Friday, April 12, 2013

Galettes, sweet and savoury

Galettes. My latest obsession. Those of you who don't know me well, know that I can be pretty obsessive. If I like something, I go all out. And I do mean ALL out. This applies to food (I've had a cupcake phase, a pasta phase, a pastry phase and then was the time I went elbow deep in making layered cakes ... like my life depended on it), TV (If I'm into a particular series, I spend hours, days watching episode after episode - to hell with actually having a life!) and fashion (it's not uncommon that I buy five pieces of my favourite plain white tee ... I mean what if I never fins a white tee like this ever again, right?).

So, obsessive? Yeah, a little.

At the moment, I am mad about galettes - a flat, round (ish), free-form, rustic, flaky pastry with an either sweet or savoury filling. Essentially, a galette is an unfussy tart that doesn't need a mould to give it a perfect shape with perfect edges.

Despite the fanciful name, galettes are all about simplicity but not at the expense of flavour.

Constructing a galette is simple. Roll the chilled short crust pastry dough into a thin round. Pile the filling of your choice in the centre and then fold the edges up, pleating as necessary. Brush the folded up edges with egg wash and bake.

One important tip when constructing a galette is to roll the pastry thin: thinner than you would when you make a tart. Unlike a tart where the pastry is blind-baked in the mould BEFORE the addition of a filling, with a galette the pastry is baked only once, after the filling is in place. To make sure the pastry is cooked through in 30-35 mins (you can't over bake it as the filling may dry up or burn!), it has to be thin. 

Galettes can be made sweet or savoury. I made an apple galette for dessert last week and a couple of days after, i made a spinach and mushroom one for dinner. Too much pastry in a week? Never! In fact, I have another one I'm dying to try today: mustard, Gruyere cheese and tomatoes. Oh, I'm itching to go make it now and will post the results soon!. Till then, Here's the recipe for both the apple and spinach galette.

For the pastry (enough for 2 galettes)
300g flour (I used 200g plain flour and 150g whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt (or if you want a sweet dessert crust, 1 tbsp icing sugar)
150g cold butter, cubed
4-6 tbsp ice cold water

Whisk together the salt (or sugar) and flour. Using a food processor, mixer or your fingertip, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ice cold water tbsp at a time and bring the crumbs together to form a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 mins. 

Spinach and Mushroom Filling (for one galette)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chopped spinach
2 dried chilli, chopped/1 tbsp chilli flakes
1/2 lemon
5-6 mushrooms (I used baby portobellos and shitakes), sliced (or if small, halved).
3 tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)

salt and pepper

1/2 cup Cheese (I used cheddar)
1-2 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 egg, lightly beaten (for the egg wash)

Heat some butter in a skillet/pan. Saute half the chopped garlic and add the spinach, chilli, salt and pepper. Toss in the butter and cover for a couple of minutes. Remove the lid, put the heat on high and cook the spinach until it has all wilted. Check seasoning and turn off the heat. and stir the spinach and squeeze a tbsp of lemon juice and mix. Set aside.

Wash the skillet and heat some more butter, about 2 tbsp. Add the garlic and once fragrant, add the mushrooms. Toss in the butter and saute till just brown, about 6-8 mins. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to mix. Cook for a couple of minutes and turn the heat off.

Assembling the galette

Remove the pastry from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface. Divide the pastry in half, keep one half aside (back in the fridge if you're not using it immediately) roll the other half thin, about 1.5-2 mm. Trim the edges so you get a round, more or less.

Transfer the pastry onto a baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper. 

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Layer 1: Sprinkle the cheese in the centre of the pastry base, leaving about an inch-wide border all around.

Layer 2: Spoon in the spinach filling on top of the cheese.

Layer 3: Top with mushrooms. 

Layer 4: Sprinkle the sunflower seeds on top.

Fold the edges of the pastry around the filling, pleating as necessary. Brush the folded edges with the egg wash.

Bake for 30 mins or till pastry is cooked.

Apple Galette Filling
Peel and core 5 apples and slice them thin (I left mine unpeeled but I prefer them peeled).
1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup coarse sugar
2 tbsp butter

Put the sliced apples, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat, covered, until the apples start to soften - about 15 mins.

When assembling the apple galettes, roll the pastry thin (as above). Sprinkle some sugar on the base of the pastry and arrange the apples in the centre. Dot with butter and fold in edges.

Brush the folded edges with egg wash and sprinkle with a little more sugar.

Bake for 30-35 mins. 

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