Twice as Tasty

Huckleberry-Rhubarb Galette

An early start to huckleberry season has yielded dense, sweet patches ideal for pairing with tangy fruit

By Julie Laing
Photo by Julie Laing.

Huckleberries have been ripening early and abundantly this year. It’s anyone’s guess how long the season will run, so we’ve already sought out low-elevation foraging grounds.

Even when we stumble on large, prolific patches and put more in our containers than our mouths, picking hucks can be slow, hot work. Rather than pouring all of our treasure into a pie or pot of jam, I spread these little flavor bombs more widely. Just a handful can star in a batch of Overnight Sourdough Pancakes, and they brighten every bite of Huckleberry and Cheese Crepes.

For a huckleberry dessert, I love the texture of a freeform tart known as a galette. The traditional pastry varies from yeasty to flaky, yet I find a buttery pie dough holds up to fresh or frozen fruit. A galette is meant to be rustic, so you don’t need to roll it perfectly or master fluted edges, and the open center keeps some of the juice from steaming and pooling.

I have made galettes that crossed the messy line. A mixed berry one was so juicy the filling gushed all over the pan. Instead of tossing in a thickener, I now choose a dense, sour fruit like rhubarb to balance huckleberries’ juiciness and sweetness and pair late-season berries with apples or pears. For a golden edge, brush the crust with a little egg white and sprinkle on coarse sugar before baking.

Huckleberry-Rhubarb Galette

Serves 6-8

1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ultrafine sugar

1/2 teaspoon flaky kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced

Zest of 1 small orange, divided

4–6 tablespoons ice-cold water

5 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided

1-1/2 cups huckleberries

1-1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Pinch of ground cloves

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Work in the butter and 1 teaspoon of orange zest with your fingertips until the dough becomes mealy. Drizzle in a tablespoon of water at a time, working it in briefly with your fingers, until the dough starts to cling together. On a piece of parchment paper, press the dough into a disk, wrap it up and chill for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a 12-inch circle and trim away any ragged edges. Transfer the circle to a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly mark off a 10-inch circle in the center of the dough. Sprinkle the marked-off area with 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Spread the berries and the rhubarb evenly over the sugared surface and sprinkle with the remaining sugar, orange zest and ground cloves.

Fold one edge of the dough to slightly cover the fruit, and then continue folding and pleating as you work around the circle; leave the center exposed but ensure no edge gaps would let the filling seep out.

Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden. Let cool slightly before cutting.

Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.