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It’s one of those unfair life situations: just when the best, sweetest, juiciest fruit is ripe, it’s too damn hot to turn the oven on to bake a pie. I mean, it was over 122 F/50C in parts of Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona yesterday and they’re not expecting that to change soon. You just go into survival mode when it’s that hot. Pie doesn’t even cross your mind. You are just trying to not cook to death.

I almost never turn the oven on from June through mid-September. But summer pies are legendary. Jesse Colin Young sang about them in “Ridgetop.”

I’ve got hundred foot pine trees
That just love to dance in the wind

And a yard full of bushes
That turn into pie in July

So what’s a piemaker to do when the summer fruit is plentiful but you don’t dare heat the house up any more than it already is? Turn to the barbecue. Instead of making a two-crust fruit pie, make one giant crust and use it like a hobo pack to envelope all the filling.

This is called a gallette in French – a flat, round(ish) pastry filled with fruit.



  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons very cold butter
  • ice water

Directions for making pie crust are here.

When you’ve made the crust, wrap it in waxed paper and store in the fridge for at least 20 minutes – an hour or two is better –  until very cold.


  • 2-4 cups fresh summer fruit (slice fruit like peaches or apricots thinly as well as oversized berries; leave small berries whole)
  • sugar to taste (I use two or three tablespoons, depending on how sweet the fruit is)
  • tapioca

Combine fruit, sugar, and tapioca, and let sit until ready to make the pie. If you use the larger BB-sized tapioca like I do here, let the mixture sit an hour or two to allow the tapioca to soften and start absorbing moisture.

(If you really feel you can’t bear to make a crust, buy one of those refrigerated pie crusts in a box and roll it out really thin on a floured board.)

Roll out the crust on a floured board. Do not worry if the crust isn’t perfectly round. It’s fine if it looks like a map of France.  Roll it thinly to get a very large crust.


Patch any holes with dough from the edges and a dab of water.


Using a dough scraper or spatula if necessary, fold the crust in half and then in quarters, and transfer it to an aluminum pie plate. Unfold and let the edges flop over the sides.


Spoon the filling into the center. Here I used plums and peaches.


Then flop the edges over the filling.


If not baking right away, refrigerate the pie. Do not set the pie near the barbecue because you want the crust to stay cold and not allow the butter bits in it to soften.

When ready to bake, preheat gas grill to 350 (charcoal BBQ, use this guide to determine temperature.)

Invert an empty aluminum pie plate or other aluminum pan on the grill.


Set the pie on top on that, and close the lid.


Monitor the temperature to keep it between 350 to 375.

A smaller pie with about 2 cups filling will take about 25 minutes. This larger pie with four cups filling took about 40 minutes. It’s done when the filling is bubbling and the crust feels crisp instead of soft.

At this point you can remove the pie, or you can set it directly on the grill for about five minutes to let the bottom crust brown. Watch it carefully (lift a section of the pie up gently with a spatula) because it can go from golden brown to burned fast.


Cut into fat wedges to serve. Makes about four servings.








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Back in 2007, I made a version of jeweled rice for Thanksgiving, and as I recall it went over big. That recipe included steps to create tah-dig, crusty browned bits of golden rice that are pried out of the pot and sprinkled over the finished dish as a buttery, crunchy nutlike topping. (If you are interested, that recipe is here.)

This version came from an article in The Guardian. Of course I tweaked it a bit. For instance, the original calls for 75 grams (3/4 cup) of orange peel fried in oil and used to decorate the rice. Maybe I don’t have the right kinds of friends, but every time I have added large amounts of orange or lemon peel to anything, afterwards I would find discreet little mounds of peel pushed to the sides of their plates.

Also, the original recipe says, “Serves 4 as a starter.”  Four? Four what?  Wolverines? As a starter?   This makes a LOT.  I piled this onto the biggest platter I own – one I reserve for 25-pound turkeys – and it was barely large enough. There were ten people at dinner and there was still at least four or five cups left over.

I won’t deny that there are a lot of fiddly steps, but they are done in advance and are not difficult. I suggest putting each of the toppings in its own little bowl and covering it with clear plastic wrap so that final assembly goes smoothly. I’ll also admit that my conversion of metric-American measurements are pretty loose.


The toppings:

  • 1/2 cup salted pistachios, shelled (40 grams)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (40 grams)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, rinsed in boiling water and drained  (60 grams)
  • 3/4 cup golden (white) raisins, rinsed in boiling water and drained (60 grams)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 red onion, chopped small
  • butter and oil for frying

Chop the pistachios,  put in a bowl and cover.

Chop the almonds,  fry in a small amount of oil until they smell toasty, then put in a bowl and cover.

Fry the cranberries and the raisins separately in a small amount of butter until they plump up a bit, then put each in their own bowl and cover.

Fry the onion in a little oil until it just softens, then put in a bowl and cover.

Fry the shredded carrot in a little oil for about 1 minute, then put in a bowl and cover.

The rice:

  • 3 cups basmati rice (600 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron, soaked in boiling water (you can do this when you are prepping the toppings)
  • 3 teaspoons “rice spice” (advieh puleo) – 2 teaspoons cinnamon plus 1 teaspoon mixed ground cardamom, nutmeg, and crushed dried rose petals

Bring 6 cups (1200 grams or two parts water to one part rice) water to a boil and add the rice. Stir rice, then cover and reduce to lowest heat. After ten minutes, turn heat off. After 15 more minutes, stir in the saffron water and the rice spice.

Rice will stay hot, covered, at least 30 minutes after it is cooked.

When ready to serve, spoon rice onto very large platter. Now take the toppings and decorate the rice in attractive patterns.


To vary it, there are plenty of dried fruits that could be substituted – I think cherries, apricots and mangoes would be especially good. Lightly toasted sesame seeds would be nice as well. I don’t see why other grains such as barley or quinoa wouldn’t work in this.

About the saffron: yes, it’s expensive, but a little goes a very long way.  Find it on Amazon for a lot less than in the supermarket (I bought mine from Ganesha Spice).   A hint about using it: when you open it, place the container over a white paper towel to avoid losing any. Tweezers might be a good idea here, as it is a little tangled mass of dried stamens and they can suddenly pop apart and scatter without warning (I now know this).

About the rose petals: I stepped outside and picked a few dried ones from a rose bush.

Next time I would change the proportions of the rice spice, decreasing the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon and increasing the cardamon, rose petals, and nutmeg to 1 teaspoon each.

This is wildly festive and an important dish in its own right, not just a side bowl of rice. This went with Iraqi spice-rubbed chicken but would be excellent with any simply grilled meat, or as part of a vegetarian feast.

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