie crust, like bread, is just 4 ingredients: flour, water, salt and butter. If you use the most flavorful versions of each of those things you don’t need to add anything else. Einkorn also has little gluten, which is great for pie, where you don’t want the gluten to form much (and make the crust tough).
I used einkorn berries from Anson Mills and milled them fresh right before mixing the dough. If you do it this way, make sure to let the fresh flour chill for at least 30 minutes before you start mixing the butter in. I also used Beurre d’Isigny butter, which has an 82% butterfat content. If it all possible, try to find a butter with at least 80% butterfat content- these are often called ‘European-style’. It makes the texture of the crust flakier and more tender and imparts better flavor.
Whole Grain Einkorn Galette Crust
3 g (1 tsp) sea salt
230 grams (1 cup) ice water
350 grams (2 ½ cups) whole grain einkorn flour
230 grams (1 cup) very cold high-butterfat butter
1. Stir the sea salt into the ice water to dissolve. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes. Add the flour and butter to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to rub the butter into the flour, smearing it between your fingers and palms until mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain (a few slightly larger pieces is fine.)
3. Using a large fork, make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mixture. Pour all of the salted ice water into the well. Use the fork to toss the flour and water together until combined- it will be crumbly but there shouldn’t be a lot of very dry flour. If there is, spritz the dry parts lightly once or twice with a spray bottle.
4. Turn the flour mixture out onto a work surface and knead very briefly, just until it comes together.
5. Split the dough into two balls. Form the balls into discs and wrap in a clean linen.
6. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight before rolling out and using.
Apricot Galette with whole-grain einkorn crust
Makes one galette
800 grams (about 20) ripe apricots, halved and pitted, then halves cut into thirds long-wise.
1 portion (half the above recipe) whole grain einkorn galette crust
I large egg, white and yolk separated
1 Tablespoon cream
Pinch sea salt
1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 Tablespoon confectioners sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F
2. Lightly flour a work surface. If the dough is very stiff, let warm up for about 5 minutes before rolling out.
3. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a round, roughly ten inches across and roughly 1/16-inch thick. Lift and rotate the dough often as you roll to check that it is not sticking to the work surface and that it is evenly thin. Use as much flour as you need, but no more.
4. Place the rolled out round onto a lined sheet pan and brush away any loose flour from dusting.
5. In a small bowl, stir the egg white vigorously with a fork so that it is well broken up. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg white onto the top surface of the dough. This will form a barrier between the fruit and the crust and help keep the crust crisp on the bottom.
6. Place the rolled out crust on the tray in the fridge for about 3 minutes so the whites can dry and the crust can stay chilled.
7. Remove the dough from the fridge and arrange the apricot slices in a circle in the center of the dough to cover it completely. Leave a two-inch space around the edge free of apricots; this will be the edge you’ll fold over to shape the galette.
8. Fold the edge of the crust over the outside of the fruit, all the way around. Pinch and fold the dough decoratively so that it lays flat.
9. In a small bowl, stir the yolk and cream together well with a tiny pinch of sea salt.
10. Brush the egg yolk wash sparingly on the outside folded over edge of crust.
11. Sprinkle turbinado sugar around the edge. It will stick to the egg wash.
12. Place the shaped galette in the fridge and let chill for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
13. Place the galette in the heated oven. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pan so that it bakes evenly and bake for 12 more minutes, or until the crust is browned and the fruit juices are glossy and bubble slowly.
14. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for at least 30 minutes.
15. Use a small wire-mesh strainer to shake confectioners’ sugar around the edge of the galette just before serving.
Great for dessert with crème fraiche ice cream or for breakfast with yogurt.