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Eric Akis: It's rhubarb galette season!

Slice, plate and top each serving of this seasonal galette with a dollop of whipped cream, or scoop of vanilla or strawberry ice cream.
Slices of this seasonal galette can be served with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla or strawberry ice cream. ERIC AKIS

I bought some Saanich grown rhubarb at a market the other day, came home, wanted to make a dessert with it, and then looked to see what I had on hand. In my pantry I found basic baking supplies, flour, sugar and spices, in my freezer, puff pastry — everything I needed to make a galette, which is what I did.

A galette is kind of like a free-form pie/tart, where the pastry is set right on a baking sheet and topped with a filling. The edges of the pastry are then folded over the outer edges of the filling, leaving a generous opening in the middle that allows the filling to be seen.

To make the filling, I sliced and tossed my rhubarb with some lemon zest and some of the flour, sugar and spices noted above. The filling will look quite dry when you set it on the pastry, but when baked in the galette, moisture will seep out of the rhubarb as it cooks and becomes tender, creating a nice moist filling.

Once you’ve made the galette oven ready, you chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Doing so firms up the puff pastry and makes it puff better when the galette is set in a hot oven and baked.

After baking it, I glazed the top of the galette like a pastry shop might, by brushing it with melted apricot jam, which gave the galette a nice shiny look and the tart rhubarb and bit more sweetness.

Rhubarb Galette

Slice, plate and top each serving of this seasonal galette with a dollop of whipped cream, or scoop of vanilla or strawberry ice cream.

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus chilling time

Cooking time: 30 to 35 minutes

Makes: four to six servings

1/2 (397 gram) pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (see Note 1)

3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut, widthwise, into 1/2-inch thick slices (see Note 2)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp all purpose flour, plus some for rolling

1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

• pinches ground nutmeg, ground clove and salt

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup apricot jam (see Note 3 and Eric’s options)

2 tsp water

• whipped cream or vanilla or strawberry ice cream, to taste

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and gently roll into a 10-inch square (it does not have to be perfectly formed). Set the pastry in the centre of the baking sheet.

Place the rhubarb, sugar, 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. Spoon this mixture on the puff pastry, leaving a 2-inch border of clean dough. Fold the clean edges of pastry up and partially over the filling, leaving the centre open. Brush the top and sides of the pastry with beaten egg (save the rest of the beaten egg for breakfast). Chill the galette in the refrigerator 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake galette in the middle of the oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and rich golden on the top, sides and bottom. Set the baking sheet on a baking rack and let galette cool to room temperature.

Place the apricot jam and water in a small pot, set over medium heat, and heat and stir the jam until just melted. Brush the top and sides of the galette with the melted jam. Let the jam cool and set. The galette is now ready to slice into wedges and serve.

Note 1: I used Tenderflake brand puff pastry, which is sold frozen at most grocery stores. A 397-gram package of it contains two sections of puff pastry. I partially thawed the pastry, cut out one of the sections, and then thawed, rolled and used it for this recipe. I wrapped and refroze the other section of puff pastry, to thaw and use at another time.

Note 2: Six to eight stalks of rhubarb, depending on their size, should yield the sliced amount needed here. Be sure to slice the rhubarb a 1/2-inch thick. Any wider than that and it won’t be cooked through when the galette is baked and ready to come out of the oven.

Note 3: Apricot jam is sold in the jam aisle of most supermarkets. I used Smucker’s brand.

Eric’s options: If you don’t want to glaze the galette with apricot jam, simply dust it with icing sugar before serving.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

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