Monday, May 9, 2011

Don't judge my pie ...

A galette is a free-form rustic tart or pie. Free-form? Instead of the beautifully structured and fluted pastry case that holds a traditional pie together, a galette is flat, kind of like a disc. You put your filling (sweet  or savoury; sliced fruit or vegetables, etc) on a thin sheet of pastry. Then you fold the edges in, brush the pastry with egg and that's your galette.

I may have taken the "free form" definition a little too literally here. My galette looks unimpressive (see below). Very rustic. Very, very rustic. But that's ok. Because, ladies and gentlemen, this tart tastes great. No, it tastes better than great. 

I was hesitant about posting these pictures up and even considered altering the recipe for my pastry to make a more solid galette. But I changed my mind because, quite frankly, I like how it turned out. I loved the taste and I also liked how imperfect it looked. 

This is what a perfect free form galette looks like (from;

Nice? Yeah. Here's what I love about my imperfect galette: 

First: The pastry.
The crust of a galette is very important. It has to be rich, it has to be flaky. It has to be good. Don't worry, you don't have to use or make puff pastry to make the galette crust. While some galettes are made with puff pastry,  I prefer shortcrust pastry at its buttery best. You do have to use a huge amount of butter but that's what makes it so special.

And it is special.

I added some whole wheat flour to my pastry as I love the slight grainy texture of my pastry. No need for a food processor or mixer, Just use your hands to mix chilled cubes of butter into the flour, leaving chunks of butter here and there for an even flakier result. '

'Oh yeah!

Second: The filling. 
A leek galette -- just leeks, nothing more -- may seem boring but leeks, sauteed in butter and seasoned only with salt and black pepper are unbelievably tasty. Stick them in the oven and they taste even better, You can, of course, add mushrooms or cheese (goat cheese, white cheese or cottage cheese are best I think) but a simple leek only galette is my favourite. 

The thing to remember about using leeks or other vegetables in a galette is to pre-cook the filling first, lightly but until the moisture leaves it. This way, you don't end up with a soggy tart.

Thirdly: Its easy, no fuss food. The galette needs no special dish to bake in. So, put away your fluted tart dish or your fancy pie dish. All you need is a baking tray, lined with parchment. That's it. Free-form all the way. No fuss at all. It's ok if your tart is bumpy or lumpy. It just adds to the rustic charm. And I'm not saying this just because mine turned out rather bumpy. Ok, maybe I am a little but I am proud of my less than pretty tart.

Leek Galette

11/4 cup flour ( I used 3/4 cup plain flour and 1/2 cup wholemeal)
113 gm butter, cold
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chilled water

2 cups sliced leeks
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten

Sift the flours, salt and pepper and whisk them together. Add the butter and, using your fingers, mix  it into the flour to resemble coarse crumbs. Leave a few chunky bits.

Form into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins.

Start with the filling. Melt the butter in a fry pan. Add the leeks ands saute (medium heat) till soft and the moisture is evaporated almost completely. Season and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Remove the chilled dough. Place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll till its about 20c in diameter and 1/2cm thick.

Place the leeks in the centre of the pastry dough. Fold in the edges. Brush the pastry with the egg. Place the galette gently only a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for about 25-35 mins.

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