Last week, I somehow convinced my good friend, Sarah — professional pastry chef, founder of the highly addictive Fruit & Flour pie company, and inventor of the most versatile and delicious pastry crust I have ever tasted — to teach me how to make a vegetable galette. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m not much of a baker, but I thought that the inclusion of my good friends, vegetables and salt, might help me along the learning curve.
One thing I’ve noticed in my conversations with Sarah is that baking and cooking, while related, require two fundamentally different personality types to emerge in the kitchen. This is not to say that one person cannot be excellent at both: I just think you need to be able to play two roles. While cooking often permits a certain amount of flexibility with both ingredients and methods, baking depends on a painstaking attention to detail and the ability to follow directions to the letter. If cooking is Buffy, baking is Willow; and if baking is Liz Lemon, cooking is Jenna; you get the idea (well, if you watch those shows). And while I like to think that everyone has a little bit of both types, I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to honing in on my inner good girl and letting her do her thing. Luckily, friends with enviable baking skills can help get you there. Sarah said that, by now, she’s pretty much internalized the process of making pastry crusts because she does it so often — and as anyone who plays an instrument knows, you have to turn into a bit of a robot before you can really improvise.
A vegetable galette is sort of the perfect middle ground: you can be a stickler for dough, and then go crazy with the veggies. Lots of things taste good in a galette, both sweet and savory, but the best thing about pastries is that they are pastries. If you get the crust right, it really doesn’t matter what you put inside — it’s going to be awesome.
Summer Vegetable Galette
Ingredients for Crust:
-1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 stick butter
-2 tbs cold water
-1 tbs apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup milk, 1-2 tbs melted butter, or one whisked egg (for the wash)
Combine the flour, salt, and a few cracks of black pepper in a large bowl. Cut up 1 stick salted butter into the flour mixture until pieces are the size of lentils. You can use a pastry cutter, folk, food processor, your hands — whatever is available to you. Now add the cold water and the apple cider vinegar, and incorporate using whatever mixing method you were previously using.
Let the dough chill for 30 minutes before rolling it out and filling it with…
Ingredients for Galette:
-1 clove garlic, diced
-three shallots or an onion, chopped
-1-2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
-zucchini and other summer squash, sliced thin
-2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
-a few leaves of fresh basil
-2-4 tbs olive oil
-salt and pepper
After chopping the veggies, toss everything but the tomatoes and basil in a large bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Then roll out the dough, and fill it with veggies in the pattern of your choice. We found that putting the tomatoes on the bottom layer created a nice, sauce-like base for the other vegetables.
Now fold over the edges to create a pocket.
Brush with milk, melted butter, or egg wash — sprinkle with salt and bake at 425°F for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the veggies are soft. Let the galette cool for a little while before you garnish it with the basil and slice it up — or you can just attack it immediately. Who’s judging you? Not us.