Galette, that genius idea to make pie quite literally without any of the frills and fringes involved in the making of a traditional pie. No wonder they call it the lazy woman’s (or man’s, to be politically correct, if you will) pie! Galettes come in all sizes and shapes, small or big, rounded or square or as teeny-tiny hand pies. If you are apprehensive about pie-making, begin by mastering the galette.
Today’s recipe was a happy accident of sorts. It began with this Farmer’s Market that we frequent in town. Nestled among an upscale,
posh expensive downtown neighborhood, magically sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain, a network of local producers gather every weekend to ply their wares. Some days there is music and dancing. And almost every time, there are food stalls selling anything from grass-fed beef tamales to vegan rice flour and buckwheat crepes. The rustic and the chic jostling for their own space in this rather traditional meat and potatoes loving Texan city.
Last week, I came back with a medley of summer/fall produce. There were still some tomatoes to be found, but the squash and gourds too made an appearance. I used up the eggplant in this parmesan crusted oven-baked eggplant finger fries. You must give it a try, it’s so good, I tell you.
Some of the tomatoes got tossed in random curries and dishes I made throughout the week. Just as I was wondering what to do with that gorgeous golden squash, I knew a galette would be perfect. Something savory, rustic and oh-so good.
Most people would tell you how to go about making the most delicious pie (or galette) filling. But many will skirt around the more touchy issue of the crust. A traditional pie crust is the buttery short-crust pastry. Flour and butter worked together gently, just enough to come together to make a buttery, flaky, melt-in-your mouth crust. While it’s all well and good, sometimes I crave a heartier, easier to work yeast dough. A yeast dough crust is so forgiving, it doesn’t tear while rolling out unlike a short-crust pastry dough. You can easily re-roll it without fear if need be. Yeast dough pies are actually quite common in Mediterranean cuisine. This one right here is one inspired by that and is also entirely made with whole wheat flour.
The filling is also inspired by something I picked up at the market – fresh basil leaves. I used ricotta cheese as the vehicle and created this herbed mixture to spread over the crust. Then the vegetables were arranged on top and the galette was baked till golden. As simple as that. There is no cooking involved. Isn’t that truly the lazy woman’s dream come true?!!
Here’s the recipe. The yeast dough crust recipe has been adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s Mediterranean pie crust recipe.
- Active dry yeast - 2 tsp
- Water - ½ cup, warm
- Sugar - ¼ tsp
- Egg - 1 large, beaten
- Oil - ¼ cup (olive or vegetable oil)
- Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
- Salt - ¾ tsp
- Breadcrumbs - 2 tbsp
- Ricotta cheese - 2 cups
- Fresh basil leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped
- Red chili flakes - ½ tsp
- Tomatoes - 1 large, thinly sliced
- Golden squash - 1 large, thinly sliced
- Freshly cracked black pepper - 1 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Egg - 1 medium, beaten with a teaspoon of water (for egg wash)
- Galette crust: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to prove. The mixture should be frothy and smell yeasty after that time.
- Now beat in the egg and oil. Combine well.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt together. Add the wet ingredients to this and mix together using a wooden ladle till it just comes together.
- Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently just for a couple of minutes. We do not need to activate the gluten much lest the crust turns out bready.
- Shape into a smooth ball, lightly brush with oil, place in a bowl and allow to rise for an hour or so until it doubles in size.
- Once risen, punch down dough lightly and divide into two portions.
- Roll out each portion thinly and evenly into a 10-inch circle. You can use one portion for an open pie or both portions for a covered pie. If using only one crust, immediately freeze the unused crust to be used later. Roll out the dough on a large piece of parchment paper which will make transferring the galette to the baking sheet easier.
- Vegetable-Ricotta Galette: Preheat the oven to 400 deg.F.
- Roughly scatter the breadcrumbs over rolled-out crust dough. This will help to not make the crust soggy.
- To make the galette filling, combine ricotta cheese, chopped basil leaves, red chili flakes and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Spread evenly on the crust, leaving a 2-inch gap from the edges.
- Arrange the sliced vegetables over the cheese filling and sprinkle freshly cracked black pepper and salt on top.
- Fold the edges of the crust over roughly and form pleats with your fingers. It need not be perfect, which is the whole point of a galette.
- Brush the folded edges of the crust with your prepared egg wash.
- Transfer to a large baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or till crust is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle fresh basil leaves on top, slice and serve. A vegetable soup will go nicely with this rustic galette.
This pie refrigerates really well and can be served after a slight re-heating. It makes for a perfect weekend brunch or a light weekday lunch.
So, tell me, do you love savory pies? What do you think of a yeast dough pie crust? Do give it a try.
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