Cardamom Spiced Pear & Hazelnut Galette
There’s a popular American saying, “It’s as easy as pie,” which I never understood. Pie can actually be quite tricky to make, and most people I know don’t know how to even start making a pie.
For the record, I LOVE PIE. It’s superior to cake. Full stop. I will fight you on this and will die with this fact on my tombstone.
Soooo given my love of pie, it’s no surprise that I also love galettes, a French name for a free form tart i.e. not put in a pan and could also be equated to a free form pie. This recipe I’ve developed includes a spiced hazelnut frangipane, another fancy French word for a smooth mixture of ground nuts (usually almond) with sugar and a little butter, flour, and egg to bake into a creamy, light, and delicious filling. Top with some seasonal Bosc pears and you’ve got yourself an impressive looking dessert that was actually easy to make.
I mean, come on. Who wouldn’t want a warm slice of this with some vanilla ice cream after Christmas dinner?
This is also my first recipe using cardamon after getting my hands on some affordable ground cardamon in London. I thought it would be like cloves or cinnamon and while similar, it has a spicier, smokier taste which goes so swell with the pears, hazelnut, and these holiday vibes.
This recipe does require a food processor to make the frangipane. Blending the hazelnuts with the sugar will make hazelnut butter. Already yum!
And then you add a few more ingredients and voila! it becomes smooth and pourable. I opted for hazelnuts because they pair beautifully with the Bosc pears.
If you don’t appreciate my puns, you can leave.
I suggest making the crust in a food processor, but I also respect and understand the nostalgia of making crust by hand. This recipe is quite forgiving, as I accidentally added the egg mixture after the flour, but it still turned out fine.
Folding over the dough edges instead of pinching or decorating on a pie is much simpler. The most difficult part of this entire recipe is probably the cutting of the pears. You want them thin but enough to stay intact and have some bite to it. When a slice comes off, because it will, do not fret. Just make sure to keep it in order and when you gently place it on the frangipane, the frangipane will bake it all together.
I guarantee if you show up to your office Christmas party or Friendsmas, people will be calling you Julia Child the rest of the night.
The last time I made this, I added the brown butter drizzle and while it doesn’t add a ton flavour wise, it gives the pears great colour, as visible in the photo above.
Are you inspired to make this galette during the holiday season? Let me know in the comments below and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (1/4 cup) of chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
Heavy cream as needed
¾ cup skin-on hazelnuts
⅓ cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
2 Bosc pears
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cardamon
Galette Dough (from NYT Cooking)
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or in a large bowl, pulse or mix together flour, sugar and salt. In a measuring cup, lightly beat the egg, then add just enough cream to get to 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.
Add butter to flour mixture and pulse or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to break up the butter. If using a food processor, do not over-process; you need chickpea-size chunks of butter. Drizzle the egg mixture (up to 1/4 cup) over the dough and pulse or stir until it just starts to come together but is still mostly large crumbs.
Put dough on lightly floured counter and pat it together to make one uniform piece. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough out to a 12-inch round (it can be ragged). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill while preparing the filling.
Filling & Assembly
Make your frangipane by processing hazelnuts and granulated sugar in a food processor with a steel blade to a fine paste, about 3 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of butter, coconut flour, salt, and egg. Pulse until smooth and set aside.
Prepare the topping by browning 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Keep stirring until bubbles subside and dark brown flecks form. Set aside.
Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamon in a small bowl to top before baking.
Cut each pair in half lengthwise and remove core and stem. Leaving a 1/4” space at the top where the stem was, carefully cut 1/8” slices. Some slices will break apart BUT THAT’S OKAY. Just make sure to keep them in order. Once you fan them out and bake, no one will know!
Spread frangipane evenly onto prepared dough round, leaving a 1" border. Gently place your pear halves and fan out the slices so they cover the frangipane. It’s easiest to place the top of the pear at the center and fan out from their. (Some of my photos show a “misplaced” pear in the bottom right. I was trying to do something different but failed. But honestly, it will all tasted the same!)
Drizzle browned butter on top of entire galette in a circular motion. Don’t forget to brush the crust as well! Sprinkle the entire galette (plus crust) with spiced sugar mixture.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden and your frangipane is bubbly and toasty. Cool for at least 10 minutes before deciding how to serve. Ice cream, crème fraîche, whipped cream… all good choices with some freshly chopped hazelnuts for extra crunch!