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Here in the second week of August, it's hard to believe that fall is just around the corner. It's been a wonderful summer for produce, with a bounty that is seemingly endless. I bought a quart of strawberries in the market the other day even though more timely temptations, like peaches, nectarines, and early plums beckoned. The berries were still delicious, but a shadow of what they were back in June. Since I'd waited for them all year, I didn't care that here in August they are slightly less flavorful and sweet. I decided to use them in a way that would bring out all of their best qualities, as filling for a jammy, buttery galette.
Galettes are the scrappy, easygoing cousins of pie. Lacking carefully crimped edges and slitted tops, they are all about rustic elegance, ease for the baker, and a perfectly flaky crust. Because galettes require just one large, rolled out sheet of dough and minimal shaping, the dough gets less stressed and the butter is more likely to stay cold, even on the hottest of days. Both of these factors add up to a crust that is more tender and crisp. Additionally, their lower fruit-to-crust ratio and even exposure to the oven's heat allows the fruit to bake more thoroughly and caramelize on top. This helps concentrate the flavors, which is especially useful if you're using fruit nearing the end of its season.
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About the author: Lauren Weisenthal has logged many hours working in restaurant kitchens and bakeries of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is a graduate of the Artisan Bread Baking and Pastry Arts programs at the French Culinary Institute. You can follow her on Twitter at @evillagekitchen.