Because Thanksgiving is going to be different this year, why not embrace it and celebrate with a new and totally different recipe? Rather than stick with the tried and true traditional Thanksgiving menu, perhaps this is the year we all need to introduce one new dish? One dish that makes the holiday a tad sweeter. 2020 could certainly use some love.
Dialing Back the Holiday Menu
In response to the different Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve paired down our menu to a few must-have dishes. A few dishes I can make ahead of time–like this and this–so I can relax on Thursday. For the first time, I can actually sit and watch the Macy’s Parade (and, yes, it will be different as well) instead of sneaking clips of songs and performances between chopping and sauteeing. Yes, it will be nice to finally not have to cook all day.
Our short menu features the traditional turkey, the mandatory roasted sweet potato and banana mash, another vegetable of my choosing (I don’t eat turkey) and my famous holiday salad. Light and tasty, colorful and fun, this salad packs mixed greens, fresh chunks of pear, toasted pecans, pomegranate seeds, blue cheese crumbles and a honey-Dijon vinaigrette. Even salad haters have fallen for this holiday salad.
A Welcome New Sweet Ending
Since it’s just the two of us, I want a new dessert. Something a bit more rustic and not as fussy as a perfect pie and definitely much less sweet than a pecan pie. Something that’s more representative of 2020.
A few weeks ago, Melissa Clark featured a pecan galette in the Food section of The New York Times. Galettes are less formal than a pie and their free-form shape makes them perfectly imperfect. Her contemporary and casual spin on the historically Karo-syrup sweet pecan pie we all know and love made this Karo-free pecan galette that much more alluring. The fact that this recipe lingered in my mind was all the inspiration I needed to bring it to life. This version is just sweet enough with a generous splash of rum and freshly grated ginger that brilliantly balances the flavors.
Maybe Not Easier, But This Pie is Perfect for 2020
Truth be told, this galette is not necessarily any easier to make than a full-blown, traditional pecan pie. In fact, it’s best to make the crust and the filling the day before you want to bake and serve it as they need to chill thoroughly.
But when it comes to rolling out the galette, it’s much easier than the beautiful picture-perfect pie crust that can be a painstaking process of pinching and crimping. If it’s round, fine. Oblong, totally ok. Square, no worries. Whatever shape it is, let it be.
This “let it be” motto is one I encourage we all carry with us through the holidays. Everyone is walking on eggshells these days. If someone says something that makes you want to strangle them, remember to breathe. And let it be. We’re all doing the best we can. This pecan galette should help make Thanksgiving 2020 a bit sweeter, but not too sweet.
From my casa to yours, wishing you and yours a different and very Happy Thanksgiving with a generous serving of gratitude.
Pecan Galette with Dark Rum and Fresh Ginger
If you love pecan pie, but struggle with the whole Karo syrup thing, let this free-form galette be the solution. Free from Karo syrup, this pie uses only coconut sugar as the sweetener and calls for processed pecans in the filling which add texture and oomph. The shortbread-like crust is basted with egg wash and sprinkled with coconut sugar and a touch of Maldon salt making it crispy and tasty.
For the crust
- 1 large pastured egg at room temperature
- 1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour if not gluten-free, you can use all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into chunks, I use Earth Balance, soy-free
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into chunks
- 1 large pastured egg at room temperature, beaten
- 1 tablespoon dark rum or bourbon or brandy
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Maldon salt for sprinkling on crust before baking
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving
To made the crust
Crack the egg into a measuring cup and beat with a fork. Add enough cold water to measure 1/3 cup. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the egg wash in a small container, cover and place in the fridge. You will use this to brush on the crust before baking.
You'll need a food processor to make this dough--and you'll use it again to make the filling, so no need to wash it.
Combine the flour, coconut sugar and salt in the work bowl and process two or three times to blend.
Add cubed butter and pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized pellets.
Drizzle in the egg wash and pulse until it just comes together, making sure not to overprocess.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and squeeze it so it all comes together to form a ball. You may need to add a few drops of water to bring all of the crumbs in, which is totally fine. Flatten the ball into a disc, cover in plastic wrap and chill at least two hours, overnight, if possible and up to three days.
To make the filling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place all of the pecan halves on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until toasty and you can just begin to smell the pecan oil. Turn the oven off when you remove the pecans.
Let the pecans cool and when ready, separate 1/2 cup of pecans and set aside. You will use these to decorate the top of the galette before it bakes.
Put remaining cup of pecans in the food processor with the coconut sugar and process until finely ground.
Pulse in the butter, egg, alcohol, vanilla, ginger, allspice and salt and process until smooth.
To prepare the galette
Place a piece of parchment paper on a work surface. Unwrap the dough and place it in the center of the paper. Top with another piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an 11-inch space. Expect it to be ragged at the edges. Leave the dough sandwiched in the parchment paper, transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet.
Remove the top piece of parchment paper and spoon the pecan mixture onto the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
Top with reserved pecans and gently fold the dough over the filling edge, pleating as needed to hold it together. The dough will break apart as you do this, but pinch it back together and it will be fine. The goal is the filling stays in the crust.
Place galette in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, while you heat the oven to 375 degrees.
When ready, brush the dough with the reserved egg wash and water mixture. If it's thick, add another half teaspoon to loosen it. Sprinkle the dough with a generous dose of coconut sugar and then a light dusting of flaky sea salt, such as Maldon.
Bake the galette for 25-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.
When ready to serve, slice and add a dollop of whipped cream or quenelle of vanilla ice cream.