I remember when I was a little kid, I would always watch the French Chef reruns on PBS at my grandparents’ house. I loved Julia Child for the reasons we all love Julia Child, but especially for all her pedagogical quirks. Like, I loved the way she explained how to add nutmeg to something. She would hold the nutmeg grinder over the bowl, and run it over the rasp just a couple times to dramatize her point: “just a little speck in there. You don’t want people to taste it and say ‘nutmeg!'” In one video (which I have yet to find online), she holds a nutmeg grater with a crank over a big pot of something, and taps the crank with one finger, like she’s trying to diffuse a bomb. There’s something kind of funny about watching someone try very hard to emphasize understatement. It’s not an easy task, and one she handled with her usual charm and wit.
Indeed, it’s inherently difficult to convince people that they don’t need to rely on bold flavors. It’s hard to hit someone over the head with subtlety. It’s impossible to convince someone who loves adding eight cloves of garlic to everything that, in fact, sometimes less is more. But sometimes, flavors aren’t there to be bold, and are there to support the star of the dish. In the case of this (truly) dreamy galette, that star is the fig, and everything else is just trying to help the figs be the best they can be.
This galette is flavored with rosewater, cinnamon, and cardamom, but you shouldn’t be able to taste these notes very strongly in the finished pie (or else it would be called a “rosewater, cinnamon, cardamom fig galette”). They’re only present to highlight the figgy flavors, not to talk over them. If you’re expecting the galette to taste like a chelsea bun, you might even be a little disappointed—and while I think it would be totally delicious with way more cinnamon, I urge you to add the amount in the recipe and see what you think. The little bits of warm spices and floral rosewater really help the figs shine and taste even more like themselves. They’re the fairy dust that the galette needs to sparkle.
In addition to the beautiful flavor, there are a whole lot of other compelling reasons to make this galette:
1) It’s very low in added sugar. You only add one and a half tablespoons granulated sugar and one and a half tablespoons honey to the whole entire thing. The rest of the sweetness comes from the figs themselves. So, if you’re looking for something rich and sweet to serve for breakfast, without a lot of added sugar, this galette isn’t actually the worst thing for you (um, just ignore that stick of butter…).
2) Speaking of that stick of butter (what stick of butter?), this crust is unbelievable. The crust recipe below is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cream cheese crust, and there’s a lot to love about it. First, even though you use a food processor to make it, it turns out unbelievably flaky. I came up with with a different method of preparation to make it even flakier (you add the butter, and pulse it until it’s still very chunky, and then add the cream cheese). But even though this is one of the best crusts I’ve ever had, I think my favorite thing is that the recipe calls for three ounces of cream cheese, which means you have the perfect amount left for a galette filling. Yes, you heard me right—no leftover cream cheese!
3) Galettes are so much easier (and prettier?) than pies! I’m better at the kind of food styling that looks casually sophisticated, as I think most people are. Those pie crusts that require an exacto knife and three free hours are beautiful to look at on Instagram, but not easy to accomplish in real life. But this galette, on the other hand, will actually look worse if you try trim every bit of uneven edge away before folding the sides over. The more rustic, the better!
4) It’s fig season! Right now! Don’t miss it! (how’s that for subtlety?)Print
dreamy fig galette
crust adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cream cheese crust
food styling inspiration from Helen Goh and Yotam Ottolenghi
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: 8 servings
For the cream cheese crust:
- 165 grams all purpose flour (about 1 1/3 cups)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 110 grams (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 85 grams (3 ounces) cold cream cheese, sliced into a few pieces
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (teaspoons! not tablespoons!) cold apple cider vinegar
For the cream cheese filling:
- 142 grams (5 ounces) room temperature cream cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon rosewater**
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch cardamom
To assemble the galette:
- cream cheese crust dough (above)
- cream cheese filling (above)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey (divided)
- 12 ounces 1/4-inch-sliced fresh figs
- 1/4 teaspoon rosewater
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water
- cinnamon for sprinkling
- Make the cream cheese crust: Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and butter in a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse a few times just until the butter breaks down into smaller pieces (there should still be many lumps, but no whole pieces). Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and pulse until everything is incorporated, but still a bit lumpy. Add the water* and apple cider vinegar, and pulse until the mixture comes together into a ball. Mold the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes (I do this by putting the shaggy dough ball in plastic wrap, and then squeezing the plastic wrap to put pressure on it to turn it into a ball, and then I flatten it into a disc while it’s still wrapped).
- Make the cream cheese filling: Whisk together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, salt, rosewater, cinnamon, and cardamom until the mixture is completely smooth.
- Assemble and bake the galette: Flour the counter, and roll out the dough to about 12 to 14 inches in diameter (flour it as you go, and keep rotating to make it an even circle). Move it to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the center of the dough, leaving a couple inches of crust around the edges. Sprinkle the cream cheese evenly with the chopped walnuts, then drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of the honey. Arrange the figs over the surface, sprinkle them evenly with rosewater, and drizzle with the rest of the honey (1/2 tablespoon). Fold one side of the galette toward the center (the fold should happen at the point where the filling ends). Repeat with the remaining sides, and finish by tucking the final side under the first side.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F, and throw the galette into the freezer until the oven is ready (about 10 to 15 minutes). This will help the galette hold its shape.
- Brush the dough with egg wash, and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and the figs have caramelized slightly. Let it cool on the parchment for at least 15 minutes before serving (30 minutes to an hour is ideal). Dust with a pinch of extra cinnamon (don’t go overboard), and drizzle with a little extra honey, if desired.
* If you’re not weighing your ingredients, you should hold back a little bit of the water, and add it gradually, just until the dough ball forms. Or you might need to use a little extra water. But if you’re using an accurate scale, you should be able to just add everything at once, and trust that it’ll come together just fine.
** The rosewater, cinnamon, and cardamom are here to highlight the flavor of the figs. They make the figs taste even figgier, without stealing the spotlight. But if you want to add extra cinnamon, or even a tiny bit extra rosewater or cardamom, it’ll still be delicious, but it will become a cinnamon fig galette. Careful not to overdo it with the rosewater and cardamom.
This is a very special recipe! Buttery flaky crust, and a magical filling
It’s one of my faves!
I made this yesterday and it was AMAZING!! I had to resist eating the whole thing! It was my first time making a crust with a food processor (partly because I just got one and partly because I was told you couldn’t get a very flaky crust if you didn’t do it by hand??) and it was perfect!
aw I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
do you think that this be made ahead of time and frozen? i have a bounty of ripe figs and i’d like to make several of these, and hold a few for a weekend event. thanks … it looks delish!!!
Hi! Yes, absolutely! That is a fabulous idea, and they will keep very well tightly wrapped and sealed (thaw them in the fridge, and then reheat them slightly in the microwave before serving, just to take the stale off)
(Also, sorry for the delayed response—in the middle of an international move, and I’m not getting to comments as quickly as I’d like to. Hope I caught you in time!!)
oooh, that’s great! i ended up not needing to freeze it this weekend as i had time to make it the day of. it was absolutely delicious and everyone loved it!!! and so easy to prepare. forget making pies, i’m a galette convert. i plan to keep making these for friends as long as the tree keeps pumping out figs. thank you for such a great recipe and for your response 🙂 best of luck on your big move!
Ah I’m glad you were able to easily make it work! Can’t wait to hear what other things you are baking with all those figs! 😀
Hi Kathryn! This looks amazing. I was wondering if it’s ok to sub the cream cheese for mascarpone in equal ratios, and have a similar if not the same result. Thanks!
Aw thank you!! I think that could work really well! You might want to start by replacing just half of the cream cheese with an equal amount of mascarpone to see how that goes first. If my memory serves, mascarpone can get a little meltier than cream cheese, and it might not set as readily when baked. But its flavor and texture is so wonderful!!
I made two of these tonight (one for my family and one for my boyfriend’s family). They came out delicious! We have an enormous fig tree in our backyard and it’s loaded with fruit right now. Every day we pick all the ripe ones and by the next day there’s another bucketful ready to be picked. I wanted to do something with the figs besides just eating them fresh, so this recipe was exactly what I was looking for. The cheesecake filling was perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the figs and the crust was buttery and actually flaky! I always have a hard time getting my crusts to come out flaky so I am beyond excited that I got it right this time. Thanks a bunch!
Aw this makes me so happy!! And lucky you with such a productive fig tree! My grandmother has one too, but she always has to fight off the birds to get just a modest amount each season haha. I never even thought of this recipe as a good way to preserve figs (since the galette freezes really well). Thanks so much for sharing this! 🙂
I love galettes, and this looks and sounds so delicious!! Unfortunately I’ve never seen fresh figs for sale here in The Bahamas. I’ll have to tuck this in my back pocket for a dreamy future life.
Ooh that makes me think I should try experimenting with a dried fig galette version! Figs are so perishable, and hard to find even when they are in season.
Yes please! Dried figs! I often have a couple just so, or with a few walnuts, for an easy dessert haha.