A galette has all the major components of a traditional pie, but requires much less effort. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

Sometimes pie isn’t as easy as pie. A galette is easier: a sheet of pastry with the edges pulled up only enough to contain the fruit filling. And similar to pie, a galette can convert any kind of fruit into a perfectly lovely dessert — not only dessert, but even a main dish when the fruit in question is a tomato.

A summertime neighbor bragged that his wife made the best galettes all summer long, starting with the strawberries he was growing abundantly, moving on to blueberries and then peaches. I called her up and asked, “What is your recipe and would you share it?” She laughed.

Turns out her recipe is to keep a package of premade pie crust on hand at all times. Spread it out, toss together the fruit du jour — sometimes even combinations — and sweeten it slightly, then pull up the edges, pinch, and bake.

Cruising the web for further galette advice, I saw a picture of a tomato galette. That reminded me of a wonderful cheese and tomato pie a friend made when I visited for lunch, thinking it might be adaptable for a tomato galette. Sure enough.

I made a main dish tomato galette with half the pie crust recipe and a plum and pear dessert galette with the other half, and served a salad, too. More specific instructions on the tomato one are below.

The plum and pear galette needed only three plums and half a pear cut into bite sized pieces, sprinkled with about a tablespoon of sugar, plus a teaspoon or so of instant tapioca. These I mixed together with a few flips of a spoon. I spread some peach jam over the pastry, dropped the fruit in the middle then tucked the edges up, pinching them together on the perimeter to hold its shape.

The tomato galette made use of some soft goat cheese I had, to which I added dill and parsley and enough olive oil to smooth it out. I spread that on the pastry, shredded a little fresh basil over it, then laid on the tomato slices that I had drained on paper towels. You could use ricotta, Boursin, shredded mozzarella or cheddar, whatever you have. You could add red onions, or a little chopped green or red pepper. You could take it in a pizza direction or stick more closely to a simple tomato tart. You can make it thicker with a couple layers of tomatoes or leave it at one layer.

You can use your favorite pie pastry recipe for your galette crusts, or find a recipe specifically for galettes in a cookbook or on a website. Or you can do as my neighbor did, and employ a pair of premade pastry rounds.

Galettes look dressy and taste very good.

Tomato Galette

Serves two as a main dish, four as an appetizer.

One to two tomatoes

1/3 to 1/2 cup of soft cheese

2 teaspoons dried, crushed dill

1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley

1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Pastry sufficient for one 9-inch crust

Salt and pepper.

Shredded cheddar or mozzarella, optional

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the tomatoes thinly and drain on a paper towel.

Blend together the cheese, herbs and garlic.

Roll out your pastry to a 9 or 10-inch round, and spread the cheese mixture on it, maintaining a 2-inch margin.

Lay the drained slices of tomato over the cheese, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Turn the edges of the pastry up toward the tomatoes and pinch the perimeter.

Sprinkle a little grated cheese over the top, if you choose.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

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Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...