Few things showcase the rustic nature of fruits and vegetables better than a galette. Essentially a freeform tart, a galette has a hand-folded crust that is folded half way into the center, leaving some of its innards exposed. A galette is by definition slightly asymmetrical, but more beautiful for its imperfection, in my opinion.
I most like galettes with thinly-sliced fillings. If slices are more like chunks, it becomes quite unweildy and difficult to eat. However, packed with thin slivers of apples, spices, and brown sugar, or layered with red peppers, yellow squash, onions, and goat cheese, a galette is both easy to eat and oh-so-delicious.
The key to a good galette is to make sure that the exposed part stays moist in the oven. To do this, there are two tricks: first, add a little extra liquid or fat to the middle. Two, cook uncovered until the galette crust starts to turn golden, then cook covered for a bit so the inside has a chance to steam. I've covered both of these bases in the recipe below, but PLEASE, pretty please feel free to improvise. if you don't like onions or goat cheese, throwsome feta, greek olives and tomatoes in instead. Alternatively, use pears and gorgonzola. Wow, I just figured out what to make this weekend.
Basic Flaky Pie Crust from The Pie and Pastry Bible (© 1998 Cordon Rose, Inc.)
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 1 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons pastry flour or 1 1/2 cups (dip and sweep method) bleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (for savory recipes, use 1 1/2 times the salt)
- 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- (Optional)1/8 teaspoon baking powder (if not using, double the salt)
- Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third: 6 Tbsp. and 3 Tbsp.
- Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap, refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes.
- Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Add the larger amount of butter cubes to the flour mixture and process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add the remaining frozen butter cubes and pulse until all of the frozen butter is the size of peas. (Toss with a fork to see it better.)
- Add the lowest amount of the ice water and the vinegar and pulse 6 times.
- Pinch a small amount of the mixture together between your fingers. If it does not hold together, add half the remaining water and pulse 3 times.
- Try pinching the mixture again. If necessary, add the remaining water, pulsing 3 times to incorporate it. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together without being pinched.
- Spoon the mixture into the plastic bag.
- Holding both ends of the bag opening with you fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
- Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.
- If crust refrigerated overnight, set it out at least half an hour before rolling.
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 1 onion, finely sliced into thin rings
- 1 yellow squash or zucchini, sliced into thin slivers or using a mandoline
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 log chevre or soft goat cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Flour rolling surface; roll out crust into a circle 14 inches in diameter.
- Spread a thin layer of goat cheese over the crust, using about half of the log..
- Layer julienned vegetables in a decorative pattern on the crust, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
- Fold border inward, pleating and tucking in when necessary.
- Dot the exposed filling area with chunks of goat cheese. (I actually ended up spreading goat cheese over the whole top after taking these pictures, and I like it better that way.)
- Bake galette uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until crust starts to turn golden. Cover loosely with tin foil and bake another 15 minutes, until innards are soft and cooked through.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.