Why It Works
- Vanilla boosts the galette's aroma without overwhelming the pears.
- Cardamom adds a light, almost herbal freshness.
- Chinese five-spice powder creates a well-spiced yet delicate profile.
- Tapioca starch forms a light, clear gel that's never too thick or gloppy.
Sweet and mellow pears require a delicate touch to bring out their best, which is why I rely on subtle aromatics, like vanilla bean, Chinese five-spice powder, and ground cardamom, to complement their natural flavor. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar cuts through the fruit's simple sweetness with an equally autumnal aroma. To keep the pears tender rather than mushy, try varieties like Bosc and Seckel, or slightly underripe Anjous (whether red or green).
- 1/2 batch Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough
- For the Filling:
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 1/4 ounces plain or toasted sugar (about 3 tablespoons; 35g)
- 3/4 ounce tapioca starch (about 3 tablespoons; 20g)
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 26 ounces crisp, semi-tart pears, such as Bosc or Seckel (about 3 large pears; 735g)
- 1/2 ounce apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon; 15g)
- For the Egg Wash:
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 ounce heavy cream (1 tablespoon; 15g)
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
Prepare Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough according to the recipe. After rolling, folding, and dividing dough in half, roll one portion into a 14-inch round. Transfer to a parchment-lined half sheet pan, cover with plastic, and refrigerate to relax and chill dough, at least 2 hours or up to 24.
For the Filling: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F (200°C). In a medium bowl, rub vanilla seeds into sugar, then whisk in tapioca starch, salt, Chinese five-spice powder, and cardamom. Reserve vanilla pod for another use.
Wash pears (no need to peel), then quarter, core, and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Measure 20 ounces of pears (about 3 heaping cups; 565g) into the bowl of spiced vanilla sugar, drizzle with apple cider vinegar, and toss until sugar has dissolved.
Arrange pears over chilled dough in a roughly 10-inch ring, tiling the slices like dominoes. Drizzle any remaining liquid from filling over fruit. With a sharp knife, cut a series of slits in the border of dough, spacing them about 5 inches apart. Fold dough over pears, tugging gently so the edge of each segment tightly overlaps the one that came before. Refrigerate galette and prepare the egg wash.
For the Egg Wash: Whisk egg, egg yolk, cream, and salt in a small bowl. Brush over chilled dough in a thin, even layer (including under each flap). This will give the crust a glossy, golden sheen and help bind the pieces together.
Bake until galette is golden brown around the edges and bubbling in the center, about 35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve warm, with dollops of whipped cream if desired.
Resist the temptation to spice the fruit with cinnamon, which only falls flat in this sweet and mellow galette.