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I would love to say that one day I will own a house with a giant backyard garden. There will be fruit trees and berry bushes and rows of lettuces so precious even Alice Waters will be impressed. But the truth is I'm pretty much set on living in a city, which means that pint-sized herb pots are about as much as I'm going to get. That's okay—there is still gratification in coaxing a one-inch rosemary sprout into a solid half-foot spike, or watching basil leaves go wild in the summer heat.
Besides, I'm pretty obsessed with adding herbs to baked goods and desserts. Favorite pairings include lemon and rosemary, raspberries and mint, strawberries and basil, and blackberries and thyme. It was this last combination that inspired me to make this simple summer galette.
Galette can refer to a variety of flat, round pastries and cakes (especially in France), but stateside, the term most often refers to free-form tarts made without a tart pan. I love their ease of preparation, but it's really the look that gets me, something about the uneven edges and lopsided folds is more enticing to my stomach than the prettiest, most perfectly made pastry ever is.
For this version, I swapped the traditional pâte sucrée for a cream cheese-based tart dough that I love. It's a favorite because it can be made in the food processor and is easy to roll out and shape, even straight out of the fridge. Best of all, it bakes up tender and just a little tangy.
The steps for making this galette are pretty straightforward—first, you make the thyme-scented dough, which takes about 3 minutes in the food processor. Then you let the dough chill in the fridge, an important step because when the dough rests, the gluten has time to relax, meaning it won't shrink in the oven. While the dough is chilling, blackberries are mixed with sugar, lemon juice, and a thickener (in this case I used Minute tapioca, but cornstarch works as well.) This too needs a few minutes to sit so that the berries can begin to absorb the sugar and the tapioca can absorb the juices.
Once the dough has rested, it's rolled out into a 12-inch circle. The key to making a galette is to mound the berries in the middle of the circle, leaving a 2-inch border around the perimeter. This border is gently lifted, folded, and pleated over the berries, creating a (charmingly crooked) crust.
The final galette is simple yet complex in flavor. The tender, thyme-scented crust gives way to a layer of sweet, jammy, juicy blackberries. I like to serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to really put it over the top.
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