Galettes Are Way Easier than Pie. Here’s Why.

published Nov 9, 2022
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Credit: Kelli Foster

When you think of a galette, what’s the first thing you imagine? For me, it’s a warm circle of flaky pastry loaded with peaches and berries that have been cooked with a touch of sugar and some lemon zest. The rustic cousin of pie, galettes beg for a big dollop of whipped cream and a flurry of powdered sugar. 

But that’s not all a galette can be. Depending on where you live in the world, you may consider a galette as more of a flat cake, as in the Galette des Rois or King Cake traditionally eaten on Epiphany, or you may conjure, instead, a buckwheat crepe loaded with savory fillings, like the Galette Breton. In any case, a galette is a delectable combination of pastry and filling. Let’s explore a bit more about the various types of galettes. 

Galettes 101

Galette refers to various kinds of French pastries, including crusty circular cakes; free-form pies; buckwheat crepes; and, in French Canada, large, soft cookies. In the U.S., galettes are most often thought of as a freeform pie, usually filled with seasonal fruit, like berries or stone fruit, although they may also be savory (like this caramelized mushroom galette).

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term galette dates back to the Old French galete and gale in the Norman dialect, meaning “kind of flat cake.”

What is the difference between a pie, a galette, and a tart?

Whereas pies are baked in a sloped pie pan, often with a top crust or open with crimped edges, galettes are freeform, and baked right on a baking sheet. The edges of the galette are folded over the center filling, leaving a wide opening from which the filling can be seen. Tarts, on the other hand, are baked in a pan with a removable bottom or in such a way that they can be unmolded before serving.

What are the different types of galettes?

The term galette can mean different things, depending on who’s making it. Three common types include the Galette Breton, Galette de Rois, and Fruit Galette.

Galette Breton: This is the French term for a savory buckwheat crêpe that’s associated with Brittany, France. It includes the Galette Complète, which is a buckwheat crepe filled with meat, cheese, and an egg.

Galette des Rois: Also known as pithiviers in France and King Cake in the U.S., this is a flat cake, often made of puff pastry dough, in which a small charm called a fève has been hidden before baking. This is a sweet cake often filled with frangipane, and it’s typically served for Mardis Gras and Ephiphany. 

Galette Comtoise: Popular in Franche-Comté in Eastern France, this variation on the Galette des Rois uses pate choux dough that’s been flavored with orange blossom.

Fruit Galette: This type of galette is a freeform pie that’s shaped around a central filling, which is often seasonal fruit but may also include savory ingredients like potatoes, mushrooms, or tomatoes.

A Few of Our Favorite Galette Recipes