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Gluten-Free Sour Cherry Galette with Buckwheat Flour

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I was in the baking section of a food store one time just looking at things and I saw some buckwheat flour, thought it was interesting, and grabbed it. Despite the name, buckwheat contains no wheat and actually bears no genetic relation to the grain so it is therefore 100% gluten-free.

I am a haphazard gluten-free baker. I usually bake with regular gluten-based flour (mostly because I'm lazy), and when it comes to gluten-free baking, I am rather careless about things like mixing several flours to get the optimal flavor/pliability. I fly by the seat of my pants, and I kind of tend to wing it when I do. At the super market, I also found some fresh sour cherries from upstate New York. I grabbed two baskets, to be sure I had enough for several failed tries.

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At home with the flour, I wanted to see what would happen if I followed a regular short-crust recipe, modifying a little as I went. Overall, to my surprise, this worked.

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I decided to make a galette, since I knew it would be more accommodating. A galette is basically the same thing as a pie, except it is made without a pie pan as a sort of free-form pastry. Its beauty is in its imperfection, and it is a lot more forgiving since as soon as you roll it out, you can just stuff it with filling, fold the edges and bake it without having to worry about transferring it into a pie pan.

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Buckwheat flour offers a sandy texture, both when working with it and consuming it. It holds together well, and overall it is a lot easier to work with than other gluten-free flours I've tried, and the end-result will not suffer if it is not mixed with other flours. Baked, it is rich in taste and darkish brown in color.

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Untouched, the flour is light gray in color but becomes the color of wet dirt when it comes in contact with moisture. Once it is mixed with liquid, it becomes very pliable and forms into dough rather easily. When molding, it behaves almost like gluten-based dough, but it is prone to tearing (which is why I thought a galette would be a more optimal use rather than pie, but with care, you can also try it as a regular pie crust). Due to the pliability of the flour, the tears can be easily repaired.

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Also, unlike regular pie crust made with wheat flour, whose flavor tends to fade into the background when baked, letting the filling take the center stage, the taste of the buckwheat crust is quite prominent. Full of rich, earthy flavor, it is not for those wishing for a simple, bland pie, and it certainly makes for a far more interesting dessert.

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Cognizant of the fact that sour cherries are not readily available, I've also included a recipe for a blueberry filling. However, for those who cannot find fresh sour cherries, canned ones work well too (I've used them here and here). Please note that blueberries will not require as much sugar as sour cherries.

For other gluten-free short-crust pastry dough, check out these coconut tartlets.


Buckwheat Pastry Dough
(enough for a single-crust 9-inch pie or galette)

You will need:

1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, plus more for dusting
2 tbsp coarse sugar, plus more for decorating
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
10 tbsp cold butter
1 tbsp sour cream
2-3 tbsp ice cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash (optional)

Directions:

1.Prepare the filling (see below - use one or the other). Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper and set aside. Cut up the butter into 1/4 inch pieces and place in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
2. In a bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, sugar, salt an cinnamon. Add the cold butter. Mix in the butter with the flour by quickly rubbing the butter pieces between your index finger and your thumb, until the flour has darkened and becomes crumbly and all of the butter is blended in. Mix in the sour cream. The mixture should start to stick together. Add the water, one table spoon at a time, until dough forms. Knead the dough a few times (if it is too moist, add more flour; too dry, add a few drops more of water). Form into a ball and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
3. Place the dough on a dusted work surface lined with parchment paper. Dust your rolling pin. Roll out to a 10 inch circle. Carefully lift the parchment paper with the dough and invert the dough onto the baking sheet. Add the filling. Fold the sides over the filling. Brush  the folded edges with the egg wash if using. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is bubbling vigorously and the crust is slightly golden and hard when tapped with your finger.
4. Remove to a cooling rack, let rest for 20-30 minutes before serving to let the filling solidify.


Sour Cherry Filling:
(enough for 1 pie or galette)

You will need:

3 cups sour cherries, pitted
4 tbsp coarse sugar, or more to taste
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp corn starch

Directions:

Mix pitted cherries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and corn starch. Let stand as you make pastry dough for the galette. Place the cherries in a colander over a bowl, let the juices strain for five minutes before adding to the galette.

Blueberry Filling:
(enough for 1 pie or galette)

You will need:

1 pint blueberries
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp coarse sugar, or more to taste
1 tbsp corn starch

Directions:

Mix blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and corn starch. Let stand as you make pastry dough for the galette. Strain the juices before adding to the galette.
 

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