the ideal kind of day

blueberry galette | the merry gourmet

A geriatric dog, a yellow lab, greeted us in the shade of the oak trees that bordered the orderly rows of blueberry bushes. She eased herself up off the ground and began slowly wagging her tail. Her movements were hindered by arthritis or old age, or maybe she just didn’t care to hurry.  I didn’t blame her. It was a beautiful Saturday morning on the blueberry farm. There was a warm breeze and only an occasional cloud in the sky. It was the ideal kind of day to take things in stride.

The man standing behind the folding table seemed to be in charge of berry sales. His table was piled with several stacks of large white buckets, a kitchen scale, a pile of white plastic grocery bags, and an open ledger. The tinkling of wind chimes arrived with the breeze. The man wore plaid, as farmers in storybooks do, but he was in his late twenties, or maybe early thirties, and had a head full of coal-black hair. He handed us two buckets, one for each kid, which would hold six pounds of blueberries each.

“They’re $6 a pound,” he said. “But don’t go overboard. A family earlier this morning filled four buckets to the top. They weren’t happy when I told them they owed $144.”

We thanked him for his warning, and I made a mental note to monitor our haul a little more closely. The kids, each swinging a bucket, led the way to the rows of blueberry bushes. We passed another plaid-wearing farmer along the way, a man who resembled the berry salesman but who was at least forty years older and walked with a limp.

“You know you got to try the berries on each bush before you pick from it, right?” he said with a grin on his face, his eyes bright with mirth. “How else will you know that the blueberries are good ones?”

The kids looked at him hesitantly, pondering this, and then nodded in unison.

fresh blueberries

We took the old farmer’s advice that day, as we plucked the ripest blueberries off their clusters to fill our buckets. It was nearly lunchtime, after all, and an opportune time for a snack. The darkest and largest of the berries were a deep indigo, nearly black in color, and the size of a nickel. These were our favorite to sample and the sweetest of them all. The smaller, dime-sized berries were sweet in a more subtle way, especially if their dark blue color was uniform. Occasionally we snagged a blueberry with a hint of magenta on its underside. We learned quickly to fish these under-ripe berries out of our buckets and toss them away, for the birds or the bugs to devour later.

As we picked, lifting branches to peer inside each bush (where the best berries hid in the shade from intrusive fingers), the kids and I deliberated on dishes we would make with the blueberries. Smoothies topped the list of suggestions, but a dessert was desired by both of my children.

“You should make a blueberry pie, Mommy,” said my Oliver.

A blueberry pie would be wonderful, of course. Or maybe a blueberry cobbler? Or blueberry ice cream? Blueberry muffins were a no-brainer. I considered a blueberry tart.

“I have another idea,” I said to Oliver. “I think you’ll like it.”

He liked it very much, in fact. We all liked it very much. The blueberry galette was the ideal dessert for that ideal kind of day.

blueberry galette | the merry gourmet

Yield: 8 servings

Blueberry Galette

I've used my favorite pie crust recipe for this recipe, but if you prefer to use a store-bought, rolled pie-crust, feel free to do so as a time saving step. The homemade crust, though, really elevates this galette to a new, more delicious, level.


Ingredients for All-Butter Crust:

3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2-1/4 sticks (18 tablespoons; 257 grams) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup ice

Ingredients for Galette:

1 pound (3 cups) fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
Pie dough for one 9-inch pie
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked together with 1 teaspoon water)
Coarse sugar (such as Demerara or Turbinado), for finishing


Make Pie Crust Dough:

Whisk together in a large bowl the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cubes of butter and toss with the flour, coating the butter pieces with flour. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until pea-size pieces of butter remain.

Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice into a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the liquid to the flour mixture; mix together with a bench scraper, spatula, or your hands. Continue to add more of the ice water to the flour, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. If the dough is still crumbly with dry bits, add a little more ice water and continue to mix and bring together the dough into a ball.

Divide the dough in half, form each half into a flat disc, and wrap each well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 1 hour) before rolling.

NOTE: For the Galette recipe below, you will only need one of the discs; the other can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Galette:

Heat oven rack to 425 degrees, with oven rack in middle position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Stir together blueberries, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice, salt, and granulated sugar in a large bowl until combined.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pie dough out into a roughly 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer the pastry round to the center of the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon the blueberry filling into the center of the pastry, leaving a 1-1/2 inch border around the edge. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pinching the dough tightly together at the seams, while leaving the opening in the center. Chill in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. After the rest in the freezer, dot the blueberry filling with the butter pieces, lightly brush pastry with the egg wash, then sprinkle the pastry with coarse sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until blueberry filling is bubbling and pastry is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Galette is barely adapted from this recipe from Gourmet, July 2004. The use of cider vinegar in the pie crust was inspired by the The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book all butter crust recipe.

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8 Responses to “the ideal kind of day”

  1. 1
    Jaime — May 24, 2014 @ 8:37 am

    I’ve never been berry picking but am always reading about it on blogs. It sounds divine… you’ve inspired me to go soon!

  2. 2
    Colleen — May 24, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    Such a simple and elegant looking dessert!

  3. 3

    Mine. All mine!

  4. 4
    Gail — May 24, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

    Beautifully written story, MJ. And, the galette is the icing on the cake. 😛

  5. 5
    Mimi — May 24, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

    What a beautiful post! And a wonderful recipe.

  6. 6
    Paula — May 25, 2014 @ 6:49 am

    I absolutely loved this piece! Drinking my morning coffee in the sunroom today I was transported into that blueberry field and experienced the wonderful day right along with you. Fabulous writing. The galette looks scrumptious!

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  8. 7
    Kathryn — May 26, 2014 @ 6:55 am

    This was such a lovely post, I felt like I was right there with you.

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